Monday, September 11, 2006

When I left my home the sky split open wide

So many words have been written on 9/11 that it seems silly of me to add to them. The internet is full of eye-witness accounts, conspiracy theorists, political commentators, bloggers and survivors and they are all better placed to speak about these events than I am. However, I’ll share my memories of this date that will be culturally and historically significant for centuries to come. It feels like the kind of thing that I’ll one-day tell my grandchildren about (if I ever have any), so I might as well get my story down beforehand.

I remember going out to the shop. Love and Theft, the new album from Bob Dylan and his first since 1997’s Time Out of Mind was released on that eventful day. I remember going to the shop on the Tuesday (I think it was released a day earlier but I couldn’t make it to the shops) and ripping open the packaging before playing the CD on the way home. A couple of hours later the significance of this record would pale in comparison to the events unfolding on television but there are plenty of rhymes and couplets that were given a whole new meaning by the horror’s unfolding on the television screen. Lines like these below suddenly meant so much more than Dylan intended.

"City's just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away"

"Well, I'm stranded in the city that never sleeps
Some of these women they just give me the creeps
I'm avoidin' the Southside the best I can
These memories I got, they can strangle a man"

"When I left my home the sky split open wide
I never wanted to go back there - I'd rather have died"
"Some things are too terrible to be true"
'Honest with Me'

"You always got to be prepared but you never know for what"
'Sugar Baby'

I remember seeing the events unfolding live. I was watching the news and eating my lunch when it happened. The footage came in of what was at first considered a terrible accident. Little did I realise that I would be stuck to the footage coming in for hours and days to come. It was surreal and horribly addictive, I couldn’t keep my eyes off CNN, Sky News and BBC News. Something which today makes me feel like a lowlife voyeur who can’t keep their eyes off the scene of a car crash.

Looking at 9/11 through 2006 eyes, the situation is different. We’ve had a subsequent Wars on Terror in both Afghanistan and Iraq, bombings in Madrid, Bali and London and numerous warnings, arrests, and political debate. I certainly feel that we live in different times: perhaps more aware of dangers, less innocent, we (as a society) have maybe a fuller view of what’s going on around the world than previously.

There can be no doubt that 9/11 happened because of the minds of mad psychopaths, hell-bent on destruction. For many a time after the events of 9/11 it was hard to even question why this had happened to America and New York City. But today I can speak my mind without sounding like an insensitive bastard. Every day on the planet more people die because of extreme poverty than did in the WTC attacks. You want a look at why people hate America and the Western World ? It is because we, as a human race, have failed to provide many in the world with a better life.

Many will be born and die in poverty as their parents and grandparents before them. And all the while we continue to bomb civilians in the name of the western world’s economic well being (ie: for oil). I may be idealistic but until issues such as these are addressed we will keep pushing people into the hands of a few religious extremist nut-jobs. Its not rocket science and its not caving into the demands of terrorists - it is a common sense view for a better world.

But what of the other issues surrounding 9/11. The continual conspiracy theories that don't seem to go away are proof that there needs to be a proper and open discussion of all these points by the US government. Yes one can dismiss them as nut-jobs but in my book, i'd rather have a society that questions and debates government than one who is completly submissive. In my opinion, there has been no clear answer to some of these queries like how can a pilot who has some lessons on a bi-plane at some flying school in Hicksville fly a commercial jumbo jet with pinpoint precision into a building. Just doesn't seem to make sense to me but then again i'm no pilot. I just need a pilot to explain this to me in clear detail...but then again maybe they can't either which would explain their silence.

I'm not saying that there is a CIA conspiracy or anything like that but there are some fundamental questions that this 9/11 has raised that have yet to be properly and clearly answered. Many of these points are now being championed by the 9/11 Scholars for truth organisation, a group of academics who are looking into all the issues. While I wouldn't agree with their conclusions, the fact that there are these points being raised by scientists and academics surely points to a lack of clarity/real discussion surrounding the issue.

9/11 was a terrible event that will continue to influence our world for years to come. We will continue to hear about conspiracy theories, stories of survivors, questions surrounding the outcomes and influences of 9/11 on American politics in the next five years and more. 9/11 was such a massive event, the like of which I had never witnessed before, let's hope that I don't have to witness another similar event on a similar magnitude in the future. Please excuse the rambling points, I started writing this and couldn't stop. I gues these points had been playing on my mind - yet more proof that 9/11 still influences the subconcious to amazing levels, some five years after the event and I wasn't even a personal witness to these horrible and tragic events.


Paolo Vites said...

"You want a look at why people hate America and the Western World ? It is because we, as a human race, have failed to provide many in the world with a better life."

Or maybe because they are afraid of our freedom as well.

I think Saudi Arabia have so much money that they could do a great deal of help to the people who are suffering in the third world, but all I can see, when is a tsunami or whatever, is those 'bastards' from the Western World that are going all the way to help the suffering. no matter the religion, the political views or anything in that country, they are always going. Funny eh?


Paolo Vites said...

oh, and this one from Mississippi is appropriate too

Sky full of fire, pain pourin' down

* (asterisk) said...

Good post, James. I'm not familiar with new Dylan stuff (nor that familiar with much of his old stuff, really), so that made for a fascinating read.

If you've not seen it already, try to source the film 911 Loose Change online. Terrifying.

Check me out, if you dare