Monday, September 11, 2006

i want to go to bed...

Don't anybody blog on Tuesday, I haven't finished reading them today! *pout*

I should not be writing this, I wanna go beddy bye.

But, many of you have talked about 9/11 so I ought to acknowledge at least one event on my blog without inviting a political debate, although I did have an interesting thought while I was washing my face this morning.

America will never be like England.

America does not have an inferiority complex. It is not a nation formed out of repeated invasion;. Rather, it is a nation formed of repeated independence from colonial powers by political, religious, and social pioneers. It has won independence from England, France, Spain, and then Mexico, in parts even Germany.

It was founded on a group that desired freedom - however much that Puritanical mindset still informs the average American citizen...what is, is.

It is founded on the the pursuit of one's dreams and the definite belief that they can be fulfilled.

It WON independence from an imperial colonial power. It was founded on the fundamentals of democracy, the first one since Athens.

It is populated by people descended from tough pioneers who spent hundreds of years forging through untamed wilderness and creating civilisation in the middle of nowhere.

Stop turning up your nose at it for having "no history" - what is a 16th century town, if not historical?

Stop expecting Americans to suddenly become Europeans.

America will never be England, and yet, Americans love you Brits so much despite your sneering and condescension, so give them a chance...

**********

My recollection of 9/11.

I was in bed at my university, in Houston. It was about 7am and both my roommate and I were asleep. The phone rang, Vanessa picked it up and answered. She was confused and handed it up to me on the top bunk with the words, "It's your mom, she says turn on the TV."

I turn on the TV in time to see the second plane hit. From then on the day is a blur.

Classes are cancelled and wherever on campus or in the residence halls that there is a TV, it is on with a crowd gathered round. By lunchtime, the place is half empty. Houston has been designated a serious target with its oil reserves, and most of the local students have gone home to be with their families.

Dad calls me and says I should fill up my car before the gas stations get stampeded and run dry. I only have to wait for about 3 cars, but later the situation intensifies.

Other than that, things calm down relatively quickly as the rest of the nation focuses on New York City. One diversion is the Air National Guard planes that make regular sweeps over the skies of Houston and its outlying areas.

I do not remember if I went home, which is odd. The rest of the week on campus, we are rather subdued. We held a memorial service at the Chapel of St Basil. And all of us grew up a little bit. The whole world left yet another era of "innocence" behind.

***

Later on, we find out that three, yes three of my cousins were in the area at the time. Ironically, my cousin Sabrina who was a bank manager in the tower at the time of the 1993 bombing, left her job afterwards and moved to another bank down the road so she was certainly on hand to witness the next bombing.

My cousin Ryan, happened to be visiting one of the towers that day but was on the ground or first floors and so he got out extra quick.

But my cousin Marlon was on the 80-somethingth floor of the second tower, and disregarding everything everyone said about staying put, he grabbed his secretary's hand and immediately headed downwards. He urged his colleagues to do the same, but the time they spent gathering their belongings and being indecisive, meant that he never saw them again and lived with survivor's guilt and debilitating depression for about two years afterwards.

Amazing.

**********

18 comments:

Jia Li said...

oh libby! About your family, its scary...I will not vlog, I just read two chapters on Graphic design and did an essay...I have to read about Paper Post press soon...maybe tomorrow I will get some good St John Shots and make a vid to relax.

I am such a nerd...I heart vid making!

Roxandra said...

Wow that is amazing. Lucky family members.
I remember thinking that this was the end of life as we knew it and the start of the WWIII. I couldnt believe my eyes and the images still shock me to the core.
But uhm about the democracy thing... what about Switzerland eh eh? Hmm hmm? ;oP

alésbica said...

Well, I almost spent the whole day not writing or pondering over the 9/11 tragedy (the time is 11:40pm here). As you know, I am not pro-USican at all...but being born and raised here, I am afraid of adjusting to another country (hopefully, I will gain the courage after graduation...I plan on applying to universities outside of the U.S.). Anyway, you already know that my mother was only 5 blocks from the towers, so i wont go into that story. I cant believe you had three cousins so close to the towers. I guess I never felt true sadness or remorse for the destruction of the towers and the pentagon, b/c I constantly think of the negatives about this country...and there are many...not just b/c of my ethnicity, but b/c of other subjective, as well as objective reasons that I will not divulge here. Dont get me wrong, though...I do feel true remorse for the families who lost loved ones due to this tragic event just as I feel the same remorse for families affected by Hurricane Katrina, etc. Let's just say that although this incident did humble the pompous attitudes of many US residents, it did not last very long...*sigh*

On a lighter note, I totally forgot that you graduated from UST a year after I did...

MattJ said...

'Ello! I deliberately don't blog about Sep 11th because of how the event has been used and abused since. I do recall being on a weekend break in Dublin and walking into a bar just in time to see the second plane hit, it was a terrible to watch.

