Thursday, September 11, 2008
Where Were You 7 Years Ago...
I don't know...something just hit me and told me to make this post.
When I logged onto IM this morning, I saw that alot of my folks from NYC had various references to the September 11th attacks as their IM message. The one that stuck out the most was probably the most simple one. My dude BDot had one that said "Seven years later, damn." Really, seven years later, I think that's the most any of us can say...damn.
It made me think of what I was doing 7 years ago. What I was doing when I heard the horrible news. If I'd grew as a person since then. If I felt any safer since then. If I operated with a greater appreciation for human life since then.
Seven years ago I was in my 3rd year at Fort Valley State (can't quite call it my Junior year, ya'll 5-year graduates know what I'm talking about). I was actually in my photography class, in the dark room, stressing that I couldn't get my pictures to develop right. Other than that, I think that I was having a decent day, but those damn pictures had me pissed.
Then, the secretary for the building ran down and opened the door, letting all the light from the hallway in. So at this point my pictures were really fucked up then. Thanks alot Ms. Rice. In the back of my head I was thinking, whatever she has to say BETTER be GOOD. She was a sweet older lady who had a reputation of talking your ear off, bless her heart.
She had told us that "some fool done flew his plane into the World Trade Center." At this point I was thinking it was one of those small propeller planes that hold two people. So we all ran upstairs to see what was going on the news. Then right as I was walking into the office where the TV was, I saw the huddle around the TV jump back in horror. By the time I got my eyes to the screen I saw two smoking towers. Damn, two muthafuckas done flew into the towers? Of course, I didn't say that out loud, but I know I wasn't the only person thinking that. I mean really, at that point in time terrorists, Bin Laden and all that shit were the farthest things from our minds.
But then the news started reporting that those were actually commercial flights with people on board. Terrible. Then I thought about the people inside. How many were there? It was morning time, hopefully nobody came to work yet.
Again, by now, I still don't think any of us really knew what was going on. But then, the news started name dropping Bin Laden and the terrorists. Then they all of a sudden started showing video of people in the Middle East (I can't remember the country) dancing in the streets. To this day, who knows where that footage came from. How did they get to it so fast? I mean, here I am, in America still not knowing exactly what's going on, but CNN already got footage of people "celebrating" the attacks way on the otherside of the world? I mean shit, there were probably folks in Los Angeles sleeping in that morning that still didn't know. But folks in the Middle East do?
After staring at the screen in awe and horror for a while, sadly, we had to keep it moving. I don't think anything got cancelled that day, including class. The first class I went to after all of this was my TV Production class. We spent the whole hour talking about what just happened. My teacher, Mr. Yorke was from Ghana and had a bunch of conspiracy theories already. But the thing that he said that stuck out the most was that he felt that in order for America to ensure their own safety and protect us from more attacks was to give up some of our freedoms. And I'll be damned if that's not what's happened over the years, except I think we've had them taken away more that given away. And we've definitely lost some privacy along the way.
The next class I went to was my Economics class taught by Dr. Yasin who was from Kuwait. When we were walking in class, I could tell from the look on his face he was bothered, deeply. So instead of sweating us about homework and the upcoming quiz, he dedicated the hour to telling us about the Bin Laden family and stressing that not all Middle Easterners were terrorists, himself included. The information I got from him in that 55-minute class pretty much shaped how I looked at things from that point on. He probably had the most truthful, fact-based account of things I've heard since then. And I trust it because he is from that area, unlike the Wolf Blitzer's and Sean Hannity's of the world.
Later that day when I was going to lunch I saw Dr. Yasin again. He was out talking to my favorite teacher at the time, Dr. Satawri, who is from Jordan. I overheard them talking about how they was worried that their fellow staff and students were going to ostracize them because of the actions of others. I kinda felt bad for them. Both of them had reputations for being certain kinds of teachers, but this was the first time I saw them as real people. And it got me thinking, that yeah, it is unfair to try and paint everybody from the Middle East with the "terrorist" brush. Not that I ever did before.
Even though I wasn't in NYC that day and didn't know anyone personally (that I know of) to die in the 9/11 attacks. I still felt jolted by the whole thing. I didn't have any friends or family living in NYC at the time. The only people I knew were folks who worked at record labels who sent me stuff for the college radio station I was on. I tried calling all of them. I got through to some, others I didn't. But everybody wound up being alive and ok.
Me personally, can't bring myself to look at footage of any of that stuff man. I can barely look at the pictures. Crazy, the morning of 9/11 I was in a dark doom, mad because I couldn't get pictures to develop. And now, I can barely look at pictures of what happened that day.
If any of ya'll were effected by 9/11 and just want to share, feel free. Even if you're like me and wasn't really directly effected and feel like saying something about what you were doing when it happened, feel free.
Thanks for stopping by. God Bless.
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