Another year over..
And what have you done?

In many ways, this old Christmas song seems to make more sense now than ever. What - indeed - have we done? The events of September 11, 2001 was the most extensive daylog ever on E2. 75 writeups, which needed three nodes to store them all (1, 2, 3).

Initially, a horrible accident was feared, as the first flight planted itself into the WTC. A few minutes later, the horrible truth came to our attention - the chance of two planes crashing within minutes of each other by accident is as good as nonexistent. This had to be something else.

The first reports from the WTC told us that as many as 20,000 people could have been in the building on September 11th. Later, this number was reduced again and again, until the final number of casualties ended up on a 2,819 people. (according to AP - thanks, korey, for this number!)

The day that changed the world.

Terrorist attacks happen daily. This is very disturbing, but also true. In Gaza city and the surrounding areas, people from both sides of the conflict have been killed by the hundreds. In Iraq and a bunch of other not-quite-democratic states, people have been know to disappear into nothingness - literally tens of thousands of people die every year by the hand of governments and terrorists alike.

But never has one single terrorist attack changed the world so much. Why? Well, this was the first time terrorism has successfully* been aimed at the US. *lots of attacks have been attempted, but never with effects this devastating.

So what has changed? Nothing really, except that you will find the phrase "September 11th" in every single newspaper. (A Manchester radio station said "The Commonwealth games is the largest sports competition since September 11"... although I find it morbid to see the sep11 incident as a sporting event), and security analysts, advisers and other knowledgeable persons in the fields of counter-terrorism have had a field day.

At the same time, Afghanistan (which was already a ridiculously poor country) has been bombed to smithereens, and nobody knows if all of this has managed to kill the one single person they wanted to kill in the first place.

The day that changed nothing

I have shocked many people by saying this, but if I had believed that crashing an airplane into a building in the US would change the world for the better, I would have done it myself. Why? Because - as I have thoroughly explained in an earlier writeup - there was a reason for why the terrorist attacks took place. People do not sacrifice their own lives for the hell of it... The crashing of airplanes into the WTC was a statement of sorts - a very strong statement.

After having made this statement, silence happened. The people behind the action might not have expected such a degree of “success”. Or – other people, other than the Taliban-supported terrorist organization – might have been behind the attack. Hard to tell, really. I would have expected that the US would have been interested to hear why the attacks were made. But that seems to not have happened either. When the US government didn't delve into the reasons behind the terrorist attacks, they might have made things worse. Not only did many innocent people die, but their deaths were wasted But I am repeating myself - Read my node about it, if you are interested.

What has happened since?

Fingers have been pointed. Randomly at first, before they eventually all seemed to point at Bin Laden. Whom nobody seems to know whether is alive or not – (Monday the 9th of September 2002, the Al-Jazeera news network showed a new video featuring Bin Laden talking about the Sep11 attacks). Suddenly, a week after the attack, but before any satisfying proof has been shown, the bombs started raining down on Afghanistan. Diplomacy was never an option. According to the Guardian (December 20, 2001), at least 3,767 afghani civilians have been killed. This was in December of last year, and the bombing has been going on fairly steadily (albeit slowly decreasing in intensity and frequence) since then.

I have seen a lecture held by the US professor Neil Smelser, on the cultural trauma following September 11th. He points out that the buildings that were attacked were the USs Single most visible symbols of military power, and the single most powerful symbols of capitalism. (We can only speculate in where the fourth airplane was going...). Smelser mentions that the closest similar action was the attack on Pearl Harbor almost sixty years earlier. However, studies have shown that most people refused to compare the events of September 11th 2001 with anything at all. Which is - in many ways - perfectly understandable. At the same time, the US nation has experienced a numbing down culturally, along with a strongly increasing paranoia towards anything out of the ordinary. A powerful wave of protectionism and patriotism has washed like a giant wave over the country, in effect further excluding the US from the rest of the world.

I think my personal view of the situation can be best explained in the words of former US general David Sharp, whom I believe was commander of a squad of marines; "I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own... And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans."

The past few months, the US war rhetoric against Iraq has increased in intensity, and the first, almost tentative, attacks have been made. Whether it is a coincidence that this happened before the one-year-anniversary of the Sep11, I am not sure, but it would hardly amaze me if this was not the case.

What is happening next?

This is hard to tell. Several voices have claimed that the reason for why the US were attacked is their strong connection with Israel, a country that in the eyes of many Jewish and Muslim people in effect is an occupying force in the Palestine areas.

Tension is also slowly rising - not least in the internet communities - about the aftereffects of september 11. The fears of Echelon and the tradeoff between liberty / security are heavily debated, and far from everybody feels that the balance between security and personal freedom is correct. In a country where freedom seems to be the most important thing, restrictions on this freedom might give the government a nasty surprise, once the population realises what is happening.

Another ting worth remembering is the military base on Cuba, which still is filled with people who are arrested without trial, and who - the last time I heard anything about it - might end up not getting their trial. Which obviously is a breach of the UN declaration of human rights. So much for peace, liberty, and justice for all.

According to professor Smelser, the September 11 events helped to make the US more strongly bound together. He says that the event bound the citizens together, quoting a person he overheard at "ground zero" in New York; "We are all New Yorkers". Good and well, but I, personally, feel that the US should embrace the rest of the world in its own right, not by making everybody New Yorkers, but by making the citizens of the US a bit more Abu Dhabians, Londoners, Muscovites, New Delhians, Capetonians and Baghdadians... If such a thing could happen, maybe we won't see these types of violent actions anymore.

It has been a year. This was a conflict that started because innocent people got killed in the first place.

Is it not about time we stopped the killing and started thinking about peace?

Sources for factual information:

oh, I almost forgot:
-30-

never had a dog. don't enjoy nickelback. don't know the meaning of a dollar. it's a warm, windy and clear night; the 10 minutes spent in it witnessed the beginning and end of a light rainfall. the best.

they're playing 'never again' by nickelback for the third time; it's pretty catchy. wish my own music would get that kind of airplay, i'm certain it would catch on. if you repeat something enough times, people will begin to believe in it. how many times have you heard that? nickelback is very popular.

nickelback is very popular:

this phrase developed as my symbol of the decline of civilization. use it to explain or sympathize with examples of the stupidity of humanity or homogenous nature of commercial society.
YOU: Why can't you get any movies made before 1990 at blockbuster? Just because it's old doesn't mean it's not worth watching. That's fucking stupid.

ME: Nickelback is very popular.
and that's how it works.

taken to writing daily nodes like this one to practice and improve my writing. you might find interesting one new technique i've been experimenting with: after i finish writing a paragraph or so, i go through and remove superfluous references to myself in the form of 'i'. eg. "i never had a dog" will become "never had a dog". not sure if this is actual improvement, but it's interesting nonetheless. in fact while doing that i end up removing all sorts of awkward words and punctuation.

"Repetition helps build familiarity, which in turn helps build credibility. Some prospects will start to recognize your company and products only after they've seen them over and over again. Gradually they come to recognize that your company is stable, not just another fly-by-night operation, and will eventually start to develop enough trust to start doing business with you."

The Rule of Repetition: How It's Crippling Your Marketing Efforts if You're Not Using It!
By Marty Foley

tonight is my sixth night shift in a row. seven nights, twelve hours a night, what the fuck am i doing? i can't imagine what this was like before the creation of 'the weeb'. Here's a blurb from some advertising received from mp3.com today:
"Duncan Sheik is On a High

Duncan Sheik's "Daylight" is a sure-thing forecast! The all-new album was written entirely by Sheik and produced by Patrick Leonard (Madonna, Jewel, Elton John), including the irresistible first single, "On A High."

Experience "On A High" today!"
they repeat the name of the single 3 times.
"Other unfortunate things can happen."

