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by RenĂŠ Clement

“Even now, almost ten years later, I hold my breath when I see a plane disappearing behind a tall building....

Trouw

September 11, 2011


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“Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink.� Press release by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on 09/18/2001

Trouw

September 11, 2011


“On September 11th, New York City suffered the darkest day in our history. It is now up to us to make this our finest hour. The proud Twin Towers that once crowned our famous skyline -- no longer stand. But our skyline will rise again. To those who say that our city will never be the same, I say you are right. It will be better.� Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of New York City (1994 - 2001), at the Citywide Prayer Service at Yankee Stadium, 09|23|2001

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Trouw

September 11, 2011


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“We’ve shown the world that New York can never be defeated, because of its dynamic and diverse population and because it embodies the spirit of enterprise and the love of liberty.” Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, at the Republican National Convention, 08|30|2004

Trouw

September 11, 2011


“We as Americans don’t have to tolerate people who are supportive of violence against us, building something at the sight of the violence. This is not about religious liberty, they want to build that mosque in the South Bronx, frankly they need the jobs. But I am totally opposed to any effort to impose sharia on the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law.”

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, speaking about the Ground Zero mosque, at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, 09|18|2010

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“ As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.�

President Barack Obama, on the Ground Zero mosque, 09|14|2010

Trouw

September 11, 2011


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Trouw

September 11, 2011


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It's not just New York that is now living “In the Shadow of No Towers.” The same goes for most of the world

In the 10 years since those planes crashed into the towers - the first one at 8.56 am, the second one at 9.02 am - there hasn't been a day that a serious newspaper comes off the press without at least one news story originating from that event. It's not just New York that now lives "In the Shadow of No Towers" (Art Spiegelman). The same goes for most of the world. The attacks are a watershed moment; everyone over a certain age remembers where he or she was on Sept. 11th, 2001. But hardly anyone has a clear recollection of Sept. 10th. The recently elected President intended to spend a significant amount of time relaxing on his Texas ranch. Europe was preparing to adopt the Euro. China was savoring the recent honor of being chosen to host the 2008 Olympic Games. And a new web site called Wikipedia, only nine months old, had just reached the milestone of 10,000 publicly edited entries. There was no hint of what was to follow. Nothing in the newspapers on Sept. 10th, or the preceding days. We knew there was such a thing as Islamic terrorism. We also knew America was a preferred target – in 2000 the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen; the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up in 1998 and as early as 1993, a bomb exploded at the World Trade Center in New York – but it didn't seem to be an urgent problem. And it barely figured in the election rhetoric of George W. Bush and Al Gore in the prior year. With hindsight, after 9/11, analysts pointed out that with the end of the Cold War, everything was up for grabs – and Islamic extremism was one of the results. "Something happened to this world which can be dated very precisely. That is Christmas Day 1991. That was when the hammer and sickle flag was hauled down for the last time from the Kremlin," said Josef Joffe, Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University and the publisher of the German news weekly Die Zeit. Indeed, following the disappearance of the East-West divide, regional conflicts that had been frozen for many years were reactivated. And many a regional overlord saw opportunity. For example, Saddam Hussein thought he could get away with annexing Kuwait. He was clearly mistaken. George H.W. Bush assembled an international coalition and – with a nod from Moscow – chased the Iraqi troops out of the country. To keep them out, the Americans had to station a sizeable force in Saudi Arabia, much to the chagrin of pious Muslims such as Osama bin Laden, the 17th son of a Saudi building tycoon. Osama considered the land of the holy cities soiled by the presence of the jahilia, or barbarians. An outrage. In this respect, his disgust with America, Bin Laden followed the same path as the Egyptian Said Qutb, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, hanged in 1966 during the reign of President Nasser. For most Egyptians, a life first under western colonialism, then a corrupt monarchy and finally a military dictatorship, was ample reason to start hankering for a pure, liberating branch of Islam. But for Qutb, it was his personal experience with America that tipped the scales. Qutb lived in America from 1948 to 1950, long enough to conclude that “the soul has no value” for Americans. “Blind materialism and sexual depravity are rampant in the USA,” he wrote, expounding details of how the American girl "knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek

