Two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, holed up in my Bangkok apartment, I spewed my thoughts and feelings down on paper. I wanted to relate my perceptions for my family and friends back home. Red Smith said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” It’s true the writer has little control over what comes out and where it flows. Well, I suppose I sat down at my computer on Sept. 13 and opened my stomach if not a vein. What came out was a bile-filled mess that spewed in every direction. It reflects at the time my ignorance, my innocence, a desire for peace, a desire for vengeance. Confusion and shock. Sorrow, hate and love.
Indomitable, September 13, 2001
There is a large upscale mall in Bangkok called The World Trade Center. I was reading contentedly when the phone rang. A close Thai friend told me that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I immediately felt a shock but not the sort of shock you did when you first heard this. I thought she was talking about the mall. I am ashamed to say I felt the same kind of fleeting disbelief that I feel when I hear about another bomb in the middle east. Sadness, horror disbelief but ultimately it is another people, far away. Killing and dying for reasons I have tried to comprehend but can not and have grown weary of trying to understand. I imagined a small plane crashed into the lobby of the mall. Dead people, hurt people but surreal. Then I heard her say New York. Then I heard her say two planes. Then I felt my heart rate quicken. I remembered her husband is in new york city. My mind raced.
Thai TV didn’t help much with explanation but the images I saw were the same that you saw and that told me all there was to tell. Then it escalated, and escalated and escalated.
Celebrating Palestinians? I don’t care if they are Muslim, Christian or circus clowns, they are celebrating mass destruction and Massive, massive death.
How has the world come to this place. Where did we turn, what map have we followed that has left us lost in this stark place?
What brand of person can commandeer a plane full of people and slam it into a building full of more people sending rubble pouring over the heads of still more people. What kind of person is this? Where is the soul? Moreover, what kind of person witnesses this and then pours out into the street in jocular glee, handing out candy to children and neighbors in celebration of such a dire, bleak act.
You loft your hands in the air and dance in the street over the greatest single act of malicious violence in history.
Ussama Bin Laden denies involvement but states that he supports the action. – Then, with those words, welcome to the row. Accept responsibility for your beliefs and opinion. You believe in killing the innocent in the name of god. I believe in personal religious interpretation. I believe in establishing a personal set of morals based on a personal relationship with god butYou are, quite frankly, wrong. You are, quite frankly, insane. You do not, quite frankly, deserve the life that god has given you. You will not break us. You can not conquer us. We will all die before you sink your evil fingers into our homeland. But that is what you want isn’t it. So, bring that aggression to us. Come and see what we can do. See, how lazy and complascent our fat capitalistic asses are when we are pushed in a corner. How dare you bring your mismanaged psyche and politcs to our yard. How dare your extort the lives of OUR brothers and sisters for YOUR asinine Jihad? How dare you kill in the name of GOD!
If they are as Tony Blair said, “utterly indifferent to the sanctity of life” then perhaps they do not deserve the life they have been given. Perhaps their gift should be eradicated as well. I swear I never thought I would feel this way, I never thought I would say it and possibly even TRULY BELIEVE it in my heart, but maybe it is time to extract an eye for our eye lost.
I can’t think that way…. but I do.
Bush: “quiet unyielding anger”
We have sacrificed for your skirmishes. WE have tried to help mend your wounds. WE have orchestrated meetings and open fists into open arms.
Right now my infolifeline to the world is cnbc – financial news pap. They are the best I have here and all they talk about are issues like what will the loss of all the personnel of morgan, Stanley Dean witter, what will that loss have to do with the market and the margin rate? This is really disgusting. Ah, my bottom line. My portfolio. My stock options. Could I potentially profit from this bleak day?
What about the mother who won’t be coming from work again ever. The father who won’t be pull into the driveway ever again.
Bitter enemies: My country is hated
IF I have any bitter enemies in my life they would be the motorcycle taxi drivers here in Bangkok. Our relationship could be better described as symbiotic tolerance. But at the end of my darkest night. My “bitter enemy” asked me where I was from and expressed his sympathy. I don’t know how he had heard so quickly? But…. He was sincere and I thanked him.
They took away our favorite skyline. L.A has its pacific sunsets. Chicago towers over rivers and plains. Seattle points an honorable finger to the sky, to God. But it is New York that welcomes the promise of each new day. The city that never sleeps is awake each day to say good morning to life. The twin towers, those perfect rectangles that reflected sunlight like mirrored sunglasses snugly upon a confident, happy face.
At night, those two dark monolithic silhouettes dotted with lights in the night sky. Eternal, or so we thought. Past tense.
They knocked those sunglasses off our face. They have knocked us down. We ARE hurt. We have never been hit like this before. But we are NOT knocked out. We are dizzy. We have faltered. We will need some time. But we are NOT finished.
Our great monolithic towers have crumbled. They are gone. But these were not the strength of America. These are not backbone of our nation. Perhaps this is what they represented. They were intrepid symbols of a resolute people. The symbols are gone. So much life was swept away with these icons. Yet, New York, New Yorkers, Americans remain to greet the sun, to welcome the promise of each new day. Our eyes are blackened but the sun has risen again. We squint into the morning light and we will move on. We will continue. When it is all swept up and played out, we will be stronger than our enemies ever imagined. We are indomitable.
We’ve lost brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. Humanity.