The Rule of Repetition: How It's Crippling Your Marketing Efforts if You're Not Using It!
By Marty Foley

I was in first grade when JFK was shot. The principal announced it over the PA system. I hardly knew who the president was. I remember the reactions of the adults and surmised it was quite a big deal. Five years later his brother was shot and killed. You wonder about the senselessness of it, and this was within our own country.

I was at work when one of my co-workers came into the room and said that a plane, a jet, had flown into one of the WTC towers. He was downloading a picture of it from the internet. We went to see it in his office and at the same time an announcement came over the radio playing in the background that the second tower had been hit. We both looked at each other with our mouths agap. This was obviously not an accident.

September 11 is not just another day. I read all the nodes from last year, for the first time. It all started coming back, everything that was starting to fade away. As all the information started pouring in, in the days that followed the attack last year, it became overwhelming and desensitization began to settle in. Whether our government and world leaders knew this was going to happen, nevermind when, where and how, won't change what has happened. But there is still the question: "How could God let this happen?"

I read about the passing of Hermetic at this time last year and noticed how well liked this guy was. I'm glad his stuff is still here. My neighbor's wife died a slow and painful death a couple years ago. We helped them out as much as we could but there was nothing anyone could do. I still remember them carrying her out of the house in the bodybag to the waiting hearse. My wife was sobbing. They had become close in the past few years. My neighbor said he didn't know how a kind and loving God could let someone as good and gentle as his wife suffer and die like that. She was only 54. It didn't make sense. He wasn't sure if he even believed in God anymore. He told the preacher who had the funeral service for her how he felt. The preacher told him, "You've got to believe in something."

Is there anything that anyone can say about this day which will instill hope for a better tomorrow?

Is there a word of comfort and peace which can be uttered, from one person to another, which might give one cause for introspection?

We are doomed to repeat history because, sadly, the history books focus on the failures of humanity rather than its successes. Wars, disasters, famines, avarice, murder, coup d'etats... If all we see is bad things happening in the past, then how can we expect to look forward with a positive perspective? Certainly we can look in the history books and see a few things which might be shining examples of Mankind's reach for a brighter future, but there is a significant imbalance of good news and bad news.

If you find yourself thinking about the relevance of this day to the one a year before, try to focus on the heroes and kind souls who, without doubt or fear, sacrificed their time, effort and, yes, even their lives for total strangers. Keep in mind the quiet balm of compassion each person shared with another during our time of loss and disbelief.

Humanity, when viewed with a certain perspective, is adolescent. It is growing and learning about its place in this vast, endless universe which we have barely begun to be aware of- it's a mighty big place, this universe. And just like any teenager, the chances are very good that maturity will eventually dawn, that the kid will get good at seeing through the BS and just grow up. The only way a young adult can move into maturity is to focus on the greater, better tomorrows- the kids, the marriage, the college, the work, the freedom, the patience, all the things that we envy our parents for- and other things not mentioned.

When doubt assails you, think of a tomorrow that will come. Experience comes from a lack of wisdom; wisdom comes with experience.

It has been a year since I saw the unthinkable, saw it unfold, live and in color. I saw things I never thought I would see. I saw American planes used as missiles. I saw ash covered people running for their lives. I saw people jump from 100 story windows. In the days that followed I was grief-striken, confused, and enraged.

I can only speak for myself in saying I wanted to know why, and I wanted to know who. I wanted our nation to lash out with such terrible force that they would never dare...I wanted someone to pay.

Slowly my rage died down and I just felt sick, all those lost lives. I listened to the intervies and sound bytes. Phone calls of people saying "I love you", people saying "Goodbye" I cried for them over and over, I cried til my head ached and my throat hurt. I remained glued to the TV for days. I listened to Tom Brokaw

"How many widows? How many widowers? How many orphans?"
and David Letterman
"We're told that they were zealots fueled by religious fervor...and if you live to be 1,000 years old will that make any sense to you? Will that make any goddamn sense?"
and Mayor Rudolph Guiliani
"The number of casualties will be more than most of us can bear."

I watched the media cover the rescue effort, then the recovery effort, I saw people care for each other and work together as I had never seen. Patriotism surged, I saw flags everywhere. I sighed when the recovery effort came to a close. I watched with most of America when flag draped stretcher was used to symbolize those never found. These images repeat in my head over and over.

Now a year later, I watch the media replay the images endlessly. No matter what I have tried to do so far today I have been bombarded with images from last September. I watched the towers fall again and again today. It is important to remember, and I do, but do I need to hear a tape of a mother calling her son's daycare tell him goodbye? I am not sure this media barrage is helpful. Do you remember it all vividly enough? Do I? Is it ok to quit looking at the images now? Is it ok to stop crying? Is it ok to forget about it, not forver, but for a few hours? Can we talk about something other than terrorism? Well, I for one have turned my TV off, I have seen all I care to see for awhile. Enough is enough.

I remember asking my Mom years ago, "Where were you when you found out Kennedy had been shot?".

"I was home playing with my toys, and giving your Grandmother a hard time."

Someday my daughter is going to ask me, "Where were you when you found out about the attacks on September 11, 2001?"

"At your Grandmother's house. I was sleeping until the phone rang. Your Aunt called from Belgium to tell me the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. After that I was alternately glued to the TV, and on phone trying to call your other aunt who resided in NYC."

She may ask, "Where was Daddy?"

"McDonalds, He saw it on a TV there. He didn't even realize at first that it was real. He thought it was some kind of movie until he got home, and saw it on TV there."

As to what else I will tell her, I don't know yet. What will I remember most vividly? Will it be the horror, the surge of patriotism, the heroes of flight 93? I just don't know yet.

What will you tell your children?

Since September 11, I have only been in the New York area once. I was there for a funeral, which took place outside the city itself. I had no desire to go into New York for several reasons. New York has always been a favorite place of mine. Shortly after Christmas my friend Michael came for a visit. He brought with him a book for me, Matthew Pericoli's Manhattan Unfurled. It is a lovely book it is a drawing of Manhattan, the book itself folds out accordian-style into a very long drawing of the city, one side being the east side and the other the west. The twin towers are there on both sides, beginning and ending the drawing. I thanked him and cherish the book still, although it makes me a bit sad and nostalgic to look at it.

Since then the opportunity to visit New York presented itself once more. My fiance was here on vacation and we talked of going to the city for a day or two. I ended up getting sick, then our daughter got an ear infection. The trip to New York went quickly to the back burner. I was relieved. I know I will go back to New York, but when I do it won't be the with the same sense of security and excitement as before. Something has been lost. F Scott Fitzgerald expressed the emotion well in saying:

"It no longer whispers of fantastic success and eternal youth...For the moment, I can only cry out that I have lost my splendid mirage."

One year on, and we have failed.

The world is not a safer place, as our politicians promised at the time. It's, if anything, a worse place for most people.

Before I go on, let me say something to those who will be offended and stop reading halfway. Just because someone is critical of, say, your nation, does not mean they're wrong, or biased. It could mean your nation is on the wrong track. Getting in a huff won't solve the problem.

Back to the facts.

Palestine, the goad that drives the Islamic world to terrorism, is in a worse state than ever. Israel, driven by the same fears that drive the US, has not taken the terrifying, courageous and necessary leap toward co-operation, and after some brief gestures in that direction, their strongest backers have not pressured them to do so. America ,by the way, should take a good look at how dreadful everyday life is for Israeli civilians. This is where the US's current foreign policy is taking their nation.

The impetus toward war continues in Iraq. Americans seem to want it, and George Bush wants it (to finish what Daddy started, maybe?). Tony Blair, perhaps trying to be more "presidential", is trying to persuade a skeptical British public that such a war is a good idea. I don't think he'll succeed. Will he commit the UK anyway?

Climate change continues, unabated, because the worst polluter has yet another reason not to care. Yesterday it was floods in France, and the drought in Africa continues unreported, while the richest nation in the world drives its SUVs with the flag at half-mast.