legs - and she shows all this and does not hide it.” Even in pious Greeley, Colo. he saw this in the churches. After the service there was dancing, leg was shown wherever you looked and the pastor took care of the music: "Baby, It's Cold Outside." This wasn't idle bluster. Qutb added to his low opinion of westerners, (“I hate and despise all of them, without exception. The English, the French, the Dutch and finally the Americans"), the concept of jihad: that the sovereignty of God must be established over "the whole of humankind throughout the earth," and he considered it naive to think that "preaching and exposition" could accomplish that. He felt that western barbarism was a form of idolatry that should be eradicated - and thus terrorism could be a good deed; a holy war against evil. For Osama Bin Laden, who fell under the spell of Qutb's ideas as a young man, the attacks of 9/11 were ethically worthwhile: "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it." In addition, they were incredibly effective strategically. If Al Qaeda could have killed 2,976 Americans in, say, just one year, that would certainly have been horrendous, but it would never have made the impact of the very cinematic kamikaze planes that flew into the highest towers of New York, making them collapse. The result was exactly what Bin Laden had in mind: The struggle between good (Islam) and evil (the West) received an enormous impulse; the whole world awoke to it, Muslims and non-Muslims, and the United States obliged by moving the war into the Arab region (Iraq), so that the clash of civilizations could erupt in all its intensity. Whether or not Bin Laden himself was still leading his organization – in the last images from Abottabad, he seems pathetic, wimp-like – doesn’t really matter. The events he had set in motion created their own dynamic. In Afghanistan and Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives, the consequences are painfully obvious even now on a daily basis, as they are in Pakistan. And in the West, some political figures have asserted themselves by matching their enemy's radicalism. "If you don't want to be eaten, you'll have to eat the other," said Geert Wilders, the leader of the far right Freedom Party in the Netherlands. Anders Breivik in Norway recently put words into action and killed 77 people. And yet: 10 years after Bin Laden's murderous declaration of his principles, it is by no means certain that his will have been the final victory of the ideological battle that he unleashed. The prominent British Muslim thinker Ziauddin Sardar has already suggested, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 in 2006, that the Islamic world, in the face of the ultimate consequence of fundamentalism in its own ranks, was entering a period of self-examination. Matters that could be ignored before then – what does sharia law mean in the modern age; is a theocratic Muslim state something to strive for – have been slapped across the face of the faithful. The radicalism of extremism also forces the moderate to be radical in their moderation. Sardar said: "Before 9/11, these kinds of questions were largely avoided. But now we are seeing them openly discussed and debated. This is not just happening in Britain, but all over the Muslim world. From Indonesia and Malaysia to Pakistan and Bangladesh, to Morocco and Turkey." Quite possibly now, when Arab nationals rise against their leaders, we can see the result of this

self-examination. Optimists point out that Al Qaeda played no part whatsoever in the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. And they believe – in the case of Tunisia and Egypt, at least – that the democratic Islam of Indonesia and Turkey is the model, not the theocratic Islam of Iran or Saudi Arabia. In the next few months, when Tunisia and Egypt hold elections, we will know to what extent that optimism is validated. If radical Islamists bite the dust on those occasions, it would be the ultimate revenge against Bin Laden. And what about the West? It seems to be as confused as the East. The body of Bin Laden has been dumped at an undisclosed location in the ocean, but fear is still very much alive: We don't dare – promises of President Obama notwithstanding – to try the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in a regular criminal court. He will be tried at Guantánamo, by a military tribunal. The 'war on terrorism' that George W. Bush started has not been good for the US. The country has allowed itself to stray from its values, and Obama is experiencing great difficulty in re-establishing them. The overwrought and oversensitive society that America has become, will not allow it. George Packer wrote last year on September 10th in The New Yorker that what died on the battlefield in the years after 2001 was reason. "Evidence, knowledge, argument, proportionality, nuance, complexity, and the other indispensable tools of the liberal mind don’t stand a chance these days." In Europe, it is much the same. The politics of the loudmouth and the extreme gesture ("Ban the Quran, that fascist book") has strangled the debate and undermines the free, open society that we want to defend against any and all threats. "The war on terror must first and foremost be a war of ideas," according to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. To achieve that, we must take our own ideas seriously; if Al Qaeda chooses to dehumanize westerners, then the answer must not be a western dehumanization of Muslims, but prioritizing the value of each individual. At the invitation of his New York publisher, the Czech priest Tomas Halik wrote a book, titled Patience with God, in which he also discusses the 9/11 attacks. The terrifying aspect of this new kind of terrorism, he writes, is "the blindness of the killing and the anonymity of the victims." The dead of 9/11 – Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, doubters – were not killed because of who they were, but because they were in a location that guaranteed maximum media attention for the perpetrators. "This utterly indiscriminate killing deprives the victims of their identities and their human dignity." That the images of the imploding towers spread the message of Bin Laden was inevitable, and Halik does not blame the media for showing us what happened. He writes that they can also contribute to the moral fight against terrorism: "to read the names of the victims and show their faces, as well as tell their stories and give their loved ones a chance to speak." That is what this publication attempts to do. And it is what today, on Sept. 11th, 2011, will take place at Ground Zero, when the monument is unveiled, revealing the names of all the dead from 10 years ago. Stevo Akkerman Chief Foreign Editor, Trouw newspaper

Trouw

September 11, 2011


“ I’m very sad that we are here today. This should never have happened and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on meeting taxi driver Ahmed Sharif, who was a victim of a stabbing because he was a Muslim, 08|26|2010

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I asked him, “Why are you killing me? Please, stop killing me,” Sharif said. He said, “This is a checkpoint. It’s my duty to put you down.”

Taxi driver Ahmed Sharif on the attack, in the New York Post, 08|26|2010

Trouw

September 11, 2011


“The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends� President George W. Bush, in an address to a joint session of Congress following the 9|11 attacks, 09|20|2001

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Trouw

September 11, 2011


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First trees are planted at the 9|11 Memorial Site on Ground Zero. 09|28|2010

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The 9th anniversary of 9|11 at Ground Zero. 09|11|2010

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The 9th anniversary of 9|11 at Ground Zero. 09|11|2010

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Protest against a possible cover-up of U.S. government involvement in the 9|11 attacks. 09|11|2010

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Protest near Ground Zero against the building of a Islamic Cultural Center. 09|11|2010

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Woman sells flags at Ground Zero after the death of Osama Bin Laden. 05|01|2011

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Mother with picture of daughter who died in the WTC attack. 09|11|2010

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Tourists overlooking the construction at Ground Zero from the World Financial Center. 10|03|2010

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Extra security around Ground Zero after the death of Osama Bin Laden. 05|01|2011

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The morning after Osama Bin Laden was killed, New Yorkers go to work. 05|01|2011

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Headlines announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden in the New York tabloids. 05|01|2011

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Airline personnel at the 9th anniversary of 9|11 at Ground Zero. 09|11|2010

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“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” Noam Chomsky, American scientist and activist.

