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Wednesday, September 12, 2001

i feel that it's important to acknowledge the events of yesterday . . .i suppose . . .what was really fascinating to me was how it impacted this nation . . .not that it did impact the nation . . .but how . . .

i know nothing of politics. I am intelligent, well read and highly educated . . .and I do not know who bin Laden is or what he believes . . .or doesn’t believe . . .i do not know why the palestinians were dancing in the streets yesterday at the news of the crushing, burning deaths of amercian people . . .. i could not begin to guess who or what would wreak such havoc . . .a complete atrocity . . .i do not know anything about bush or powell’s view on global defense . . .i do not know what the difference between an ‘act of war’ and terrorism is. . .however, interestingly enough, in the abyss of my political ignorance . . .i believe that I learned how to feel a way yesterday that still makes no sense to me . . .but is penetratingly real . . .

how far away we are, here in san francisco, from any of the events, yet so completely, directly *there* . . .of course, many of the folks on the newark/san francisco flight were from sf . . .so - 'lots of news interviewing the families . . .running through the content of the cell 'phone calls made by someone's son and someone's husband . . .so, in a moment, i'm in the plane - in my head . . .envisioning that man on the 'phone with his mother . . .that other one on the 'phone with his wife . . .i can see what they're wearing, they're carry on luggage stowed neatly underneath the seat in front of them . . .it's quiet . . .in my mind . . .in the plane . . .and these men - together with a third . . .do something so heroic . . .so the plane doesn't take out another american icon and hundreds or thousands of people . . .but foliage in a pennsylvania forest . . .these men, to me, are heroes . . .and they should be . . .i shall believe, no matter what peter jennings says next . . .that those men saved lives . . .hundreds and hundreds of them . . .that they were selfless in a way i will never comprehend . . .can this be what yesterday was for me? do I have to understand the politics of another nation to understand that?

i talked to a friend of mine this afternoon . . . she was worried sick about her brother yesterday- on a flight from boston to australia . . .and he, in turn, was worried about his wife, who was supposed to fly from boston to chicago . . .he arrived in australia . . .the pilot of that craft explained to the passengers what had happened in the states while they were in-flight, and all they knew was two of the planes took off from boston . . .where my friend's brother lives . . .with his wife . . .who was supposed to be on that plane . . .to chicago . . .evidently he shook so violently he could barely dial the 'phone from the plane . . .he heard is wife's voice . . .minutes later . . .he cried . . .minutes after that . . .he asked, 'did both towers . . .the twin towers . . . did both towers really collapse?' the icons of a city – of a nation . . .i too cried when I saw the footage of the buildings collapsing . . .the only time I wept all day . . .because the rest of the information was just to incomprehensible . . .can this be what yesterday was for me? Do I have to understand politics of another nation to understand that?

I communicated with my family yesterday in a way I haven’t communicated in over a decade. Strings of email from my father to my mother to my sister to me. Is everyone safe? Is everyone fed and warm and sheltered? Is everyone feeling alright . . .are you nervous, feeling threatened, want to talk? I watched the email glide in and out of my inbox in the midst of dialing friends on the east coast – is everyone safe? Is everyone fed and warm and sheltered? Is everyone feeling alright . . .are you nervous feeling threatened want to talk? I haven’t heard from two acquaintances that I have done some work with . . .they live in NYC . . .i wonder today why they haven’t returned my email . . .and my calls don’t go through . . .i want to ask them if they’re okay . . .if they’re fed and warm and sheltered . . .are their families and friends, who also live in NYC, okay . . .but they don’t’ respond . . . I wonder why . . .and assume it’s because they are out giving blood or building stretchers . . . can this be what yesterday was for me? Do I have to understand politics of another nation to understand that?

I do not want to make excuses for my ignorance . . .which, when it come to matters of state – is vast . . .but I do believe I have enough insight to see a scrap of something so familiar . . .so believable . . .i saw it on television during the gulf war, the earthquake in Istanbul, bombings in London . . .it’s humanity . . . and we all have it . . .you don’t have to register to own or claim it . . .you don’t’ have to study it or read up on it, so you pass a test or sound smart at that cocktail party . . .it absolutely doesn’t matter who you are, how you affiliate or which box you tick on election day . . .it takes us beyond the small black lines on a globe . . .how, though, do we talk about this without melting the cliché meter? I’d have to spend more time on these words with regard to that, I suppose, but I think today, I’m going to be okay with affiliating with that party called goodness . . . can this be what yesterday was for me? Do I have to understand politics of another nation to understand that?

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