And (lower on the list, since it kills no-one directly) my native land, blinded by fury, has lost hold of its guiding principles. Where is the liberty and justice for all? I await the trials of the people in Camp X-Ray, currently in a most unpleasant legal limbo. I await the restoration of genuine freedom of speech, where the right to say what you like even if it is unpopular is protected. I await the return of the mindset that made America a true beacon of liberty to the world, before she became obsessed, before she discovered that she could do so many things and forgot to ask if she should.

I am filled with sadness for the thousands who died a year ago. But I am also filled with sadness for the thousands who died offscreen, getting up not in comfortable, secure homes but in refugee camps and sun-scorched farms. These people mattered too, and were beloved of their families too. They were innocent, and they were heartbreakingly brave in the face of terrible adversity, but where are their parades and their memorials?

My Resolutions for September 11, 2002

  • I will not turn on the television all day, unless it is to watch something specific and amusing.
  • I will refuse to participate in watching the endless looping of the horrible images that have been gracing our television screens for the past days. I will never forget what I saw one year ago, or what I felt, and I don't need CNN, ABC, NBC, and the lot of media gluts to remind me of it.
  • I will love my fellow man, regardless.
  • I will not hate.
  • I will say a silent prayer to all those lost, all those left behind, and all those affected in one way or another.
  • I will love.
  • I will respect sites that are not running banner ads today, such as OSDN. It's not much, but it's something.
  • I will run in the morning.
  • I will not be political.
  • I will never forget.
  • I will never be the same.

It Is Just Another Day
Or Is It?

I originally was not going to add my proverbial two cents, for this date, but, I do have feelings about it all.

First of all: it is extremely tragic that anyone should die, especially murdered. There are heroes and villains everyday throughout the world, some sung, some unsung. And to repeat a soldier's words: WAR IS HELL!

Would not a day of silence been more appropriate on 9/11, when so much has been said, seen, and heard already? I was sickened when I turned my head to an bit on the "telly" that sounded like one of those Protestant, Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, or Mormon ads, all high gloss production with words spewing across the screen with mellow, sincere voice-over, of hope, love, etc.; but it was Verizon!

Well, at least Fox said it would not advertise during their special. I went to bed early.

A lot of ridiculous stuff has been said because of this event, but as it is written, the hardest thing to control is the tongue.

Remember, in your prayers for peace, they begin with Me and You

I Will Try Not To Let The Media Rule My Day

Well, that's what I thought. I promised myself I wouldn't be drawn into all the media coverage, but I gotta turn on the TV to use the VCR. Static is annoying, and I don't get the on-screen display with a channel of snow or on a blank video input. Unfortuanly, I let myself get drawn into all the stories, all the video, all over again. Rocket fuel for my depression/anxiety/PTSD. I know, labels are necessarly all that accurate in mental health care, but for me, the media hype is unhealthy. I watch the video, hear hear the dipictions, and start mentally placing myself in those situations. I start feeling anxiety and dispair. Then I admonish myself for watching, and yet, also want to keep watching. I love to absorb information about events. I'm the kind of person that wants to be fairly well informed. I really need to avoid the media for today, though. It's all going to feed my anxiety. It sucks though. I want to know what's going on in the world, nation, state, and metro area. I'm not even sure I should look at today's paper, though, knowing that most of it will be focused on one thing, and that one thing will be 9/11. Any possible aspect that can be covered. The Des Moines Register even has a special 9/11 edition in it. America Remembers? America hasn't forgotten! I mean, only someone who's spent over a year in a very, very, deep dark closet, or is too young to be able to remember, has no recollection of 9-11. How the fuck do you forget a day of incredible horror? Even the most optimistic had to have serious doubts about humanity that horrible day. I bet the most religious, right up to Pope John Paul II had their religion shaken that day. I'm sure that even for the briefiests moments - the highest priests, shamans, rabbis, immams, clarics, and other Holy persons - all had to have questioned the existance of a Higher Power that terrible day. As the earth below suddered under those falling pillars of humankind's hopes, dreams, and ingenuity, our souls shook down to the very core of our collective being. It's one thing to mark the anniversery; it's yet another to rehash every teary interview, every moment of terror caught on video, the mosiac of mayhem and a collage of devistation and human suffering, both physical and emotional. I can rehash it all in my mind just perfectly. It's all too real for me, even if I did watch it all on TV; I don't need Memorex. I guess unless you stay in a sealed room all day, without watching TV, listening to the radio, browsing the net, or reading the newspaper, you really can't avoid it. I certainly don't think I could avoid it in public.

Hopefully, I haven't pissed you off enough yet to make you downvote and stop reading.

I certainly do feel for those who lost friends and family in the tragedy of 9-11. I certainly wouldn't downplay the signifigance or the need for people to be able to gather in respect, rememberance, and emotional outpouring. I have nothing but respect for the victims, the heros, the survivors of the WTC disaster. The intensity if the media hype is almost too much, though. Yesterday, I noted that I had a few IRC conversations about how Orwellian the media push seemed to be. With all the economic scandle, Bush seems hell bent on invading Iraq. Then there was raising the alert from from Yellow to Orange. My internal dialog is screaming out," Wag the Dog!!" I think the media and government are keeping us in a state of terror more than the terrorists are. We conviently get "new" video footage, where this threat is made, or someone describes Osama bin Laden's reaction to the destruction, or Osama himself talking about it on a tape. Not too much, just a bit at a time. Just enough to keep up going, keep us terrorified, keep up willing to give up liberty for security. Makes me wonder what stories are getting buried, either underreported or unreported. I have a feeling this is going to be a big topic at my next group cognitive therapy session, and probably my next individual session as well. Writing this has helped me, though.

Today is a normal day for me. Its Wednesday and tomorrow is Thursday. Everyone is forgeting that today is a work day, not a national holiday. Work goes on, everything moves and continues to function. The world did not stop spining because of today's date.

I know that this day has affected a ton of people directly. It hasn't for me, so I go about my normal daily routine, doing the same things I always do. I will observe a moment of silence today, but thats about it.

When did today stop being a memorial and turn into a media circus? I struggle to see how coverage of the day by CNN and everyone honors the dead? If I was directly affected by this, through the loss of a loved one, then I think I would want a quite day, a day when painful memories are not brought up and ghosts are revisited.

Well, looks like those kerrrrrazee terra-ists have lost - if you were expecting us to have learned anything from your attacks, guys, then sorry, we've learned sweet fuck all! We defy your fundamentalist fervour with our sheer ignorance and bloody-mindedness! In your face!

I'm very angry at the moment, so I apologise that you have to read yet another daylog about the same thing. I heartily agree with SharQ and evilrooster up there, by the way - and if people refuse to take any criticism, whatever country they're from, then they have no place here. This daylog may contain traces of ranting, sexual swearwords, and opinion - if this is a problem for you, you should skip to one of the other, more heartwarming writeups where everyone's a victim except the dirty, smelly ay-rabs or moozl'ms. People shouldn't fucking kill other people. It's a pretty basic concept, but some people still seem to be having trouble with it. The world is worse off since last year's attack, but not because of the terrorists. It's because we just won't fucking learn.

Listen to me now: At yesterday's TUC speech, Blair said something along the lines of "suppose I'd told you last year, before the terrorist attacks, that Al Qaeda existed, and were planning this attack?" to justify why we should go along with bombing the shit out of Iraq despite no actual evidence so far. How fucking dare you, you cocklicker? How fucking DARE you? Fine, you want to be Bush's fucktoy? Super. You want to go and bomb Iraq, finish off the fucking job, kill more innocent people, slaughter anyone left alive despite the staggeringly inhumane sanctions preventing medical care getting into the country? That's great, we can't stop you, you're going to fucking do it with your little buddy Bush anyway, what does our fucking opinion matter? We voted you in, I guess we're paying the price for that. But don't you fucking expect us to ease your conscience by saying it's okay, cause it really fucking isn't. Nobody, but nobody, either in the UK or the US, wants this "war". But it's going to happen anyway, and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. How fucked up is that, boys and girls?

