Monday, September 12, 2011

Bandwagon Memories

I’ve been a bit fascinated by peoples’ memories of 11/9 (our calendar system makes waaaay more sense). I’m surprised anyone cares (about individual off-site memories), and am a wee bit upset that no one will ever do the same for the atrocities committed and still occurring in the Middle East. However, as a marking point in history, it is interesting to remember where you were – and what you were doing. And to realise that kids born after the fact – are now 10 years old and soon to start intermediate school.

I was in 5th form, School Cert year and we were released from home room in the morning to all rush to our various years common suite’s where we were allowed, in a rare show of leniency, to turn on the tellies. I remember drifting about that day as most classes were cancelled (or just consisted of watching TV), following the updates and solid rolling news coverage of the aftermath.

The pervading emotions were disbelief and bemused shock – was this actually real? For a group of NZ girls of whom none had ever even been to the states let alone left their own country for most – this massive international event was taking place, and event which would have ripple effects in all of our lives for the decade and more – to come, and was strangely surreal.

Despite the disbelief, there was a small undercurrent of anticipation – the news was so sensationalist and all of the Americans on TV so used to being seen as overreacting, we were all waiting for more – for something else, something bigger to happen. After all, it was just (cringe) two sky scrapers (and a pentagon), it’s not like world war three had broken out – in the big scheme of things.

Least I sound callous, how many people have been killed by Americans in their faux ‘war on terror for oil’ since that fateful day? How many Muslim Americans have been harassed and abused for their religion by a nation of theatrical, prejudiced bullies? Swings and Roundabouts – life is decidedly not fair.

[2,996 casualties on 11/9. Estimated non-American casualties during ‘war on terror’: 1,182,934+. American casualties: 54,800+. Estimates source: Wikipedia. I doubt anyone has an accurate count – and any count is most likely an underestimation. And most people don’t know or care]

My memories of that day are perhaps just a wee bit jaded, and I don’t consider myself an opinionated expert, I just think there should be less killing. In general. It’s helping nothing.

1 comment:

  1. I was 23, working in Alexandria, VA, about 1.5km from the pentagon. We were busy watching footage of the towers - no one could speak, everything was silent, and then there was this huge muffled thud, and the ground shook and shifted. A couple of minutes later we we told that DC was being bombed, to get under our desks, get to the basement. No one knew what was really happening. I remember the smoke - such a strange smell, lingered for days. Mostly I remember that people were so quiet, for so long, like everyone was some kind of zombie. I'm trying to imagine watching that at school, in the sit I guess, and I can't. That seems more surreal than actually being there. A sunny HB morning and waking up to that.