A reflection, so as not to forget the event that twenty years ago radically changed the world and whose consequences are still being felt today.
Genny Di Bert, RUFA lecturer of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts, in September 2001 was living in New York for professional reasons and was witness to the attack on the Twin Towers. In particular, she was in the Big Apple to work as an art critic and at the same time collaborated with several newspapers.
«I think it is useful to repropose the first of a series of reports that I did at that time, in order not to forget that tragic event, to pay homage to the thousands of victims who remain well impressed in our memory and, at the same time, to demonstrate how society is able, even though it often pays a high price, to overcome obstacles, even those that at the moment may seem insurmountable.
THE DAY and THE DAY AFTER – (New York, September 11-12, 2001)
“It is impressive to live in New York at this time, accustomed to walking through heavy traffic, observing the many colourful shop windows of open businesses and hearing the sounds of the crowded streets, one finds oneself immersed in a different city: few cars, shops, offices and schools closed, most New Yorkers at home (in accordance with Mayor Giuliani’s request), telephone lines periodically interrupted, police patrols spread throughout the city.
Even more implausible is the part of Manhattan affected by yesterday’s disaster. Crossing Broadway, images of ‘made in USA entertainment’ are superimposed on the smoke caused by the explosions and the collapses, ambulance and police sirens can be heard while one reads that the evening shows have been cancelled. In this atmosphere one ‘breathes’ the air of defeat on the part of a state confident of its safety. People walk along the empty boulevards, curious and worried. Some ‘burger’ sellers, located along the streets, listen loudly to the radio, which broadcasts the latest news live. There are no vehicles on the road, but the entrepreneurial ingenuity of some makes it possible to make short trips in an original small buggy driven by a bicycle. If, on the other hand, you try to take a taxi, a few, the fare for circulating in areas adjacent to the area of the collapses is higher (about 40 dollars). The quadrangle where the two Towers stood, five years to build and 90 minutes to destroy them, is a stratification of debris, the smoke continues to spread throughout the surrounding area. There are certainly many people under the rubble, perhaps a few survivors.
The number of victims has not yet been estimated, the only certainty is that there will be many and, as Rudolph Giuliani said at a recent press conference, ‘Any figure will be higher than you could imagine’. Not even the hospitals are releasing lists of the number and nationalities of those admitted, stating that their job is first and foremost to provide assistance before requesting documents. It is certain that there will be thousands of victims and that, fortunately, when building no.7 of the World Financial Center collapsed around 7 o’clock last night, the area had already been evacuated in the morning (50,000 people worked in the Center).
There is talk of a ‘second Pearl Harbour’ in which yesterday’s attacks on the World Trade Center towers (the first an American Airlines 747 from Boston bound for Los Angeles and the second, by the same airline, United 175 from Boston) killed a large number of people. A horrible explosion. A surreal situation. Osama bin Laden (with reference to a telephone interception by the U.S.) is one of the suspects behind the kamikaze that destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, which in these hours are being further evacuated because of the danger of new collapses.
George W. Bush has confirmed direct action against those responsible, although there is still no definitive news. President Bush has also promised that he will find out who the guilty ones are, for the good of America, and has found support in this statement also from the opposition: all united, even politicians like Freddy Ferrer and Al Sharpton in New York or Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt in Washington, in a new wave of deep patriotism.
What is certainly on the horizon is a new world in which the way of life of Americans will no longer be the same. American politics will change. The changes are already taking place and with them the realisation that even the secret services can be overridden.”
Genny Di Bert