Yes, Saddam is a Bad Man, yes, it might be better if he were removed, but I could say exactly the same about that dumb motherfucker Bush, who cheated his way into the presidency, or Blair, who keeps happily selling British arms to oppressive regimes so that they can murder people. But bombing the shit out of the poor bastards who are trying to keep their mud huts in one piece isn't going to help anyone, except Saddam, possibly, who can legitimately claim that we're being unfair.

Completely unrelated to the anniversary: non-UK noders may not be familiar with the case in Soham of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman - two young girls who were kidnapped and found dead 13 days later. Two people have been arrested and charged, but according to the British public, they're already guilty. Both suspects have been taken to court for preliminary hearings, and greeted with lynch mobs hurling abuse, bottles and eggs, screaming "kill him, kill him", holding banners reading "rot in hell" and "bring back hanging". The people in the mob bring their kids along to this near-riot, kids who are frightened, crying, wanting to go home. If the crowd had had access to either suspect, they would have killed them, no question. These suspects are supposedly innocent until proven guilty. We have no idea if they did it or not. But the crowd doesn't give a fuck, they just want blood. Supposedly intelligent people, turned into a baying mob. Media saturation, supposedly objective journalists using the sort of purple prose that belongs in a Mills and Boon novel. Sky News is proving to be unintentionally hilarious lately, it's almost a parody of itself, Chris Morris couldn't do any better. And yet many people in the UK probably haven't heard of the 13 month old girl who was tortured until she died - tortured by her parents. Cigarette burns all over her, scalded feet from being made to stand in boiling water, broken skin under the arms from being pinched incredibly hard - but she barely gets quarter of a page deep inside the paper, while the more photogenic Holly and Jessica are plastered all over the front pages.

More UK stuff: two boys admit vandalising over 150 children's graves in Bristol, but cannot be charged as they are under 10 years old. Little fucking shitrags. Kids are evil, man. I expect there'll be some shit about how they're misunderstood or something, that they didn't understand - bollocks. They're just fucking evil.

And Israel and Palestine seem determined to keep at it until they're all fucking dead and buried. On my less patient days, I secretly wish they'd hurry up and get it over with, once they've all killed each other, at least that's one less problem in the world to worry about. But it won't end, it'll just keep going, Bush, for some bizarre reason, not seeming to care. Or maybe he just hasn't had someone give him the gist of that particular report yet. The stupid fucking redneck cunt.

The world is going down the fucking toilet. Terrorists: put away your bombs, your box cutters, save your money, time and effort. There is nothing you can do to us that we aren't already doing to ourselves. Bush and Blair: if you persist in this "war", against your own countries' wishes, if you are determined to go and kill people, insisting on it with the demented fervour of Chris Morris in The Day Today ("It's war!"), then fuck you. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Get your dicks out of each others mouths for a minute, and think very carefully about what you do next. If the governments of two major world powers (well, okay, one major world power and the UK), supposedly democratic countries, are going to start a war without the consent of the people, or even the majority of the fucking government, then it really is all over. There's going to be a big problem come re-election time, or even sooner depending how angry the people are. Remember the poll tax riots? That was over a fucking tax, man, this is going to be so much worse.

And if you get angry because you think I'm being anti-American (I'm not) or because you think I don't care about the people who died in last year's attacks (I do care, very much), then fuck you too. I don't want anyone to die, I sat there horrified in front of the fucking television along with everybody else, watching people jumping from the burning building to their deaths, it was a fucking tragedy, nobody deserves that to happen to them. Yes, those people were innocent and blameless, and so are all the other people who are murdered all the time, but it's all for nothing if we can't even talk about who else might be at fault. Sure, the terrorists should be found and punished, of course - but I don't want the other fuckers in the background to get off without any blame, the governments who fund groups that later bite them on the arse, and then lie and pretend they had nothing to do with it. I especially don't want snivelling, shiny-arsed politicians using the innocent dead to justify their wallet-lining warmongering. I'm fucking sick of this shit, sick of being lied to, manipulated, told what to believe. We had Virgin radio on here in the office today, but I've just turned it off in disgust - they're playing maudlin songs all day, and while the songs are playing, there are snippets from 911 calls, or soundbytes from the day. So, for example, I'd have to listen to Angels by Robbie Williams (bad enough) which is suddenly interrupted by "oh my God, people are jumping out of the windows", and then back to the song. Hardly a fitting tribute to those who burned to death or were buried alive while trying to save others, this was a human fucking tragedy, it's not just fodder for your fucking infotainment shows. Announcers competing with each other as to who can sound the most sincere and compassionate - I really fucking object to that emotional manipulation, it totally cheapens the deaths of all those people, turning it into a cheesy slice of shit, it's totally fucking inappropriate.

So the day will pass, everyone will feel sad, we'll focus on this one event and ignore thousands of other worse ones, where even more people were killed, and nothing will be done to prevent this sort of thing happening again. We're just going to keep bombing and killing people, and will keep getting bombed and killed in return. If your first reaction to any problem is to bomb it, then don't act all surprised when crazy people try to kill you.

That's why there will never, ever be world peace, it's just a constant stream of revenge, attacks, people grabbing power or oil or whatever, it just won't ever stop. The glorious circle of death keeps on turning. We're all guilty, all of us, either by action or inaction. Our countries are built on stacks of poor, dead bastards who got in the way, and our politicians earn their money selling guns to people so they can kill other people and then we bomb them for having guns, the guns we fucking sold them in the first place, but there's nothing we can do, so fuck it. Fuck everyone. Fuck the terrorists, fuck the US government, fuck the UK government, fuck Bush, fuck Blair, fuck Saddam, fuck the media, fuck anyone who thinks it's anti-American to criticise a fucking muppet like Bush, fuck Robbie Williams, fuck me, and fuck you.

The terrorists have got nothing on us, baby. They're a bunch of amateurs.

I have been a resident of New York City for all of 16 days.

Some might say that in sixteen days, there is no way that I could understand this place, and its people. But I believe that somewhere deep down, all people are the same; somewhere, they have the same wants and needs and desires and love and hate and passion and confusion, regardless of where they are from. Since I moved here, I've taken several walks through the city: on the crowded streets of Times Square, a deserted street in Chinatown, Herald Square, SoHo, the East Village. I've seen the people, lived their lives, and guessed at the stories hidden behind their eyes. In the sense of universal connection, I know as much about the city as anyone. People here walk about in a certain manner that lets you know you're in New York.

But not today. Today, I got up early to go to my school's rememberance ceremony. There were at least 2000 people present. Not a word was spoken. For the first time since I've been here, I didn't hear a word. I've heard more voices at 3:00 AM than I did then, at about 8:40. Church bells tolled throughout the city, ringing off of the skyscrapers and down the quiet side streets. The only sounds that made it even recognizable as New York were the sounds of buses and cars driving by, and for the first time since I've been here, there was no honking. A stiff breeze blew by, and I saw the first leaves of autumn blow off the trees and flutter to the ground. No one spoke, no one looked at each other. People would walk by, looking at the eyes of others, to see what they felt. Eye contact has a powerful way of revealing emotions and fears and passions and insecurities. But, no actual eye contact was made by the people walking by. Should two people's eyes accidentally meet, both quickly averted them towards the ground.

The city has been beset by a somber fog of rememberance. As the names of people who had been killed were read, there was dead silence. The church bells tolled once more, and then 2,000 people got up and walked away in perfect silence. The only thing that I have experienced that even comes close to this was the mood at the rememberance ceremony for Columbine High School, which took place at the movie theatre down the street from my house, with the school just across the park. But even that was not this silent. It is as if the city itself is weeping. The sounds of silence really do echo.