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Trouw

September 11, 2011


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“You go from day to night, and it’s like someone poured a big bucket of dirt down your throat.” The attacks of 9/11 ruined Marvin Bethea’s health. But: “There's nothing wrong with Islam.”

When Bin Laden was killed, I was standing here, in my living room, and I cried. Part of me thought: he should have been taken alive. He got off too easy, he should have spent the rest of his life in prison. Closure – no. Maybe for the people who lost loved ones, but not for me. We have no closure, we’re fighting for healthcare. We were doing those jobs and we had no idea that the environment was so toxic. The few masks that we had, we gave out to the public. I was a paramedic at St. John’s hospital in Queens. Normally, I would work in Queens, but we could be sent anywhere, we had a contract with the city. For us, a bad day was when somebody had a heart attack, an accident, just minor incidents. You would tell people that you had a great day when you helped a jumper, a big fire – when you got the adrenaline rush, you know? So if you heard of a plane crash, of course you would want to go to help. My personal take was: it’s a Cessna, it got too close. Couldn’t be anything else, it was a clear day. We went into a deli, and then we heard: all units, go to citywide frequency. They only tell you that when there’s something really big going on. We were ordered to go the WTC. Meanwhile on the phone, I heard a friend screaming: a second plane! Seconds later we heard it on our frequency: be advised, a jetliner has hit the second tower. We made a left and merged in with many, many other emergency vehicles. And people in the street were frozen in place, staring. At the WTC, there was total chaos. People were in awe, taking pictures. We cleared an area. That lady who didn’t want to move, I’d like to meet her now. Where she was standing... she would’ve been dead if we hadn’t moved her. I was still OK. But then a police officer whispered in my ear: they’ve hit the Pentagon. Then I became scared. Because you know their tactic: get people streaming in to help, than launch a second attack. I’m fortunate that I didn’t see people jumping. But I heard their bodies popping – I didn’t know what it was. I went into the Chase Bank to see if anybody there was hurt. Nobody was. I stepped out to see if they could get away. I looked up: the tower was falling. I ran in again, a loud noise, it became louder and louder, and closer. Windows breaking, it went from day to night, and it felt like someone poured a big bucket of dirt down your throat. One woman squeezed me half to death. And my only thought was: God, let it be quick. When I came outside, a woman had col-

lapsed. She said: don’t leave me. I was athletic, I grabbed her, ran into the Hilton Millennium. Then the second tower collapsed and we were trapped. I forced a side door open, a garage door. There were many, many body parts. And we were white from head to toe because of the dust, you couldn’t tell my race. We took the ambulance to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and the doctors there said: where are the patients? We said: they’re dead. They couldn’t understand. Only when the fourth ambulance had arrived and said the same thing, they realized: Oh my God, there won’t be any wounded; they’re all dead. At the hospital, they’d heard that we probably hadn’t made it. So we returned to clapping and cheering. They stripped us to our underwear right there on Queens Boulevard, for decontamination. They wanted to debrief us, but I left, to go to my home in Queens. I switched on the TV and broke down. I love America, and I don’t excuse what those terrorists did. But what a lot of Americans don’t understand is the horrible stuff on the other side of the world that we did, that they don’t hear of. It’s war now, we take out civilians over there. They are someone’s family. There’s an anti-Muslim sentiment now, but I tell you, this community center near Ground Zero, I’m all in favor of it. In the World Trade Center, it wasn’t three thousand Americans who died, it was three thousand people, of all nationalities. Muslims too. This was a group of extremists. There’s nothing wrong with Islam. As a black man, I know how it is when people treat you different, like you’re dangerous, because of the way you look. My biggest mistake was: I went back. Three days later, I worked on the pile. On October 16th I went to a bank, I couldn’t move my arm, I had a massive stroke, at 41. Never will I go into a Chase Bank on a Tuesday again: the first time a building collapsed and the second time I had a stroke! They said it was the end of my career, but three months later, I was back at work. In 2001, we were all in denial. In the beginning of 2003, I got a cough, became short of breath. I went to the monitoring program, and they said I had asthma and PTSD. From July 2003 I went to a psychiatrist once a week, for three years. Even now I go every six to eight weeks. And with any physical exertion, I get short of breath. I appear to be OK, but I have to

