Septembre 11th, 2006
My disgust with betablogger has caused me to become somewhat reticent about posting. However, work has gone into this blog and my blogging friends are all on blogger, so...
Septembre 11. I don't have much to say aside from the fact that I have been avoiding anything that looks like pro-War on Terrorism propaganda. Funny, I remember the actual event fairly clearly so I guess it is one of those defining moments of our society.
I was living in Montreal at the time, working a crap job but living extremely well. I had just received notice the night before that my paternal Grandmother had died of undiagnosed lung cancer. My Father had made arrangements for me to fly into Edmonton on the evening of 13th for the funeral. I had planned to leave on the 14th for New York City for a week, staying in areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as the people I was travelling with had friends down there. That would have been my first time in NYC.
At 9:10 am I woke up five minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I didn't feel like listening to the radio or flipping on the television that morning. I had a cup of coffe, ate a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt and two, day old croissants. I left my flat by 9:35 am and set off for the Jean Talon Metro station. There were a lot of people on the street and all hussling along at a good pace.
Once on the Metro line heading to Place des Arts I noticed that a lot of people seemed to be on the Metro heading in the other direction - not something you expect to see on a Tuesday morning. I walked up the street to the building where I worked, which is kitty-corner to Notre Dame Cathedral. When I got upstairs the receptionist was going saying, "Isn't it horrible?", "My God, I can't believe it". I had no idea what she was on about so she turned the television she had been watching around and I saw the footage of the two smoking towers.
I forgot my Grandmother for the next bit and stared at the television. My boss, Sergio, came out and emphatically asked what was I doing at work so early. The point was moot. Americans were an essential component to the job and there was no way in hell we would be up and running for the next week or so. People were fleeing from the downtown core of Montreal, afraid we were next. I never believed that. Toronto or Ottawa sure, but who would even think about Montreal aside from some pro-Western Canada whack job?
I couldn't go to the funeral, obviously, neither could my cousins in Ontario and New Brunswick. They had to use a freezer truck to haul my grandmother's body from Vancouver up top Edmonton so she could be buried along side my Grandfather. That day people just sort of wandered around stunned. Around 8 pm I wandered down to Bifteck (a bar and not a steakhouse as the name implies) to meet up with friends. There was no music on at first, just CNN. The conversation was minimal and soft. People sat in disbelief, slowing drinking their pints. Quite a few people had friends or family working in or around the Trade Towers. Karen was one. One of her Dad's oldest friends had worked in there. Latter in the week she found out he was dead. There was a lot of embracing going on. I had been embraced by a crying women I didn't really even know in a meaningful way on route to Bifteck.
I recall Bush trying to pass it off on Iraq even then, something the commentators on CNN had dismissed right off. Two days later there would shots of white trash folks with signs reading "Nuke Iraq" and "Get Saddam". It was cheap. The War on Terror is cheap, and it makes a mockery of all those deaths. It was the clinch for America: would it stand up for civilization and the precepts of the civil society or would it match the barbarians with more barbarism? The latter, I think, is true.