Today never knows what will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow never knows what will come. It is a thoroughly depressing day in the city.

I have reached the point where, I think, I can't get much more numb.

No amount of evil on the part of any human or nation would, at this point, particularly surprise me. We're all just as capable, to be quite honest, and everybody has their reasons.

I feel helpless. That our nation can change its laws as it does, that it can attack nations as it does, that our leaders can declare wars as they do...There's no accountability to any of it.

The world hates this nation, and for many excellent reasons. My friend Dave from Canada was just talking about how America is actively screwing over Europe, South American, etc. with it's foreign policy, because American foreign policy says that we must hurt other nations economically to keep American on top, at all costs.

Not, mind you, that anybody inside the nation will ever pay much attention to that sort of thing.

We can talk all we want about wake up calls, but with all of the insidious, covert changes going on in the nation...there's just no point.

it's already over. We've already lost the war. The poison is in our veins.

All we can do, as individuals, is try to be the best humans possible. With or without God. And continue to burn with the world.

Like many of you out there, I promised myself I wasn't gonna do it. Nope, not me. But after reading Excalibre’s thoughts on the subject, I feel obliged to add my two cents worth.

I will take some of your advice and will not follow the herd mentality in a rush to commemorate or memorialize the events that occurred one year ago. My mourning will be conducted in private and be kept simple.

I must however, respectfully disagree with the rest of your thoughts. I too live in the Midwest, although transplanted from Brooklyn NY. I’m sorry you don’t know anyone who died or that you don’t know anyone who knows anyone who died. You almost sound disappointed, like you’ve not been invited to a party or somethin’. You make it sound as if the people who were unfortunate enough to lose a loved one should carry that around like some kinda badge of honor.

You think that “two thousand and change” is not that many people. I respectfully disagree (actually one person is one too many). When you factor in family and friends, the number of people impacted goes up exponentially. Couple that with the impact the events of that day had on the economy and the subsequent loss of jobs the number becomes huge.

Sure, I’m angry at many of the same things you are, inadequate sanitation and corrupt drug companies and a host of other social injustices that inundate us on a daily basis are just the tip of the iceberg of my anger. But the simple fact is that the people who died in the Towers, at the Pentagon, and on the planes also did not deserve to die.

Listen, I read what I think was a quote taken from the master of satire Kurt Vonnegut. In his book Hocus-Pocus, he said something to the effect that “Being an American means never having to say your sorry.” Well, I’m an American, not a flag waving, chest beating, anthem singing sort, but an American nonetheless and I am sorry. I’m sorry for many of the actions taken by our government and by some of my fellow citizens. I just can’t rationalize it against the slaughter of close to three thousand people. I’m not crying for revenge or anything but let me say it again, those people did not deserve to die and therefore are entitled to some type of sympathy. Any caring individual should be able to see that..

You ask if you should mourn for the fallen. Well, the floods, earthquakes and maybe to some extent famines that you mention in your w/u are natural occurrences. Hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings is not. Yes, as you state, the world is a pretty barbaric place but I think by not letting tragic events have some type of effect on you, you just contribute to the callousness that pervades both our society and the world in general. And yes, in my humble opinion, you should mourn for the fallen.

You almost sound sad that you weren’t affected (at least directly) by the events of that day. I wish I wasn’t affected either. As a matter a fact, I wish we all weren’t affected. I recently got a note from my former high school advising me that an eternal flame was going to be lit in honor of twenty three of my former class mates who didn’t get to make it home that day. Even though I had lost contact with all of them, it still affected me. Sorry.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let me close with the following. Good thoughts go out to all friends, past, present and future.

From http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usiraq11sep11.story

"I'm deeply concerned about a leader who has ignored the United Nations for all these years, refused to conform to resolution after resolution after resolution, who has weapons of mass destruction," Bush said of Hussein. "And the battlefield has now shifted to America, so there's a different dynamic than we've ever faced before."

A senior administration official said Bush in his speech will seek U.N. action—but not recommend a specific course.

"He is going to go to the U.N. and he will say that this is not just our problem, this is the world's problem," said the aide, who requested anonymity.

At the same time, the official said Bush will reserve the right to act without U.N. support or approval. "The president is also going to make very clear that the United States is not prepared to stand by and let this situation continue," the aide said.

Well, at least they're admiting their hypocrisy these days.


Today, I mourn not only those lost one year ago, but also the very, very real potential that those counted among the gone shall soon grow dramatically in number.

If you ask me, ol' Shrub could use some glasses.

Even in utopia, there's myopia.

It took me no time to piece together a small picture of the communication. All over the planet there is this multi-nodal conversation going on. People don't use their mouths to say what they really mean. Not always. Wouldn't matter if they did, no one speaks the same language. Everyone wants to be a virus, infect the other's mode of communication. That way, when it's all transcribed the disease has permeated the entire surface of meaning, twisted it, coiled it, and metamorphsized into something completely different. The conversation, all over earth, got a big bump in the timewave on September 11, 2002. I wish I had a machine, or better yet the extended psychological capabilities to transcribe this discussion between the atoms, the cells, the tissues, the muscles, the spasms, the chasms, the protozoa, the eukaryotes, the eucalyptus trees, and the mongeese. The misguided, misunderstood communication between humans and animals, humans and humans, cities and governments, countries and continents, windows to world.

But there's so much god damn static everywhere. It stings my skin and makes me run home, crying because I can't get a cosmic word in edgewise when my wet tongue keeps getting electrocuted by the harsh hearts behind harsh words, and the hellish actions incurred by what one may call my people, on their soil.

They are all my people. "All my sons! They were all my sons!" And maybe that makes it hurt less, I don't know. I remember waking up that morning, checking out the news on the internet, seeing what happened. And--oh, shit. Yeah. Something like this was bound to happen. Someone finally found a voice, and that voice sings no sweet words but only the words of a tired donkey beaten several times over. But that's ok, this donkey's got a point to what he's trying to say. A shame that the deaths of so many lives has, superimposed on each of their corpses, the red-white-and-blue like plaid tatooed all over their bodies. But, that's sort-of appropriate. My first thought was that this country, that I live in, was the primary cause for these events. Nevermind the way to blue I could have used to place solely the blame on the actual kill. Like I said, there is this world-wide communication going on, very few events are isolated. This, I thought, adds some spice to the conversation. A chilling turn of phrase, but only so chilling as we've never been talked to like this before. We tell countries that our hands are patting the others on the shoulder, that our country's hands are GOD's hands, and they are pushing in the right direction. In order to use the hands, they tie everyone elses hands together, saying that this is the only way GOD's hands can work. No other hands in the way. (hands across the water, (water), hands across the sky) (take these hands, throw them in the river, BURY THEM WITH YOUR HANDS!)

I have felt suspicious about my government for a long time. I don't put very much past them. It would not surprise me at all to find out that the events that happened on 9/11 were known about. That they were either allowed to happen, or that they were in some way a piece of a larger plan. This I have known since second one of the happenstance. There are forces in this world too intelligent, too calculating, and too thirsty to control the FUCKING CONVERSATION that they would do whatever it takes. Now, I make my share of George W. Bush is a stupid asshole sort-of comments. I add to the conversation in my own ways. But he is a figurehead. It doesn't matter whether externally he presents himself as stupid. On one level, he is. But he is incredibly dangerous, and more calculating as a collective organism (including the legacy, and commrades around him) than I could possibly estimate. If I've seen things clearly, EVER in my life, than the clarity that they must have is scary. Just scary. That's the stuff that makes it hard for me to sleep at night. Knowing that people aren't just messing with the conversation, aren't just messing with the static that controls the masses. But that someone is messing with the cosmic force that makes things flow. I do not doubt that a great deal of manipulation and behind-the-scenes heebie jeebies has been started on this planet. It was started long ago. Philip K. Dick called it the Black Iron Prison, I've called it the cosmic joke. But if any of you think this will be over when we straighten some stuff out in the middle east, or that our government and our leaders have the best interests of not only thier country's people and the world's people in mind, than you have a suprise coming your way.

