20090911

They did it

I just tuned in to my news provider and I'm reading the 6th title or so when a new line appears higher on my computer screen.

They did it

I don't remember the exact title (probably "a plane hits a WTC tower in NYC"), but as soon as I read it I think "this time they did it".

As I click on the link, two images cross my mind : the 1993 attack on the WTC, the failed 1994 attempt to crash an hijacked plane on the Eiffel Tower.

The web is very slow, giving me time to shape images of the tragedy in my mind. From the ground, without looking up. I imagine the first devastated floors of a building, mixing snapshots from previous attacks (Oklahoma City, US embassies) with my memory of the Word Trade Center, with a more claustrophobic feeling, and darkness (more fire, denser surroundings)... Death, but without any human being, dead or alive, in the picture.

The first actual image I get is distant : black smoke rising over lower Manhattan. No details given in the short article, beyond the shock and awe. Similar results on other sites.

I'm not shocked. I'm not awed. Not even surprised. But at the same time sad and angry, empty and very tense, willing to interact with a human being. I spring out of my office and tell colleagues about the attack. I send a few mails, even joking in one (isn't humor all about coping with death ?).

All this takes less than 10 minutes : I have to keep going for a busy day in a busy office tower. And I've got this stupidly important presentation to perform later this afternoon.

A quick peek at news websites every now and then to keep up to date - but the cold brain is still running the show, speculating, and preventing the heart from taking over.

The said "important" meeting will be interrupted by an alert : the tower must be evacuated (we're in France's only high rise area). Masks off.

On the way back home, the cold brain is playing a new movie and this time it features actors. And it's not a silent movie.

I won't see the images of the collapse until I'm back home. Alone in front of a screen much bigger than reality in my memory. That evening, I don't know how many times I zapped to watch again and again the collapse. Like a titanic stake driven into a best friend's heart, pulling the shirt and streets around in a silent scream.

But revulsion and anger peaked later,
when the man supposed to fix things uttered the word "crusade".

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