Bin Ladin, NYC, Twins, WTC, Taliban

Article published on March 31, 2002
Article published on March 31, 2002

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

I think it is unnecessary to explain the date 11.9.2001. Everybody knows

I think it is unnecessary to explain the date 11.9.2001. Everybody knows.

I can think of just one terrorist act which had bigger consequences and resulted in a larger number of victims the assassination of Ferdinand dEste in 1914. This terrorist act was the last of many much more substantive causes of the first World War, during which millions were killed.

Gavrilo Princip didnt want to cause such a big disaster. Who knows whether the terrorists in those planes realised the possible consequences?

I, like almost everyone, received a lot of sms-texts and e-mails referring to this attack during the days following. These texts and pictures showed how people cope with such an act, how seriously they take it. And the word seriously has two meanings.

For example, The day after, my cousin sent me an sms-text: Advertisement: Im selling some office rooms in the World Trade Centre. PS: Something stormed me to it!

For some this is funny, for some not, the rest without meaning? It was the first message of this type I have ever encountered, others followed very quickly. Most of them were pictures mostly with some suitable description. Some of them are represented here.

Another joke was to type two letters NY in MS Word, make them as big as possible and change the format of them to Windings then you can see two symbols: Davids star and a skull and crossbones. The first question appears obvious: Who invented the font Windings? And then other questions pose themselves, such as: Where have the terrorists not yet infiltrated? Could even Bill Gates be one of them?

I dont want to persuade anyone about anything. We can read lots of articles commenting these events from different views.

Internet, e-mails, sms texts are the modern way of telling it privately or more publicly. The common feature of all of them is that the authors are very anonymous - as the terrorists were before they crashed into the buildings. Also now, these anonymous messengers show their readiness to create funny stories as they would like to become the authors of popular myths.

Any news, no matter how serious, can become a playground for many people to show how they are brave, active, amusing, sarcastic, anti-globalisation, anti-American, pro-democratic, anti-Islam . . . as you can see in these pictures.

The authors simply tell us I disagree, I agree or they are somehow neutral. Anyway, each of them proves to us that he/she knows what happened and that they have also been affected in some way.

The authors of pictures and other types of jokes also show their powerlessness to change anything anyway. They can only struggle with their own fears this way.

Even I could say something, this time not so anonymous: Wasnt it rather Double Impact (the J. C. van Damme movie)?

I would like to assure those who think that I am trying to propagate any of these opinions that they are wrong. The goal of this article is to look in the mirror of our own societies, and how we are coping with the disaster. We realise a lot about it but the anonymity gives even us the possibility to show the darker side of liberal, democratic, peaceful societies as we tend to call ourselves. I have to quote one very truthful line of a Shakespeare play: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (Of course, it is not just a question of Denmark I hope everybody understands).

Lets look at it from the viewpoint of a citizen of the Czech Republic, for example. I live in Prague in South Town, which is a quarter of the town made up of blocks of flats, housing about 85,000 people. It was built in the communist era. We also have something like the Twin Towers in the middle of this part of Prague. I think that none of my neighbours could imagine that anyone would ever attack them. However, the irony of destiny is that there is a seat of the Tax Office in this part of Prague. Would someone of the South Town people support an attack just because he/she didnt want to pay taxes or because it is an ugly building or because it is a symbol of state oppression?

Again it is funny, again sad, again unimaginable as was the idea of attacking those buildings in Manhattan before it really happened.

Have you got such Twins near your home? Can you imagine they would be attacked as those in New York?