I wait patiently for my zeppelin to come. I try to add little wrenches into the conversation. It doesn't matter what I try to do though. Most people are content to just like Ike, I fall through the cracks more each day.

I found out today that Hermetic is dead.

I didn't know him personally, just read his writeups from afar. I'm saddened that he took his own life, saddened by the regrets I saw when I read the node.

I went and looked at his last writeup. Why is it that the ones that take their own leave from this world seem to care so much about it? The brightest stars fade soonest.

I saw some of my old nodes, too. Those halcyon GTKY days. I was not then what I am now. I knew more then. I was foolish. I do not think I am much wiser now.

E2 slows, grows old. This is the twilight. Do nate and dem_bones drink old rum and sit in velvet chairs? The swashbuckling is over. Now we become.... something else. I am proud to have contributed. Maybe one day I can tell my children about this place.

Maybe one day they can come here, too.

It's September 11. The media is probably having a field day. The emotional are working themselves up into a frenzy. The intellectuals are arguing about foreign policy and what's wrong with America. Those that hate, have more reason to. We all become a little less innocent, because loss is what you pay to learn about the world, and the world lost a year ago.

I walked by the armory on the way back from class. They were doing something that looked like a September 11 memorial. I didn't stop. I kept going... It's a clear, cool, sunny day today. If the air were a little moister it would be just like Portland.

I miss Portland today. It's been some five weeks since I left. I have freedom here, at the cost of weather and place. It is a fair trade, and I will return to Portland someday. I would like to live, not in the city, but near enough I can go meet people there. I want to have a house, and a wife. I'd like a job that I can wake up for.

I am incomplete... What can make me finished?

This morning I was late for work.

Not very late. Only a little late.

I had a bagel and a Special K Breakfast bar and a banana for breakfast.

I read the news as I did so. You know what the main topic was.

I drank some coffee to wash the taste of cheese out of my mouth.

I'm a programmer, so I started work on a program I have been writing.

I've gone number one twice,

Now I'm making this writeup.

I'm going to go to the bathroom again after I finish.

I'm going to go smoke a cigarette after I go to the bathroom.

I'm going to fill my 34 oz. mug (from 7-11 for slurpees) with ice water.

I'm having a Glazed Chicken microwavable meal for lunch.

And an apple.

Then I'll work a little more on my program.

I have a meeting this afternoon that I am not looking forward to because I know it will result in a confrontation and a battle of wills, as it usually does.

Then I'll email my girlfriend an innocent love letter.

I'll probably stay at work 15 minutes late to offset my tardiness from this morning.

Then I'll pick up my kids and go to the gym.

Then I'll take them home, and make some steak and rice.

I'll argue with my son until he eats. He'll be crying becasuse steak, rice and peas aren't yummy and mean ol' dad is forcing him to eat it.

He will eat it.

Then I'll play with my kids a little. (At least I'll play with the boy. The baby will just want to watch and occasionally giggle.)

Then I'll continue ignoring the television. I might read or watch a DVD.

Then I'll give the kids a bath and put them to bed.

My son will fall asleep, but I'll spend the next 45 minutes trying to get the baby to lay down and sleep.

I wish I could say I'll make love to my girlfriend, but she has to work tonight, so I'll just think aboout her.

Then I'll sleep.

And on September 12, 2002, I'll do exactly the same thing.

 

 

 

 

Except that I'll make more of an effort not to be late for work.

You don't have to read this. It's just another thing that's essentially the same as all the ones above. And yes, I know, I don't daylog but I'm daylogging.

Having said that. I'm in New York at the end of a six week stay, just before going to university in the UK. Being a foreigner in New York at the moment is extremely odd and being in New York at the moment is extremely odd and I want to put this down now.

I think the only thing today has really brought home to me which I hadn't fully understood is how extraordinarily media-driven the world and particularly the US is now. The media no longer reflects the mood: it attempts to set it. Every single channel here has been bandwagon jumping like there's no tomorrow: I can accept it on your CNNs and ABCs and NBCs, but it's when MTV shows a program about the music industry's reaction and E! gives us 'celebrities reactions - right now they're not celebrities but normal people like you and I' (in which case why interview them?) that it gets absurd. And the thing is that this IS an important day. It matters that this happened, a lot, more than any other single event during my lifetime. But it would be terrible if we became desensitised to this because of the saturation of it, and that's in danger of happening. I've lost count of how many times I've seen the replays of what happened, and I'm not going to watch television today. There's something horrifically voyeuristic about seeing it again and again, particularly the moments of impact: it's easy to start watching it without being really aware and then suddenly you get a jolt of realisation that you're watching the precise moment at which a whole bunch of innocent people were killed.

Language really matters, because as someone once said, if you control it you control how people understand the world. To whit: a memorial plaque at ground zero commemorates 'the heroes of 9-11' and then lists all 2 800 names of those who died. Now, most of these people were not heroes, they were unconscious victims. The thing is, the intended glorification of them as deliberate martyrs, when in fact they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, doesn't glorify them at all. It denies their humanity because it suggests that somehow being a victim isn't good enough. It's as if we're ashamed, which is totally bizarre. They were totally innocent victims of an horrific crime, and they should be remembered as such, not used as a propaganda tool to make us all feel big and tough. I guess it's easier to deal with them as 'heroes' because it makes us feel as though their deaths weren’t in vain, that they meant something, that everyone who died took a conscious decision and, as I heard one bereaved woman putting it, died for America. But they didn't. They just fucking died, and it's so unfair.

New York feels strange right now. The subway this morning was a weird experience, and lots of people looked a little nervous. (The staff have been equipped with radiation detectors, which is enough to put the wind up you.) The office where I’m working is right next to Union Square, which is where lots of people put up missing notices last year. This year the city put up big display boards and left pens and paper on tables: the resulting messages are a bizarre melange of the borderline psychotic racist, the maudlin, and the genuinely moving. This is what that I keep finding: I feel like I have dealt with this thing, and that it isn’t affecting me anymore, and then I see one incredibly cheesy bad poem about someone’s father who died and it’s completely devastating. The memorial at Grand Central Station is much the same. It was the fact that it was so clumsy that made it powerful: so much of the memorialising is stage managed to the last detail, but this was entirely human. There were lots of poems, for instance, and they were all really bad; and there were lots of drawings of doves and stuff and they were terrible too.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well. Somehow its crapness made it more extraordinary, if that makes any sense. I guess because it brings it home in individual, human terms, and because you read a crap poem and you think 'this is crap' but you also think that this exists because someone died for no good reason and someone sat down and decided to write it and then pin it here the better to remember them. I appreciate that this is all very corny. But sod it, it IS corny. It’s an impossibly sentimental experience.

One last thing: of course it fucking matters, excalibre. Terrible things happen every day, and you’re right that it’s important to remember that, for instance, more people die of AIDS every single day than died in the WTCs and the Pentagon and Pennsylvania; but this was deliberate. This was a decision some people took, the closest thing to ‘evil’, if such a concept is credible, in recent years, and it’s reverberations have changed the world, possibly for good. Its symbolic and practical impact has been absolutely extraordinary, and it’s not unreasonable to see it as an attack on an entire cultural system which defines your life whether you like it or not. (Proof? How about the fact that you’re using the internet?) Whatever one’s theories about the underlying causes of 9/11, and it’s definitely true that US foreign policy is heavily implicated in creating a world where something like this could happen, it’s still absolutely right and proper that we mourn the senseless events of last autumn. Not to do so would be a denial of our own humanity.

