This weekend marked the Sept 9/11 attack anniversary. When the twin towers fell, I was oceans away from US soil, but I still remember that day well. After all I watched the towers fall LIVE in Harare, Zimbabwe. I was 13 years old and had probably just come off the phone from a fascinating conversation regarding my BFF’s (Best friends forever) newest crush. Bored, I strolled into the lounge to see what my sisters were up to. “Oh they are just watching TV with daddy again,” I thought, “It must be some interesting action movie.” The people in the TV all spoke with dramatic heightened voices.
I left the lounge and completed some chores. Later I returned to join the other family members. To my surprise, they were all still watching the movie. ” Curious I asked, “What is this movie? Why is it still playing after all this time? What is it about?”
“It’s not a movie Tanda.” My older sister said, “It’s real. This is the news.”
I sat down and watched the second tower disappearing behind a grand cloud of smoke.
Almost a decade later, I am in the same state in which the attack occurred. Even though I personally don’t know anyone who lost someone in the attack, I have learnt to empathize more. This is as a result of all the history and politics I have learnt from the time I was 13 to now. The picture above was taken on my first visit to NYC in 2008 near Ground Zero.
As I walked past the St. Lawrence University Quad last weekend and saw the hundreds of US flags arranged in that space, I stopped to take a picture. I said a short prayer for survivors and families that were directly affected and went on to do what I had to do that day.
What more could I have done?
Attacks have happened elsewhere, and will continue to happen all over the world until one day the globe stops spinning. Human beings will continue abuse and manipulate each-other, thus leading to irrational wars. The world is indeed a broken place.
After the attacks, many Zimbabweans used the event to market their products. This was not politically driven, it was capitalist driven. The average Joe in Zimbabwe had too many of his own problems to worry about how the US “War on Terror” was starting. Ask anyone from Harare, and they will tell you about the Twin Tower chains, Bin Laden T-shirts or World Trade Center internet cafe. It’s bizarre I know. But it is what it is.