Thoughts on 9/11 Ten Years After

I am probably one of very few people in North America who has never seen a picture of the Twin Towers falling. Ever. In ten years. There are several reasons for this. I didn’t and don’t have a TV because I feel very bludgeoned emotionally by the trauma and tragedy of the world. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I care very much. Too much. So I have never wanted to see the people falling, the towers crumbling.

Even ten years later, when CBC’s The Current talks to a girl who was 12 at the time in a school near by, I find myself welling up with tears and emotion. It affected me enough that I don’t think I could handle the images. And I know what a terrible thing it was.

I was geographically far removed from the event, living in Vancouver, BC. And when a friend posted online in the morning before I went to work that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center I thought it was an unfortunate accident. As I drove to work I soon realized the severity of what was going on. I was glued to the radio all day, alternating between tears and panic.

I felt a fear that day that I had never known before and it makes me very sad to realize that many people have gone through this or live in a constant state of fear in countries and regimes fueled by violence and tyrannies. My world, my comfy world of little mundane issues was turned upside down. Like many, I didn’t know if we were under attack and war had reached our shores. I only know that my security was undermined and I was not prepared. Ten years later, were we to be attacked full on, I find I’m still unprepared. How do you prepare for such a thing. I’d like to think I’d survive, that I’m tough, that I’d adapt, but I don’t really know, and I hope I never have to find out.

The falling of the towers was also the final clincher in my mental health. I didn’t know I was going into clinical depression. I was already suffering from despair and sadness and not being able to cope with the little things. I was knocked completely for a loop after that. It was a long, painful year of recovery after that.

My story “Horizons” for the Mammoth Book of On the Road was for a collection of road trip stories. It was written during this time and about a woman who is late for work and therefore doesn’t die when 9/11 happens. She deals with guilt about being tardy while others were good and showed up on time. She also chooses to disappear, drive into the wilderness and camp for who will know that she didn’t die in the collapse of the towers? Interestingly, this story (which is not SF) got very little attention or reviews and even I forget about its existence. I might post it on this blog in the next few days.

What 9/11 did was put the Taliban on the map for many of us. It also gave George Bush his misguided holy crusade. Perhaps the good things were that emergency response measures and security were looked at closely but we also received an overlarge dose of paranoia. To this day it’s easier to fly from Canada to Europe than it is to the US because of ludicrous standards. And line ups and waits at airports seem to increase every year with another over-the-top precaution. Not all of them are but there are significantly stupid ones.

Many of us perhaps grew more fearful. Overall I haven’t, though it’s such reminders as this and close friends dying that tell me to enjoy every day and make it worthwhile. I still love and fear but I don’t let some threat keep me from doing the things I want, ever. And I will never understand nor condone that innocent lives should ever be taken just so some nutjob who wants to push his/her views on someone else can get attention. Here’s to world peace, letting us live and love and working at not hurting each other.

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3 Comments

Filed under crime, history, memories, news, security

3 responses to “Thoughts on 9/11 Ten Years After

  1. rautakyy

    Ten years ago I remember thinking it was inevitable, that the terror US has spread across the globe finally hit there also. I still think that. I mean this as no disrespect to the families who lost that one day, but how many Iraqi and Afghan families have lost equally and even more since? How many families in Vietnam, Laos and Khambodia had allready lost equally and even more? How often has the US meddled in the affairs of South- and Central American countries only to produce profits to super rich US citizens on the cost of lives and blood of ordinary people in those countries? What happened on that faithfull day ten years ago, did not repair any of the wrong done before. No, it only produced more and more misery.

    I must say, my world did not turn to be any less secure on that day. The actual threats directed at me are still a death or serious injury as a result of a trafic accident or an accident at home or work, an encounter with a random violent idiot or lunatic, the very narrow possibility that Russia once again invades my home country. Terror is such a minute possibility and the problem is there are no measurements that could prevent it. The terrorist could be an islamist extremest, but just as well it might be a nationalist extremist, a christian extremist, a communist extremist or what ever. It could be even a school shooter, or should I start to avoid schools while walking on the streets? No, I shall not fear terror more than I fear walking on the street.

    People like to feel safe, but no-one is ever safe. We take different measurements to be safe. But statistically speaking if everybody buys a gun to protect their home from burglars, it is less efficient than to have social programs that lessen criminal behaviour. The same amount of effort could have so much better results.

    Why is it that these attacks were made ten years ago, and has that reason siesed to exist, or has the situation actually gotten worst?

    • colleenanderson

      Good points all and I agree 100% with what you’ve said so well.

      • rautakyy

        Thank you. I have sometimes being accused for “America bashing” for such comments, but I “bash” my native country also when we do something wrong and I regard that the highest form of patriotism. Anyway, it is freightening how the fear the terrorists set out to cause has been a success for their ideals. They are affraid of the secular part of western culture being absorbed into their own cultures and what they have achieved is the growing gap between these cultures. They did achieve to produce the image of an enemy and a “holy war” between these cultures. In that sense they won. Strange how those people claiming islam to be inherently violent and evil, do not see how they are the equivelants of the terrorists here in the west (and indeed some of them are terrorists like the Norvegian guy).

        But even in this the darkest of situations there is a spark of hope. The planned segragation of people into muslims and christians has revealed so many people who want to act for a better world regardless of their religion.

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