make way for people on the subway stairs. I continued working, but on January 8th, 2004, after finishing a double shift, I went to get a haircut, and when I came in, they said: the way you look, let’s call a doctor. I was in the hospital for five days and they said: you’re done. I was devastated. I loved my job. And they took away my benefits. My compensation case finally came through in July 2006, thank God. I was down to my last three thousand dollars. My mother was suggesting I come home to live with her. Fortunately, I then got money from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. And finally, my social security pension came through, and with that, my union disability pension. Then I became a major activist. I went to Washington for everyone else. Many people became sick later, it became a constant struggle to get help for them. In December it will be five years since I applied for the Public Safety Officers benefit. The benefit for disability because of injury in the line of duty is 250,000 dollars and a medal. They don’t want to give it to me, because I didn’t work for the city. I worked for the hospital, but the city could dispatch us anywhere. If I’d said: I’m not going, it’s too dangerous, it would have been a breach of contract, a dereliction of duty, and there would have been criminal charges. The problem is, they won’t really turn me down. It’s under review. As long as it’s under review, you can’t do anything about it. I’m really angry at the politicians. There are only eight people in our category. All you hear about are cops and firemen. People weren’t screaming for cops and firemen, they were calling for medics. But the media treat us like we were just on a fishing trip. There’s some support in the 9/11 community. But the police union just cares about police officers. The fire department union looks out for firefighters. They could do a lot better. I know someone who worked for the department of transportation, and we have a deal: whichever of us goes first, the other one will make sure there’s an American flag draped on the coffin. Neither of us has done military service, but that’s what we want. 9/11 was like a war for us. I took part in one of the most significant events on American soil and I’m proud of that. But I’m embarrassed about the way we have been treated. Bas den Hond

New York

Trouw

September 11, 2011


“He was always hoping to give comfort to people who had lost loved ones there. He died at his home in Long Island where he was on oxygen 24-7,” widow Lisa Quick said.

Firefighter William Quick of Ladder 134 in Far Rockaway was a first responder on 9|11, and spent 60 days on the "pile", first searching for survivors, then victims. He subsequently suffered from a series of lung infections contracted due to inhalation of toxic dust at the World Trade Center, according to his family. News story in the New York Post 01|18|2011 Quick’s funeral was held at St. Ignatius Martyr church in Long Beach, Long Island on 01|22|2011

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Trouw

September 11, 2011


The Naudet brothers, film makers, captured the moment when American Airlines flight 11 hit the North Tower. “We both thought we were going to die.”

They're not complaining, but it is strange nevertheless: Nobody ever calls the Naudet brothers. Jules Naudet's camera was one of the very few that captured American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The rest of the day, and long after that, he and his brother Gedeon followed the crew of firehouse Engine 7, Ladder 1 on Duane Street. They had been filming them for a documentary about a rookie firefighter. The result was a moving and acclaimed documentary about the attacks and their toll on the first responders. It put them on the map as accomplished filmmakers. Who don't get calls. "No offer for work," says Gedeon matterof-factly. "No one, in 10 years. I think everybody thought we had gone back to France." But they are New Yorkers. Americans. They came to the country with their parents and became citizens 13 years ago. And just like other New Yorkers, they found their lives changed by 9/11, even as they kept documenting the changes in the lives of their friends from the firehouse. Tony Benetatos, the rookie in the documentary who had been yearning for his first fire and that day became a real firefighter in just a few hours, is doing great. "He's still a firefighter. He loves it, he's taking the test now for lieutenant," Jules said. "It's funny to see him, who was just a bright-eyed kid, now be a husband and father of a daughter." "We see them quite often. Out of the original 55 men, eight are still at that firehouse. A lot got promoted. Some retired. Some died." "They're have been a lot of medical problems. Many first responders died. From our firehouse we lost two. One of them is John O'Neill, who speaks in the documentary about how difficult it is to be a survivor. Many of them have said that, and it seems to be especially hard for those who are religious, who really practice it. They feel: God has chosen me. But with what purpose?" The Naudet brothers didn't get sick themselves. Yet. "There's always the looming threat," said Jules. "The check-up. The fear that the doctor will say, ‘You have cancer, you only have a few months to live.’ You can't obsess about it. But we were there, we were there for months. The issue of protection never came up until two weeks after the attacks. We just inhaled it." He pulls on a cigarette as he says it. “I did

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quit, for five years. But then, it's very strange, we were in Beirut for our next documentary: ‘In God's Name.’ That was an idea that came from September 11th. We thought we were dying then, and that confrontation with our mortality made us both ask the big questions: Why are we here, why is there this universe? We kept wondering – and who better to ask than 12 religious leaders, from the Pope to the Dalai Lama?" "So one day, we came to Lebanon to speak with Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a major figure for the shiite Muslims. It was a year after the Israeli bombings. But you could still smell it; the smell reminded me of 9/11 and I immediately said to my sound recordist, ‘I need a cigarette.’ " They might well be among the more than 10,000 first responders, other New Yorkers and visitors who are estimated to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attacks. But they never sought any help. "We kept working, that was our therapy," Jules said. "Four days after the attacks, we did interviews with the firemen and they were almost like therapy sessions. And it was very important that we looked at our images all the time. On that day, I had kept filming, every second. So afterward, that made it easier for us. We didn't have to wonder what we did at a certain time, it was all there. But I did have sleepless nights, and nightmares." "I had panic attacks," Gedeon said. "Three years later. For six months. Have you ever had one? You have no idea what's going on, as if you are dying. I had two or three a day. I talked about them to Jules, to other firefighters. Just talking about it helped. And then it stopped." What didn't stop was his amazement and anger at the injustice with which he thinks first responders have been treated. "We kept in touch with these guys these 10 years, we would go out to dinner, have fun. A few years ago, we started to hear about people getting sick, and then dying. Of mesothelioma. Usually, you get that when you're 70 or 80, or if you were present in a place where there were large amounts of asbestos. And we read in the news that the same politicians who swore, after what they had done for us, that they would never forget, weren't there for them." Congress last year adopted a law that improves health care for first responders. But although it covers doctor visits and tests, it doesn't cover cancer because it isn't considered proven that there's a link between cancer and the pollution from

