I’ve just finished filling in the second part of the Coping with the Stress of the Terrorist Attacks survey. I thought I’d share with you my answer to the last question, which asks us to tell our story of the attacks.
Please bear in mind that this was written as it came, and that I’m not posting this to start a heated discussion about what I’m saying here.
Let’s first say I have lived through the terrorist attacks from a distance. I learnt of them on the Internet just when they happened – the net was slow and I saw a notice on a friend’s site. We were a party of people in India, and I broke the news to the group.
My biggest fear was in the American reaction. I was listening to Bush’s speeches and couldn’t believe what he was saying. At some point, I was wondering if we would have to rush back to Europe if things got bad. Pretty fast though, things seemed to “cool down” (as far as a possible rash “nuclear bomb” reaction was concerned).
I watched the news a lot during the next week or two. The financial news too. It was the first time in my life I was following something so closely, and the first time I was following financial news. I was worried about the effects on the economy.
Back in Switzerland after a few weeks, Swissair went bankrupt. It was a pretty big blow for people over here – though I don’t know anyone who was personally touched by it. Still, it was a concrete “close to us” consequence of the terrorist attacks.
Without wanting to remove any of the horror and tragedy of the attacks, I was (and still am) revolted by the US reaction to them. I tend to think that they are not attacking the root of the problem, not seeing what responsibility they have in the situation, and playing “we good, they bad” like always. I tend to side with Chomsky and his criticism of American foreign politics. I don’t consider myself anti-american, though. I have nothing against americans because they are americans, and I have american friends. The politics and government just get on my nerves. And it angers me too to be tagged “anti-american” because I dare show criticism.
In a nutshell, my feelings now towards September 11 are directed more against american politics in general. I think the shock of the attack itself is over – I had never been to New York, didn’t know anybody in the WTC, and don’t personally know anyone who was directly touched by what happened.
It’s revolting to kill civilians by crashing planes into buildings, but some of the actions of the US outside their borders are just as revolting (the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and the Afghan refugees – the so-called “collateral” damage).
All this leaves me with the feeling that the world of politics is rotten and full of deceit. But I still think we can live in this world.
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