September 11th, the death of Western ideology and what comes next

Precedent in this node seems to be to discuss the attacks of a year past. Let us pray no documentation of further attacks will be necessary here.

"I fear that all I have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."

--Admiral Yamamoto after the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941

These words echo of a past when ideologies threatened the freedom of the Western World - the terrible and massive armies of Nazi Germany and then Soviet Russia vowed to take the world by force and subject it to their irrationality, fear and destruction. Such times seemed to have past, with the Soviet bear finally defeaten and seemingly converted.

"Nothing is more characteristic of the totalitarian movements in general and of the quality of fame of their leaders in particular than the startling swiftness with which they are forgotten and the startling ease with which they can be replaced."

--The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt

Now, terror again rears its ugly head. But this time it's different, and the rules have changed. The terror of last century was carried out by states against the citizens of other states and often the citizens of their own state. The startling characteristic of the victims of last century is their innocence as individuals. Such it is in the terror of this century - the people of over a hundred nationalities who died in the World Trade Center were sacrificial goats to the terrorists, slaughtered in an expression of rage against what America stands for and what it has done.

"It will not be quick and it will not be easy. Our adversaries are not one or two terrorist leaders, or even a single terrorist organization or network. It's a broad network of individuals and organizations that are determined to terrorize."

-- George W. Bush, press conference

So what's changed? Just as before, the terror is perpetrated against a generalised group just for being members of that group. Just as before the victims are not chosen arbitrarily1, but because of perceived crimes against the perpetrators of the terror. The difference now is that our enemies are geographically sparse, no longer homogenous, and may hide in countries with which we have no greivance, making their destruction a difficult task.

"We're going to find out who did this and we're going after the bastards."

--Sen. Orrin Hatch

And yet, the United States of America must go about this difficult task, and it must succeed at it. The patriotic people of the United States cannot stand to see their nation attacked in such a way, indeed it shocks and surprises them that anyone would wish to do so. In the face of a populace of this make-up, the government of the United States cannot afford not to react. And react they shall - with the support of the rest of the Western World or not. It would be a great shame if Europe could not motivate itself for a task of such importance2, but even if it doesn't we can rest assured that America will fight this war with all its resolve.

"...the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

-- Abraham Lincoln

In the War on Terrorism, a war against cowardly terror perpetrated on the innocent, sacrifices must be made. We are told that we must forgo some of our liberties, indeed the United States past an act known as the Patriot Act which did just this3. Members of the emergency services died trying to save their compatriots, and soldiers (yet mercifully few) have died in the war on Afghanistan. Citizens of Afghanistan have also perished in a war which they likely understand little of, and have no wish to perpetrate. No-one desires this, and yet many recognize that collateral damage is an unfortunate side-effect of a war which must be fought.

Yet the U.S. must be careful not to further stir up the hate which caused this dreadful mess in the first place. Those who think that this is a mistake they are doomed to repeat would do well to remember the rational self-interest of nations - the U.S. cannot afford, for its own sake to let this hatred simmer. They are aware of this. The only thing to question is whether they are competent enough to get things right this time.

September 11, 2001 defined a century. Those who say it was not important are living in a dream world, detached from reality. It may not be important to you, but it is the primary international relations issue now and will be for decades to come. Americans will not forget easily, and the fury they unleash could well match the thousand suns of their last great fury.

We appear to be past the period of totalitarianism. Yet the new enemy is just as idealistic, furious and brutal. But this time they're hiding in the shadows - even in the shadows of our own nations.


Notes:
1. Justified or not, the populace of Nazi Germany had specific greviences against the Jewish people, otherwise the population could not have been motivated to act as it did. Similarly with the bourgeois in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in Red China.

2. It is conceivable that Europe sees no need in wasting money fighting a war which America will fight for them, especially in light of the recent reduction in many European defence budgets.

3. A cynic might will indicate that the principles of America's founding, which surely a patriot would respect and adhere to, go against the spirit of this act.


Sources:
"Quotes about September 11, 2001": http://www.amandashome.com/911quotes.html (Accessed September 11, 2002)
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt
Today is September 11th.

There is something very special about this day.

Actually, there are several special things.

First of all, my library books are due back. After years of buying everything I wanted to read, I now get them all for free. Crazyness!

Secondly, it is my "Monday," and I am returning to the grind after a long, long weekend. For those that remember/care I obtained a job at The Brick (www.thebrick.com) as a salesperson. That's where I tell people "what they want to hear; tell people anything to make a sale." I feel dirty.

As well, Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Game Cube is due to be released in a few days.

That is all, for there is nothing in the past to be honored. On 9/11/01 nobody valiantly died to save our freedom. Yes, there were some brave guys (NYFD, others) but they were hired for bravery. They were hired to save lives. They were hired to do that kind of thing EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not a day should go by without you bowing down and handing fistfulls of money to your local FD/PD. Today is NOT SPECIAL.

If we keep the thought of terror in our heads and we raise terrorist alert alarms to blazing-super-aquamarine-alert (!!!) it only serves to forward their purpose. The terrorists weren't trying to strike a critical blow to our financial system. They didn't hope to take down our entire power grid. They simply wanted us to be scared. They wanted us to remember this day forevermore.

I sarcastically fear a day like 9/11 may fade from history books just as most negative events on the good ol' US of A have. Vietnam is hard to come by in modern history books - WWI and WWII have full chapters devoted to them, a minor paragraph is set aside for vietnam, then a few more paragraphs on the Persian Gulf. Point to one high-school history book that details the Canadians burning down the White House (err, Presidential Palace, sorry). The War of 1812? It barely even happened. Canada kicked the US's sorry ass up and down the border. Heck, the Sherman tank used by the US in WWII sucked so much that Germans called it a "Match" - one strike and they billow up in flames. But if you check the local library, you'll see the Sherman tank was the penultimate in military technology, enabling the Allies to win the war. God damn, propaganda pisses me off.

Anyways, better go have a shower. This day has been circled on my calendar - I need to get a haircut before work.

The 'Best We Forget' gig Sept 11. - The Twits, Violent Mood Swings and IRA

Videos that accompanied the bands on the rear projection screen:
- Let My Puppets Come
- WADD - The Life and times of John Holmes
- Topless Go-Go dancers
- Russ Meyer's Supervixens
- The new 'moving' TWITS backdrop

What was also showing on TV in the bar at the same time: - Documentaries about September 11 and the rememberance ceremonies

The International Republican Army (IRA) where up first and mainly did covers along with a few original songs as they seem to be a fairly new band but they hold good promise for the future. Their lead singer Jim is very good looking and friendly also.

Slightly more experienced were the Violent Mood Swings with Steve Prictor and Fred T Farlowe. On seeing the topless Go-Go dancers video playing on the big screen Steve asked "Are you cheering us or the tits?" (The drummer looked pretty interested in the video also.)

They play mostly blues style rock with Steve breaking out the harmonica on more than one occasion (I don't know why he sang through a phone though). I think this band are pretty much regulars on the St Kilda music scene (their CD covers are on display in the Espy Kitchen dining area), so it shouldn't be too hard to see them around the place.

The final act for the night (and the reason I decided to take tomorrow off work so I could go tonight) was The Twits who were up to their usual antics with special guest Osama in Pyjamas (Bin-1), The Twin Towers and a heap of pissed yobbos.

I am constantly surprised how many women seem to be interested in this band as they go out of their way to do over the top and rude things during their performances (the bass player always ends up nude for some reason.) They also need some way of controlling the drunken audience members who take over the microphones towards the end of the gigs.

What I also liked about their gig tonight was that they played a couple of new songs and they managed to work the theme of the night into their performance. I am really looking forward to seeing them on Grand Final Night and getting the pictures developed that I took at this gig.