the collapsed buildings. Gedeon: "A firefighter has health care, but if he retires tomorrow, and the day after it is discovered he has cancer, he is not covered." "I never expected in my life to see this level of injustice. So hideous, so mindboggling. In school you would always hear the myths about some Greek hero, who would do a tremendous task in spite of many obstacles. And in the end he always dies alone, forgotten by the community. Here we see it again. They saved 25,000 people from the towers, but they are forgotten. It's so sad. That's why I'm always very impatient to talk about that." Yet at the same time, the two brothers have never been prouder to be Americans and New Yorkers. Jules (who since has moved to Connecticut): "It has reinforced what I already knew about New York City: People seem cold at the outset, but with events like this, they pull together. In times of crisis, this is the best city to be in. It hasn't always been like that, before, there were a lot of segregated areas. It's much more open now. There were long lines of people who wanted to donate, to give blood. So the day that we saw the worst of humanity, we also saw the best." Gedeon: "I am proud to be a New Yorker. It is America, or at least what America hopes to be. I am still completely fascinated to see how the U.S. functions. It is capable of such extremes. Look at the last two presidents, from Bush jr. to Obama, from a Christian conservative to an African American who is a liberal Democrat. That gives me hope. This country is capable of questioning and reshaping itself very quickly." Their next project will, in a sense, be an inquiry into what makes this possible: They will interview every living former chief of staff of the White House. Jules: "They are the gatekeepers, the president's mistresses in a sense, they have the keys to the door of the president. All 16 have agreed to talk to us. And there's a lot of news footage about them. We will be filming through November, and it will come out in the spring, the political silly season." But the "we" isn't literally true. Jules won't be filming. "We will always work together. We are one body with two heads. We see different sides, but come to the same conclusions. But I am now strictly a producer. I have not picked up a camera since. I didn't like to any more. I haven't explored why." Bas den Hond New York


Trouw

September 11, 2011


“The public wants to believe you can stop terrorism. But history shows that terrorism stops itself,” says lawyer Shayana Kadidal. “Because it alienates the people it supposedly fights for.”

It would take a few years, Shayana Kadidal thought, for the Supreme Court to knock some sense into the American response to 9/11. For those few years, he was happy to go and work for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, defending clients, pleading cases. Ten years later, he has to admit: "I've been too optimistic." His last look at the World Trade Center was on Sept. 9th, from an airplane. "I had been in India for some weddings. In front of me were a bunch of Germans and they got all excited: There are the Twin Towers!" Two days later, he saw them being attacked. "Only on TV. I could have seen it for myself if I'd walked down the street, but I didn't. I locked the door. From my windows, facing south, I could see the plume. It was there until Thanksgiving, the fires didn't go out for months." During that time, Kadidal made a career change: The young lawyer who had helped small startup businesses create an offshore presence became a member of a legal team that battled one of the most controversial offshore enterprises of the American government: the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. At first, though, his concern was about the treatment of people on American soil: Muslims, from Arab and South Asian countries who had been detained as “persons of special interest” without ever being charged of a crime. "I read about people who had disappeared, and I wanted to do something. And the first week I came into the office, I heard of Sikh people who had to take off their turbans at the airport. Now, metal detectors can discover the tiniest scrap of metal in there, you'd have as much chance hiding a bomb in your underwear. But they weren't making everybody take off their underwear, so it was typical public humiliation of people who were perceived to be Muslims." It was also a typical reaction of a government that wanted to rebuild trust in its ability to protect its citizens: "If there's a crisis that is somehow indicative of a failure of intelligence, of law enforcement, the response is to do something coercive. It's always the same, whether here, in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Profiling, mass arrests, a veil of secrecy. Those three aspects always come up." Abuse of such ”persons of interest” was rife. In the Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn, a T-shirt was put on the wall with the American flag on it and the slogan 'These Colors Don't Run'. "When they arrived, their heads would be smashed against it, into the wall. The government denied it. But the T-shirt was

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on camera images, and the inspector general of the justice department concluded it was all true." At least 1,200 were arrested immediately after 9/11, and eventually, depending on who's counting, there may have been 5,000 detained. A waste of resources, says Kadidal, and damaging to national security: "It was very alienating to the groups in which terrorists were said to be hiding. And so it was hugely counterproductive. The public is the eyes and ears of law enforcement, whether you are dealing with criminals or terrorists." The pattern repeated itself after the U.S. toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and began sending people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda to Guantánamo Bay. "The U.S. sweeps in, they have little resources, so they distribute flyers in which they promise wealth beyond your dreams as a bounty for turning in terrorists. Anybody who was a foreigner in Afghanistan, anybody Arab in Pakistan, had a 20-year salary price tag on his forehead!" The CCR and other groups have mounted legal challenges to the Guantánamo detention policy. Already in 2004, in Rasul v. Bush, the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners in Guantánamo Bay had the right to have a judge determine the legality of their detention. In Boumediene v. Bush (2008), it ruled the military commissions, set up to try the prisoners, unconstitutional. But none of those decisions actually meant the government had to let a detainee go. And, in 10 years, about 600 have been released, but never on the order of a judge, not even for those the government admits should never have been taken to Guantánamo in the first place. One of the reasons for this is the appointment by President Barack Obama of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court. She was the Solicitor General in the Obama administration, and recuses herself from any cases she has been involved with. With the other eight justices presumably split 4-4, the court is not likely to take up any Guantánamo cases. Kadidal: "In practice, that leaves the Washington DC Circuit Court as the final appeal court in this matter, and it's a very right wing court. It's left, like a judge has said, Boumediene as an empty shell, nothing more than an academic essay." That leaves the matter of closing Guantánamo Bay to the politicians, for now, and they're not likely to oblige, even if during the presidential campaign of 2008 there seemed to be a consensus about it. "For 6 months, nobody has been released. Detainees will not shut it down until the next election. Obama has become a sta-