Suffice to say we disagree on how Britain was formed, our illusory inferiority complex and how America was formed lol! But I think I have made my feelings clear on that one before!

Rebecca said...

Yup, you forget Switzerland. It didn't have a constitution until the 19th century, granted, but it was founded as a democratic assembly of territories, and from the highest to the most miniscule level, all was decided through popular vote. There was never a single ruler, as power was always distributed in order to avoid power wars. First proper democracy since Athens, indeed perfecting the Athenian model!

Prerona said...

i was at the club and saw a lady standing at the poolside bar ... a plane flew low-ish overhead and she just ducked, sudden fear on her face ... i guess it will take years before people will get over the shock and fear ...

my cousin worked in the building. he caught a buig and didnt go to work that day. he had something imp to do and almost changed his mind even got dressed ... but decided at the last min that he felt too ill ... thank god

tooners said...

oh wow olivia... three of your cousins were right there! how scary. i can't imagine your one cousin on the 80th floor and what that must have felt like for him. does he still work there - in NY? how is his life now?

9/11 is still so difficult - for me at least. i tried watching united 93 the other night and couldn't. we started the movie and then i just told the hubby to turn it off... i wasn't in the mood to see it all over again.

i haven't posted about 9/11 but think i might.

Anonymous said...

bubble,

That thing about America is such rubbish I am shocked you published it.

Repeated invasion? Last sucessful invastion of what we now call "Great Britain" - 1066.

Repeated independence from colonial powers. Please. If you want to be accurate, it's a nation founded on genocide, like so many others. Who had it first - the native Americans.

Read the constitution, it's not a democratic document in the Athenian sense. It's profoundly anti-democratic - each pillar of government (executive, legistlative and judiciary) acts as a check and balance to each other, such that the freely expressed democratic will of the people cannot be exercised at the time it's expressed. Read the Federalist papers, or de Tocqueville. If you disagree, actually re-read exactly what I wrote there.

Desired freedom? SLAVERY? Fourty acres and a mule. Come on. This is not you. You know better than this tosh. And the text displays serveral examples of misused commas so I think it's a cut and paste.

MattJ said...

Okaaayy! To be fair the passage did wind me up a little, I do feel it is highly inaccurate but I think suggesting that she cut 'n' paste from somewhere is more than a little harsh. I think you'll find that the midnight timestamp has more to do with any grammatical inaacuracy. In fact, I know this to be true as Liv has posted this opinion somewhere else in different words.
**********************************
For my own opinion on this - as this can of worms has been opened -

1) Repeated Invasion - I'm afraid our anonymous friend is correct, go back a thousand years and find me a country that hasn't had sevral invasions! We haven't been 'conquered' since then, you can tell because we still have basically the same bizare legal system we were using in Edward the Longshanks time

2) Political, religious and social pioneers. Slavery, persecution and genocide.

3) It was founded by people fleeing persecution, who ended up persecuting everyone else.

5)It WON independence from colonial power through the strength of French colonial power.

6)I don't turn my nose up at Americans for having "no history", those I have met seem very pleasant and nice people. I turn my nose up at the country because it has spent most of it's time espousing lofty and worthy ideals while doing somehting completely different. And does no one find it interesting how the office of president is held in such high esteem that no matter how bad a leader they have, the incumbent ALWAYS wins? (bar one time I believe), it's almost a Caesar-like reverence.....

**************************************

But that's my interpretation of the facts, Liv has hers (I think you'll find from my profile that i am always right though! hehe) - to which she is entitled, there's no need for personal attacks.

Rebecca said...

HA HA HA, that anonymous post is hilarious. You're funny.

Poor Liv - she wanted to take a moment to talk about what she admires about a country, but when you're talking about the US that's just not allowed.
Like mattj says: every country has had it's less than honourable past. It's called contextualisation and the point is we have moved beyond it. You say slave trade, I say civil rights movement. Tribes in Africa still pratice hierarchies of female inferiority, tribal racism againts other tribes from different descendants or language groups.
ANYONE can find some evil ANYWHERE.

Brava Olivia: America was hit on 9/11 precidely because it is everything you say. The people that made it (ok: not perfect) were brave and strong and did something amazing. Hmm, they were mainly Europeans of course. SO does that mean... that Europeans are the horrible racist jerks that killed the Indians? ANd what about all the Indians that killed other Indians? Ah yes... entire tribes were ALSO wiped out by OTHER TRIBES.
Gee, this could go on...

Oh and thank GOD that rule didn't apply to Jimmy Carter, eh?

MattJ said...
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MattJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MattJ said...

Those two deletes are from me, I went on a long rant about stuff that is inappropriate! I am going to have a brief answer to rebecca's post then stop hijacking this thread! lol.