Today feels like an empty day. Our fire department, as most in Massachusetts, held a memorial service at our station, as encouraged by The Fire Chiefs' Association, the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and the Department of Fire Services, to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 and the losses in NYC, Washington and field in Pennsylvania. At 9:45 we rolled our trucks onto the tarmac.
10:00, we gathered with guests in front of our apparatus for in silence.
10:05, Sounded our siren for a minute, lowered station flag to half mast followed by a minute of silence.
10:10, Prayers from two town clergy:

Oh God, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters lost on September 11, 2001. We thank you for their example of courage and sacrifice. In your boundless compassion, console their families, friends, co-workers and all who ,ourn their loss. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our journey and serve with honor, dignity and courage. Amen.

Fire Fighters Prayer:

When I am called to duty, wherever flames my rage,
give me the strength to save a life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late,
or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to guard my every neighbor and protect his property.
And ifr according to God's will, I must answer death's call,
bless with your protecting hand, my family, one and all.
Amen.

"Amazing Grace" is played.
E2, our departments newest truck, sounds its siren 4 times in sets of 5 blasts, calling the lost home and sending them to their reward.
Flag is raised to full mast.
Lee Greenwoods "God Bless the U.S.A" is played.
Station 12, Hardwick, Massachusetts, is back in service. Today feels like an empty day, and I need a cookie. Thanks to all of you who showed up for the ceremony or sent notes of sympathy and concern.
I am writing this sitting at work in a big skyscraper. Yesterday we remarked about what we'd do today should we have looked out the window and seen a plane heading straight for us.

Today we observed a two minute silence at 1:46pm, where I sat trying to imagine the terror of being on a plane as it swooped down over Manhattan, of catching a glimpse of the Twin Towers out the window in the final seconds.

But nothing has changed. Except, Microsoft Flight Simulator which no longer has a WTC helipad for you to land on. I know, I flew there on purpose in the game to see what they put in the big empty space. It's a grey patch.

Oh, and vacations. I'm planning a vacation, but nobody wants to go on vacation on September 11th.

Every day Tony Blair drags this unwilling country closer and closer to a war with Iraq that should have been finished over a decade ago. Every day George Dubya Bush delightedly makes the most of a fact to thank his defense contractor campaign sponsors with the upcoming war while simultaneously keeping his industry sponsors happy by ignoring the environment summits.

We're going to end up destroying this ball of rock we call home since we can't share it.

I saw the film 'Meteor' with Sean Connery the other day. Quite disturbing, the WTC got smashed by falling rocks, and there is a long shot of Manhattan Island cloaked in smoke.

And an episode of Thunderbirds, where the Empire State Building collapses into a huge pile of rubble.

Isn't it amazing how we've all but forgotten about the people being held in Guantanamo Bay? The media really is controlling this in an Orwellian fashion. For all we know, they're already sending troopers into Iraq.

Editors, don't stop accepting new WUs for this node for a while... everyone has a worthy opinion, whether it's convincing (like those above) or hastily written from one's head (like mine).

Daylogs, bah. It's been a year since I had to make a daylog.

Here's the final word, the bottom line, the Objective Truth: A lot of people died at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and on Flight 93 on 9/11/01. None of those people deserved to die.

Yes, it received publicity and news coverage that a similar disaster in most other nations would never receive. Yes, that's not fair. Yes, there's been a whole lot of folks whining and mourning and acting like martyrs. It doesn't change the fact: None of those people deserved to die.

Yes, the ensuing attacks in Afghanistan killed a lot of Afghan civilians and have not succeeded in capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden. It doesn't change the fact: None of those people deserved to die.

Yes, Dubya is using the disaster as an excuse to push for a war in Iraq that few people want to happen. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld is using the disaster as an excuse to push for a greater American military presence worldwide. Yes, John Ashcroft is using the disaster as an excuse to push his personal authoritarian, anti-freedom agenda. Yes, Israel's leaders have used the disaster as an excuse to push for a war of extermination against the Palestinians, and vice versa. Yes, the disaster is not a good excuse for any of those things, and yes, many of us agree that we should work very hard to derail their plots. It doesn't change the fact: None of those people deserved to die.

Yes, the attacks spurred a wave of American patriotism and nationalism. Yes, there's been a rise in isolationist feelings. Yes, certain religious types have behaved very stupidly. Yes, all the mindless flag-waving can get quite irritating and frustrating, even for Americans. It doesn't change the fact: None of those people deserved to die.

Yes, there are a lot of people out there who are responding to the anniversary with "Ahh, who cares? Just a bunch of bloody stupid Americans died. They were asking for it anyway, with that stupid foreign policy." Sorry to hear you feel that way. Please feel free to fuck yourself. Because none of those people deserved to die.

Yes, many more people die everyday of starvation and disease and war than died at the WTC. Yes, 9/11 has almost completely dominated public discourse. Yes, many important issues have been pushed aside. Yes, the American response to the attacks has been far from perfect. Yes, yes, yes. But it doesn't change the fact: None of those people deserved to die.

That's the only thing that matters, really. None of those people deserved to die.


still believing that yesterday's anniversary was more shattering for most of us

The following is my memory of the tragic day of sept 11th. Feel free to share your thoughts, if you knew anybody who had worked in the twin towers.

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I was waking up to go to work, when suddenly, a phone rings, and it's my mother, crying on the phone that the World Trade Center is on fire. I turned on the television and saw the building burning, and at first, i thought that it was just a fire on one of the floors, but then they showed a closer view of the building and i knew that the damage was pretty big. My father worked on the 71st floor, but I couldn't remember which of the two buildings he worked at, even though I have been to his job a number of times, so when the second plane hit, I didn't know at that point whether he was dead or alive. It was an excruciating hour for me. I felt angry and scared at the same time. Scared for the sake of my father's life, as well as other family members who work in Manhattan. Not only did I worry about my family, I was also thinking what would happen to me and if my Army Reserve unit was being deployed. Later , I found out, that I actually came real close to being deployed to Afghanistan. Perhaps the most chilling moment for me was when the first building fell. At that moment, I just froze, I didn't know what to think, or do, but I still had hope that my family was okay. Moments later, before the north tower fell, my father finally called me, from a payphone, which he was lucky to get a hold of, and the first words he said were "I’m still alive". He said he's running down Church avenue, and I told him to just keep running, keep running away from the building, because it's gonna fall any minute. Later after that, I contacted other family members and told him that he was okay. About half hour after the second building collapsed, he called me again to assure me that he was okay and then , I contacted the rest of my family again. Later that evening, my father, my mother , and my aunt met uptown, and when the downtown subways went in service again, they went home. For some reason, I remember that it was sunset, when my father along with the rest of my family arrived at the porch, where I was waiting for them. He was covered in white ashes, with a bruise on his elbow, and his face had the kind of frightening expression that you never want to see on your father. It was terrifying to see him like that, but I was just overwhelmingly glad that he was okay.

Six months later, my father had received the Medal Of Valor for his actions. He told us how he helped a co-worker evacuate the building with him because when the first plane hit, she went into such a panic that she just laid on the floor, crying, and he had to convince her that they had to run, but what I didn’t know until he received the medal in a prestigious ceremony, (with the presence of former mayor, Rudy Giuliani and governor George Pataki) , was that the co-worker, was limping and had a lot of trouble running downstairs and that my father literally carried the woman all the way downstairs from 71st floor. When I read that in the medal nomination letter, I began to see a side of my father that I’ve never seen before. It was a side of not only his heroism, but of respect and integrity. I started to believe that G-d was with him on the sad morning of September 11th and that it wasn’t his time to go. I believe that G-d is with us all…all that survived and all that perished. He watches over us, as we fight for our freedom and for the struggle of freedom and justice of others. On this memorial, I urge you to spend time with your families and thank him for all you have. G-d bless you all, and G-d bless America.

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