Remembering 9/11

You’d have to be in a coma or living in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea not to know it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11. There are a number of momentous events that have characterised modern history and changed our world forever – Waterloo, the Great War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, Stalingrad, Hiroshima and then the Twin Towers. These events define the age. Almost all involved brutality and slaughter – man’s inhumanity to man. Few will forget that fateful day. Most can remember where they were and what they were doing. I know I can. I watched in silent horror. This changes everything, I thought with typically restrained British understatement. The Cold War may be over but a new ideological conflict was about to start in deadly earnest.

Not since January 1815 when 1,500 British troops attacked a thinly defended American battery on Georgia’s coast* has any foreigner attacked the American mainland. To be sure there had been terrorist atrocities before but the scale of the aerial strikes on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were of an entirely different order using two of the most potent symbols of western technological supremacy – the passenger jet and the skyscraper. It’s made America jittery and defensive. Moslems across the West are vilified as the new reds under the bed and the loose talk of jihad and crusades makes our fragile and fractious world an infinitely more dangerous place. Be afraid.

*The British then proceeded to sack the nearby town of St. Mary’s and burn its fort before departing just weeks later. The hostilities marked the last invasion and occupation of the U.S. mainland by foreign troops. The fighting was all the more remarkable because the War of 1812 (when the British tried to burn down the White House) had ended a month earlier with the Treaty of Ghent. By the time the invaders pulled out, even Andrew Jackson’s victory over the British at New Orleans – often considered the final battle of the war – was history. It had taken a month for word of peace to make its way across the Atlantic to both British and American forces.

Source: The Archaeological Institute of America

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9 thoughts on “Remembering 9/11

  1. Oh now Jack, I wasn’t going to comment about September 11th. But what you write is true: it is eerily scary as I have just returned from Waterloo (!) and the lessons learned there today. This very day. No lie.
    To those who look at 9/11 and wonder why the response, I can only ask that they pull out an atlas and determine that some can travel throughout Europe and only touch a fraction of the US geography. We are NOT the geographic dwarves others think us: we may travel a lot and never leave our borders. Mock us if you will, but Jack’s post says otherwise. We hurt when we all are hurting. So exactly how have YOU responded?? I look at Egypt this very day and wonder ‘can this really be??

    I cannot be sure, but despite a world in turmoil, I do strongly believe in a way ahead that is supportive of individual freedoms, national destinies and mankind living in peace and acceptance. Delusion? I sincerely hope not.

    Thank you Jack.

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  2. I was working at the Youth Justice Board, and my boss Larry was an American. A colleague in the Press Office rang us (they had the TV on in their office as part of their job) to tell us about the first plane. We ran downstairs to see what was happening and could not believe it when we watched the second plane heading for the other tower. It was so terrible that we could hardly believe that what we were seeing was actually happening. Certain images haunt me: Jamie Bulger being led away, Damilola Taylor skipping – but the horror was knowing what happened to them. This was horror staring in your face as you saw the reality.

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  3. Papua New Guinea? Try Afghanistan – a recent, comprehensive poll of Afghanis showed that 94% of them had no idea what 9/11 was and yet they are paying the awful price of Western imperialism.
    Was 9/11 yet another ‘false flag’ to add to ‘Lusitania’ (carrying war material; Germans warned not to travel on it), ‘Pearl Harbour’ (released cabinet papers show administration well aware of coming attack – Japanese navel codes broken), ‘Bay of Tonkin’ (incident never happened – excuse for war in Vietnam), fort built 150 miles inside Mexico that was excuse for taking Texas, New Mexico, California etc, Explosion on USS Maine, Havana that led to Spanish-American War, the list goes on. 9/11? Well, total secrecy is difficult in this day and age and there is recent film made public of a CACLM type missile striking the Pentagon, not as claimed Flight 77.
    Watch out for a UN enquiry into the whole business.

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  4. agree with Alan the truth will always come out just wait and see. CIA can’t keep secrets that’s a well know fact . When it does come out will Bush go down in history as a mass murderer as the world had never seen before? I actually hope not but that’s what I am fearful of.

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  5. We were in New York on 9/11… in Queens, visiting relatives – there’s a dense population of Jamaicans in Queens. Our son had just started at a new boarding school all the way in Boston. 9/11 was his first day at a new school in a new country… How he got through that I don’t know. A number of local people from the little town where his school was were on one of the planes. It was like the worst nightmare. We just remember day after day standing in the parking lot of the nearby shopping mall and watching those huge clouds of smoke dominating the horizon… And no planes! So we returned to Jamaica eventually, feeling like different people. All that followed and all the conspiracy theories etc cannot take away from the raw despair and fear of that day. We went to the memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and cried our eyes out all the way through. New Yorkers are emotional at the best of times…

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