It's fine finding good things about the US that you admire, and I think the fortitude of many of it's citizens is to be admired, the problem comes when you attribute those qualities into the actions of the country, or more specifically the actions of the government.

I don't believe tat the horrendous attacks had anything to do with jealousy or anything of that ilk, it was religious hatred stirred up by manipulative murderers. The excuse they will use is 'kill our civilians, we kill yours' but the second you start horse trading with innocent lives you become morally bankrupt. Once you say one human is worthj more than another, you become morally bankrupt. And it's here where the US and the UK come under justified, heavy fire.

Other countries do a lot of things but if we are going to purport to be moral guardians of the world then our governments have a responsibility to act in a moral manner. Instead of supporting the world's most vicious human rights abusers.

OK, I am done. damn you mister anonymous!

Rebecca said...

I'm with you Matt. 100%.
Liv was just taking a moment to appreciate the US. We all know about Guantanamo, if she wants to focus on something else for a minute, that should be fine.
For all the US' mistakes they also do a lot of things right. SO if every time we mention a positive quality we ALSO have to mention a negative one, then I say that whenever we mention a negative quality we ALSO mention a positive one. And then we'll be here forever and we will be bored.

So you and I actually agree. Anonymous needs a chamomile tea and a good massage.

And Liv - preach on.

Leilouta said...

Rebecca,

Anonymous needs more that just tea and messages...
aaah...I am just going to keep my mouth shut :)

Olivia said...

Jia Li - vlogging is so you!

***

Memoria - move over here - after you get over the USican excitement over living in England, you'll have a field day with the negatives.

It's like my old old uncles who used to complain about living in Canada. My Mum used to want to yell, "Why'd you leave Guyana then?"

Graduated a year later? Did I? I thought Psi Chi was my last year - and you were the blimming secretary! Am I nuts?

***

Rebecca and Rox - I always forget about Switzerland, don't I? Hehe, got to be careful around you two!

***

Prerona - a bit redundant for me to say, but boy was your cousin one of the lucky ones!

***

Tooners - yes, he still works in NYC as does his brother. The other cousin, daughter of another aunt, has moved to Florida with her parents...and can't get a job at any of the banks coz she is overqualified...huh???

***

Anonanon - I am very, very miffed with you. I've seen you be angelically wonderful, so what is this?

You wouldn't like it if I pointed out the 5 spelling and punctuation errors in your comment, would you?

No, this is not you either and I expected better too.

***

Matt - posted it elsewhere have I? At least I can be called consistent, then :)

2) Political, religious and social pioneers. Slavery, persecution and genocide.

-- Africa, Indja, the West Indies...

***

Rebecca - well said, my dear, and fresh perspectives too.
Interesting how quick the English are to disown their descendants.

Indeed we tend to forget that until the colonists came along, indigenous tribes all over the world went around killing each other, and then look at the Hutus and Tutsis only 10 years ago in Rwanda.

And they're all the same colour, one just has bigger feet or something ;) I exaggerate, but you know...

***

Matt - cor, you just kept going didnt' you? As I said, I was seeking reasons behind the American psyche.

The thing is, though, that we Westerners no longer carry out systematic genocide against innocent citizens, or ethnic cleansing - as has happened in Iraq with the Khurds, Fmr Yugoslavia with the (was it Bosnia with the .. who?...), or even China with it's so called People's Revolution, and so on and so on

Civilian casualties today are what they call collateral damage right? NO CAN OF WORMS, again I can't cover every aspect of this like renegade commanders and the like.

Ohnly the other day I was talkinga bout how victory was won by expendable men walking into the line of fire, shooting at each other until one was left standing or whatever. This is not Hollywood, where conflicts are resolved in a set time and battles are precise.

***

Girls - chamomile tea and a massage....oh if only you knew....

Olivia said...

cripes, I missed out the Holocaust...

MattJ said...

Yeah I think we talked about it ver Lunar's way Liv.

"in Iraq with the Khurds". yeah but they were good Kurds. The Kurds massacred at Hassake in Turkey were bad Kurds - you know, cos Turkey is in NATO. Andthey let the US use their airspace. And give the UK lots of nice construction contracts - That's what I am talking about really, which is why I bang on so much, we don't engage in genocide anymore, our governments just facilitate it. Indonesia has wiped out a quarter of the population of East Timor since 1975, they could only achieve this through the use of Hawk Jets, Saladin and Saracen Tanks and Howitzers. All made in Britain and subsidised by the Export Credit Guarantee department (thats the government agency that underwites defence contracts from BAE with Tax Payers money).

OK! I'm sorry! I am going to stop now, I will not raise East Timor or Hassake again as long as you all promise to go look up 2 words for me! - Ilisu Dam.


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