Thursday, September 13, 2007

9/11 and me

During the last days - due to the day coming up again - there were a lot of documentaries about 9/11 even in Germany. This made me remember where I was, what I did and what I thought when it happened.

I was at home then - only, back then it was my parent's home, actually, as I have moved out after that day. I was working as a free-lance editor and had a job to do, so I sat in the living room (my parents had gone for a walk) and had the TV running while I was working. Then the normal afternoon program (as Germany is several hours before the united states when it comes to time) was stopped for a news flash. A plane had accidentally crashed into the World Trade Centre, they said. I saw the pictures of the smoking tower and thought "what a tragedy" when I saw - on live feed - the second plane coming in. It actually did a turn to hit the second tower and the only thing I could think of at that moment was "there's no way in hell that was an accident". My work was forgotten, I switched to CNN and stayed tuned, following the news that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon and the passengers of a fourth had just managed to steer it away from the centre of yet another big city.

As I was born in 1974, 9/11 was one of the few major things that happened in my life time up until now (and I still was quite young when the Berlin Wall fell - although that surely had more of an impact on my personal life, with about 50% of my relatives living in the former GDR). And there I was, basically watching live an event that would, in years to come, change the world greatly. Afghanistan and Iraq, two major wars, were started basically because of 9/11. George W. Bush only got re-elected because of 9/11 (which I still see as a major mistake). Security around the globe has been heightened because of 9/11. Taliban, Al Quaida and Bin Laden have only entered the vocabulary of the Western World because of 9/11.

I do not really dig into all those conspiracy theories that have evolved around this date. I have read quite some of them, but most are just like all the other conspiracy theories. They sound interesting, but they can't really sustain themselves. (Although it is a strange coincidence that 9/11, the English way to write the date, comes terribly close to 911, the American emergency number.)

Yes, I do believe the American government might have had a hint something would happen, but I doubt they knew what it was. Yes, I know nobody would have thought it possible the impact of a plane - even a large passenger plane - could completely destroy a tower of the World Trade Centre, but static is a bitch to calculate and I don't think anybody really expected a plane to crash into the towers anyway. I don't think there were additional bombs in the buildings. I think even Al Quaida didn't know they would create such a heavy damage and actually destroy the building. There is such a thing as coincidence in the world.

I have not lost a member of my family or a close friend in the events of 9/11, but I feel with those who have. It's a traumatic and tragic thing. I do not live in a country which is constantly threatened by Al Quaida (although some people are supposed to have planned an attack on an American Air Force base in Germany not too long ago). Even if I did, I live in a small town which would be an unlikely target for a terrorist act.

I'm not easily scared by possible danger to my life or health. I think that, if I took all the possible threats to my life serious, I could just jump off a high building and be done with it. Life is dangerous, that's why it's considered life - as opposed to death which is static.

I hope I've not hurt anybody's feelings with this post. I know that as somebody living far from where the tragedy took place, I can't really grasp all the grief it has caused. But, due to both the impact on the world and the media reporting it immediately around the planet, I was affected by it to a certain degree as well - everyone has be. It brought to my eyes the fact that people will always find new ways of attacking, as nobody ever thought of crashing a plane full of innocent people into a building to destroy it.

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