tus quo president. His advisers have evidently concluded that the public thinks the Bush measures are effective." "The public wants to believe you can stop terrorism. But history shows that terrorism stops itself. Because it alienates the people it supposedly fights for. It only works when the goal is to tear society apart, like in Northern Ireland and Iraq. In Iraq it has slowed down, but only because many areas are now completely segregated, which was presumably the goal." The only real change Kadidal feels has been achieved by those years of legal wrangling is an end to the complete isolation of the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. After two years, lawyers were allowed to visit. Isn't that a discouragingly meager result for so much effort? Kadidal disagrees. "The philosophy of the Center for Constitutional Rights goes back to the '60s and the civil rights struggle in the Deep South. We use the law to let people know someone is fighting for them. And to keep their problems in the news. The media need events to write about problems. If we start a lawsuit, that is an event." But being on the losing side so often does bother him for the sake of his clients. A man in Guantánamo for instance, a refugee from North Africa: "He educates himself, he has learned English, he reads the classics. What a waste of a life." Normally, his lawyer would be eager to name this person, but Kadidal can't: His client doesn't want to be famous, in case he is eventually released. For rebuilding your life is hard once you've been in Guantánamo, Kadidal has observed. He visited with ex-prisoners who were accepted by Albania. On the one hand, that Southern European nation has treated them well. "There are places in the world where 9/11 was not a world-changing event. People know, but they do not much care. But it's still hard: one of them speaks eight languages, but he has not been able to master one word of Albanian. A lot of them talk like their lives are still on hold." The ex-prisoners may travel to other countries, if they can obtain a visa. But the stigma of having been in Guantánamo doesn't fade easily. "If it would be closed, that would help. It would be clear then that is was a mistake. As long as it's open, it projects a signal about those that were imprisoned: There really was something to it." Bas den Hond New York


Trouw

September 11, 2011


Scar Tissue

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“My mom came and got me and started to walk uptown, carrying me. My head was facing the towers, I could see people jumping out of windows, holding briefcases, holding hands.”

"My name is Brook Peters," says the voice speaking over a black-and-white picture of a small boy standing on a school playground. "This was my first day at kindergarten". A new picture appears, of a giant tower with a smoking hole in it. "This was my second." At the young age of 11, Brook Peters decided to make a movie about his experiences as a New Yorker who personally experienced the 9/11 attacks. Using his own video camera, he shot footage of his classmates and teachers from 2001, as well as students and staff from a nearby primary school, middle school and high school. He also appears in the film, The Second Day (www.theseconddayfilm.com), although sparingly. "I don't want this to be a movie about myself, but about this group,” he recently said, now a well-spoken and extremely serious 14-year-old. "It should be about what happened to us. But by going with different ages, and other schools in different places, you get more texture. I would have been happy to do just my own school, but my classmates were basically all either picked up by a parent, or evacuated." Except that none of his classmates was immediately bundled into a fire truck by his mother, as Brook was. To Michelle Peters, this was a natural reaction. The actress and single mother was, and continues to be, a volunteer with the FDNY. As a consequence, Brook has a collection of childhood pictures that will bowl you over: hanging out with the firemen of Engine 24 and Ladder 5 at Houston and 6th, to name just one firehouse that he frequented; hosing off the fire truck on Saturday mornings, and of course wearing his own helmet. As their former captain, Anthony Varriale, quips in the movie: "I guess to get some male influence in his life – it may not have been the right influence..." But Michelle never doubted the firemen: "What could be better for a single mom than to have male role models that not only are strong, but that also have compassion and look out for others?" When the first plane hit, Michelle had just dropped Brook off at school and was cutting between the Twin Towers on her way to an FDNY meeting. Soon, she was in the thick of things, relaying messages between crews when the communication equipment became overloaded, all the while thinking that her son was safe because the plane that hit the tower had surely been an accident, and was being dealt with. "A plane roared overhead,” Brook recalls. "We didn't know it was a plane, everyone had their theories about that loud noise, and we'd just settled on it being a garbage truck that went over a pothole, when suddenly parents came in to get their kids. Then my mom came in and picked me up. For when the second tower was hit, she knew this wasn't a regular accident." "At first, she actually brought me closer to the towers. She put me in the fire truck, where the guys were getting ready. While they were gearing up, they were giving me messages for their wives and kids. Because they definitely hadn't seen anything like that before. That was one thing that made me realize that something was wrong."

