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  Weekly Feature: (September 8, 2002)


September 11: A Personal View
Brad's Weekly Feature

The photograph told the story better than any I had seen. No, it was not of planes, or of buildings falling to the ground; instead, it was of a group of journalists, usually the hard-bitten ones in any culture, gathered around a single television at the Toronto Film Festival on the morning of September 11, 2001. The story was told in their faces, in the arms they held protectively across their chests, in the defeated slope of their shoulders.

For me, the morning passed as surreally as it did for many, I suppose. I didn’t stay watching the TV all day, however, having had enough by about 10 o’clock and thus retreating, under the brilliant blue September sky in Vancouver that day, to my hammock. There, I thought about everything I had seen and what I imagined might happen next. My biggest worry, in the intervening weeks, did not exactly come true. The USA had not lashed out blindly, had indeed waited a month before attacking the Taliban.

But the loss of rights, the stifling of dissent, the xenophobia I predicted has come to pass. And the inconvenience of the increased security, too, while not in the least allaying my fears (not with stories of a 20 percent “success” rate of undercover police in smuggling knives and small guns through airports).

What the day taught me most is the need to stay well informed, especially in the face of conflicting reports, the intentional spreading of mis (or dis) information, the relentless propaganda on all sides. I read recently at that US officials have not mentioned Osama Bin Laden’s name since March of this year. Once the man with a price on his head, he has been replaced by Saddam Hussein as the evil man of the hour. But is Bin Laden dead? No one knows, it seems.

For those of you who wish to read a bit beyond local news (and I sincerely hope you do read widely and do not rely solely on TV and radio for information) here are a few suggestions for the Web.

First, try a site recommended in a William Safire column from The New York Times: Edward Jay Epstein Herein you will find excellent, and interesting, articles on all aspects of the attacks and their aftermath. Be prepared to be disturbed, however, since some of the information is at odds with published reports of the attacks, or has not been explored in detail in other media.

Another site, though with much premium content that requires payment is at Salon Index on September 11 Here, for example, you can read about the effects of the attacks on Arab-Americans (for free) and many other articles about all aspects of the unprecedented events of the 11th of September.

Finally, check out the articles at Znet, particularly some of those written by Noam Chomsky, author of the best selling book on September 11, 9-11


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