Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category

14 years on

September 11, 2015

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Evil exists in the world, but how much more good. We will never forget.

reflecting absence forever present

September 11, 2012

Ten Years On, To Forget About That Thing Called World

September 11, 2011

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‘To look life in the face, always to look life in the face. To love it, for what it is, and then to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us. Always the years, always the love, always the hours.’

– Virginia Woolf, in ‘The Hours’ (2002)

The (Obligatory) 9/11 Post

September 11, 2010

I’m not surprised I’ve become a victim of abandonedblogotitis. In any case, I still feel the need to perform the annual 9/11 reflection, which has been marred this year by threats to burn the holy book, protests about the location of Park 51, and a regrettable sense that some demons haven’t really been exorcised in 9 years, just swept quietly the carpet.

The day began in a nondescript fashion – woke up, met M for lunch and passed her her birthday present, then walked around in IMM to do a bit of shopping. Going down for MAF later – hope to meet some of my ex-charges and shoot the breeze. Have tons of marking to clear, but somehow don’t want to get started. Purchased “Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11” by Bonnie McEneaney from Amazon, which will not arrive in time for the anniversary, but truth be told, I haven’t really been keeping up with 9/11 too.

Maybe letting go is a good thing after all.

“Eight Septembers have come and gone”

September 12, 2009

“Nearly 3,000 days have passed – almost one for each of those taken from us. But no turning of the seasons can diminish the pain and the loss of that day. No passage of time and no dark skies can ever dull the meaning of this moment. So on this solemn day, at this sacred hour, once more we pause. Once more we pray – as a nation and as a people; in city streets where our two towers were turned to ashes and dust; in a quiet field where a plane fell from the sky; and here, where a single stone of this building is still blackened by the fires.”

President Barack Obama, September 11, 2009

Eighth Anniversary

September 11, 2009

In a year where the theme has been about educating those who were spared from witnessing the event, I thought i’d try something different – a photo essay capturing the main snippets of my day.

1100 hrs. Reservoir under overcast skies. The calm before the storm.

1230 to 1545. Reunions in the shadow of the Tower. Renewed friendships with a glaze of the latest gossip, over cups of steaming java.

2120 hrs. On Top of The World, or so they tell you. Two oceans away, names are recited, carried away by the wind. 2752 souls rededicated.

2311 hrs. A fortituous iPhone screenshot, going home to the safety of home and hearth.

“And then we fucked up the endgame”

November 16, 2008

charlie wilson's war

This is one time when it’s better to read the book before watching the movie.  Crile’s gripping account of how Charlie Wilson came to champion the Afghan cause and then proceed to escalate and bankroll the CIA’s secret war against the Soviets in Afghanistan is absorbing and I found it very difficult to put the book down.  More significantly, he gives us an important glimpse of how power operates in the world of kings, generals, bureaucrats and legislators, and one cannot help but wonder how truly ironic and ugly the “democratic process” in America really is.  What was kinda disappointing was the way Joanne Herring and Gust Avrakotos suddenly disappeared towards the end of the narrative, with Avrakotos’ increasing unimportance rendered with an understated tragic irony.  This detailed account of what was later to become blowback with a vengeance is a highly-recommended read.

Objects and Memory

September 11, 2008

Am up to my ears in marking but I thought I should take some time out to pen something, on this, the 7th anniversary.  As each year passes, we will undoubtedly find new things to say, new ways to commemorate, new ways to listen to the voices of the 3000.  Check out PBS’ new documentary, Objects and Memory, and find your own quiet moment today to reflect.

The gloves start to come off in second Woodward offering

December 18, 2007

plan of attack cover

The second part of Woodward’s trilogy tells a familiar story – the twists and turns, the musings and deliberations, planning and more planning, in the run up to the Iraq War of 2003. When reviewing Bush at War, I wrote that Woodward seemed to be hedging on whether Dubya and the neocons were just crazy warmongers thinking that regime change would be uncomplicatedly and easily achieved and, what’s more, welcomed.  Though he tries to keep to the same objective tone in Plan of Attack, in his authorial comments and subtle asides there is a growing unease – if not outright criticism – that the case for war was, not quite made all the way through 2002 and up to 19 March 2003. Maybe Woodward feels that going for the jugular would be downright unpatriotic given that Americans are – still – dying to defend “freedom”, but one senses that he can no longer in good conscience keep holding back the punches. Now all that remains is for me to find out whether State of Denial delivers the killer knockout blow.

Two hours that shook the world, not broke it

December 14, 2007

two hours that shook the world cover

The trouble about reading material on 9/11 published immediately after 9/11 is the danger of encountering an uncomplicatedly over-optimistic or pessimistic picture of things to come, due to a lack of analytical and perspectival distance from the events.  An example would be some of the essays in The Age of Terror: America and the World After September 11, co-edited by Strobe Talbott and Nayan Chanda, which, in their naive expectation of a measured US response post-9/11, is almost painful to read, considering what we now know to be the case.

In light of this, it was refreshing to find that Fred Halliday is surprisingly very conscious not to fall into the oversimplification trap in his book. In his chapters discussing the post-Cold War and post-9/11 international environment, globalisation or notions of ‘Islam’ versus the ‘West’, he casts suspicion on those who would make the claim of history to support what are to him merely modernist and in fact political rather than religious concerns.  For a book written so soon after 9/11, he wisely takes issue with those who initially espoused the inevitability of Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’ argument. Halliday makes a persuasive case to show that 9/11 changed certain things, but in some very important ways, the world proceeds apace. Indeed, for him, it is time the world vigorously addressed calls for increasing political, economic and cultural equity around the world, to counter the dark effects of a globalised world.