"And as soon as the first tower started to fall, my mom came and got me and started to walk uptown, carrying me. My head was facing the towers. I could see people jumping out of windows, holding briefcases, holding hands. We ran all the way up to Canal Street, and then to the fire house. When we got there, everyone else was on call, so my mother put me in the back yard, and started to park the off duty firemen’s cars, and that's when the day started to wrap up. Then there was just a whole mess to clean up in the days and weeks to come. It was a total wreck down there, in the firehouse, but also in everyone's lives." What followed were weeks of sorrow, with the FDNY burying 341 firemen and two paramedics; dozens and dozens of them had been good friends and father figures to Brook. He went to some but not all of the funerals, since he was back in school again, now in a temporary location. But this wasn't the end of his connection to the firehouse. "I probably went there even more. But it changed. Because of the turnover of guys. So many men who died. All those new people, and a more solemn atmosphere... there was a changed feeling around the firehouse." "I never rebelled about going to all those funerals, that would be making it about me, and it never was about me. But I was kind of numb with watching the news, playing those images 24/7. I wanted television to go back to normal programming." For seven years, he went to therapy sessions provided by his school. He had to work through "sadness, a little bit of anger, but mainly sadness, grief and depression. Especially about not giving those messages to the right people on 9/11 – I just couldn't put the faces to the names anymore." As he became older, he started to get a sense of politics and history, the background of 9/11. Has he developed his own ideas about where they came from? "That's a hard question. I can't say for sure, I definitely have to say that people have to understand each other, be able to not deal with each other with malice and hate. I can't exactly say for sure." It was after therapy ended that he started to work on the documentary. And now that it's finished, Brook may help others, he thinks he's really dealt with it. His experiences may help others, he feels. "Because the film shows that you can overcome all sorts of problems, whether you are a kid who's been bullied, or whether you were hit by a tornado, war, anything." He is planning a career making documentaries. And also being a firefighter. "I've always wanted that, since I was two. I've had other interests, but nothing that felt so right. The camaraderie, the work itself, I want to be part of it. And you can combine that with making movies: firemen work in two 24-hour shifts and then they have the rest of the week off. Most of the guys have second or third jobs." Bas den Hond New York

Trouw

September 11, 2011


Scar Tissue

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The good nights were when human remains were found, workers at Ground Zero told Julie Taylor. That was what they were there for: help some family out there.

Julie Taylor's shift in St. Paul's Chapel was at night, Sunday to Monday, December 2001 through May 2002. It was available. Many of the clergy who had volunteered to minister to the distressed folk who came to St. Paul's, on Broadway and Fulton Street right next to the World Trade Center, had churches of their own to take care of, especially on Sundays, of course. But Taylor had only just been ordained, in the Congregationalist denomination. No parish for her until she'd gone to seminary. She found St. Paul's, is how she puts it. She worked in construction, had done so since she was 21, had her own private company that on 9/11 was doing an interior painting job six blocks from the World Trade Center. When the planes hit the towers, she had the morning off. Going back to work that afternoon was out of the question. One week later it was not, and she did. But St. Paul's was near, and she got involved. Even getting accepted took months, there were so many volunteers from all over the country. It isn't seminary that prepares a person to work as a disaster chaplain. A childhood spent on Indian reservations may do it – in the Northwest and Canada, with your parents bringing the Gospel there. Or growing up in a halfway house, where your parents try to guide ex-convicts into a non-recidivist lifestyle. Listening. Learning without knowing it. Or a career in construction. After that, a firefighter who is angry, drunk, or both, doesn't bother you very much. St. Paul's was set aside for such: firefighters, construction workers, Verizon technicians. They would get massages, clean socks, cots to sleep on. Work continued day and night; there were dozens of people in the chapel at any time. Who would also find respite there, quiet. Not a traditional church experience, not the kind of quiet to necessarily pray, or think of God. But still. In those months, working for those greatly affected by a disaster became her profession. She's now one of the 180 clergy who volunteer for Disaster Chaplaincy Services, a New York organization she's also been the director of for five years. It has Christian clergy, Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams and Santería priests; 31 faiths, 28 languages. She may be on call when a plane crashes in Westchester, when a bus flips on its side on I-95, when a gas leak wrecks three buildings in Manhattan in a single explosion. When, in short, an accident transcends the human capacity to understand what just happened. Especially when there is loss of life. Recently, on the roadside with that flipped bus, a police officer recognized her: You were at St. Paul's after 9/11. That tells her she did something worthwhile. People recognizing you is an essential step. First re-

sponders are reticent people; if they don't know you, why should they trust you? And St. Paul's had its share of trauma tourists; getting the T-shirt, taking a picture, and going. But if you're always doing the same shift, pouring the coffee, handing out socks, serving the food, it becomes easier. You start to know people and they know you. And you would see they are different one night from the next. You can see they've had a hard night and you can ask about that. Sometimes it's nothing, a setback at the Super Bowl – but that's important, too. Hearing the gruesome stories wasn't hard. They aren't your stories, after all. Making that distinction is a very important part of the job. As is talking to your own spiritual advisers, very regularly. Because the scale of the suffering was huge. With a regular airplane crash, people can deal with a disaster in a matter of weeks. Clearing up the rubble of the World Trade Center took nine months, day in and day out. Tremendous. The good nights were when human remains were found. There was always a feeling of success then. They told her, while taking a little rest in St. Paul's, that it was what they were there for: to help some family out there. When that slowed down, the work became harder. Family separations became harder. It can be tempting for people to want to isolate themselves. Some just did not want to go home. They didn't want to ”infect” their family with what they lived through. Or they would go home and not talk. Ultimately, some of those marriages did not survive. Even Taylor talked on the phone to her mother in Oregon, and to her grandmother, but never shared the stories with them. God didn't come up much in her conversations. There would be questions sometimes, and then you would talk about that. You follow people where they want to go, you find out where they are. Her own faith wasn't shaken. She did later change her affiliation, from the already quite liberal Congregationalist to the nocreed community of Unitarian Universalists. A group where people, as the 16th-century preacher Francis David said, “need not think alike to love alike.” She finds God in relation to other people. He shows up in those who come to help. And in the many, many cards and letters on the walls in St. Paul's in those days, from people all over, sending their love and support. In some traditions it is said you should not question God. In St. Paul's you always could, Taylor could offer a safe place for that. But not answers. There is, she believes, no answer. Bas den Hond New York

