Personal Stories [en]

Starting my journey at the fray, I’ve been reading through accounts written by those who were there on September 11. I’m a bit late, maybe—but that’s understandable, given where I was at the time.

The web offers us something the mainstream press cannot: collections of personal stories. Voices of those who saw things happen with their own eyes. People who do not write for newspapers, or tour the world to cover stories, but who for one event turn into instant reporters. If the Internet is also about connecting people and bringing to your eyes what the other media cannot, this is your chance to see it in action.

I won’t link to everything. There are hundreds of pages out there. Here are some I have read, and appreciated.

  • the fray: devoted to personal story-telling, the fray would be the obvious place to start reading; feature stories and reader comments—yours to add too if you feel like it.
  • Anil Dash: I have all these other ideas, I’m going to write about something other than those fucking terrorists and what they’ve caused. And then, tonight, the smell came back. That burning plastic, electrical, city on fire smell. You know all those clichés about how the smell is the sense most closely linked to memory? They’re true.
  • Usman Farman: Had I taken the late train, or gotten a bite to eat, I would have been 5 minutes late and walking over the crosswalk. Had that happened, I would have been caught under a rain of fire and debris, I wouldn.t be here talking to you. I.d be dead.
  • Tamim Ansary: Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan–a country with no economy, no food.
  • Maggie: scroll down a bit, and you’ll find lots of linked quotes.
  • Zeldman: My doctor may be among those killed on 11 September. I’ve tried three times to reach him, and all I get is the same eerily calm voice mail loop.
  • Ben Curtis (Purportal): lots of misinformation has circulated after the attacks. Links to relevant documents on the web to make up your mind yourself about these things.
  • and finally, a pilot’s speech on his first flight after the attacks: how to deal with hijackers.

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