Trouw

September 10, 2011


Iraq 2003 - 2011 US soldiers killed: US soldiers wounded: Coalition soldiers killed: Civilians killed

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4,474 32,175 318 at least 102,000 possibly 600,000


The US Armed Forces Recruiting Station in the center of Times Square.

Afghanistan 2001-2011 US soldiers killed: US soldiers wounded: Coalition soldiers killed: Civilians killed 2007 - 2011:

1,752 13,447 946 10,300

Sources: icasualties.org, iraqbodycount.org, DoD, UNAMA, as of 08|30|2011

Trouw

September 11, 2011


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Scar Tissue by René Clement

“ I lost part of my innocence, my belief that this world could exist in peace.” day I lost part of my innocence, my belief that this world could exist in peace.

In August 2010, I started a year-long journey as a New York based photographer, to create a pictorial study of my home town as it continues to recover from the 9/11 tragedy, 10 years later. I wanted to feel the pulse of the city to determine if its wounds remain open, have healed or if scar tissue has formed. The past year has been filled with highly charged events in the run-up to the 10th anniversary, with controversy surrounding the possible location of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero, in addition to the death of Osama Bin Laden. The redevelopment of Ground Zero is now well underway, after lying dormant for many years; a gaping hole in the city’s fabric is being mended, and new towers have begun to emerge once again.

On the 10th anniversary this September, we will once again mourn the past, the loss of loved ones, friends and strangers. Since this is such an important milestone, I believe that a more comprehensive review should be made in New York. The events of 9/11 opened up a global Pandora’s Box; the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, homeland security issues in the U.S.A., religious tensions throughout the world. Here in New York, issues relating to the building of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero revealed to us that raw emotions are still bubbling just below the surface. While many affected people resumed their daily lives, first responders are still dying in great numbers from the toxic dust they inhaled while working at Ground Zero.

9/11 was a terrible day; I witnessed it myself up close. After turning on the television and watching the second plane hit the tower, I jumped into the subway from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and headed south to the World Trade Center. Midway to my destination, the power went out. After waiting in a dark subway train for an hour, I exited my carriage and walked along the tracks until I reached the 23rd Street station, where I climbed up to street level. I continued my walk south to the WTC from there.

Ten years later, it is time for all of us to look collectively in the mirror and attempt to understand how far we have come in our healing process. René Clement, New York, September 11th, 2011

As I drew near the WTC, I could no longer see the two towers which had once been so prominent in Manhattan’s skyline; a firefighter told me that they had collapsed. I approached the site and stood by the smoldering, burning remains. One thought filled my head, if a place called hell exists, it would have been right there, right then, in that moment. I walked down streets lined with burning cars. I saw a businessman, standing there, lost in shock, white shirt soaked with blood, bandaged head. I saw a firefighter on a stretcher, unconscious, having succumbed to smoke. A thick dust cloud from the fallen towers lingered in the streets; dust mixed with smoke from the fires were making me nauseous. People were everywhere, shouting, screaming. A policeman grabbing me, dragging me down the street yelling, “No pictures you fucker!”

René Clement is a photojournalist based in New York City. A native of the Netherlands, Clement is the co-founder of Borax Foundation for Photography in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and a contributor to Hollandse Hoogte Agency in Amsterdam and Polaris Images in New York. His work has been published throughout the world. His portrait photography and documentaries have been awarded numerous prizes including Time Magazine Picture of the Year and the Dutch Silver Camera competition. Last year Clement published ‘Promising Land – Land vol Beloften’, a book about Dutch Americans in Iowa. Promising Land has just been awarded the second runner-up prize in the fine arts category of Blurb.com’s annual international competition for photography books. Scar Tissue has been simultaneously published in Dutch as a September 10th supplement to the newspaper Trouw in the Netherlands. They can also be ordered, as a newspaper or as a limited edition collector's piece, through www.reneclement.com. All photographs were taken between August 2010 and September 2011. Images on the first three and last pages have been digitally stitched.

I know that I carry scar tissue, painful memories that may always remain with me, buried only in a shallow grave. Even now, almost 10 years later, if I see a plane disappearing behind a tall building, I still hold my breath, and then exhale with relief when it reappears and continues along its route. Although I didn’t lose family or friends, on that

Thanks to the Backers

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© 2011 René Clement

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Wouter Nieuwenhuis Yvonne Simons Debbie and Niels Weertman Prinsen Bartomeu Amengual Emma Peel Andrea Axelrod Agnes Treuren Niels Bartels Max Westerman Trouw Marion and Theo Verhappen Giel Clement Maureen Kramer Studio DS Hans Gieskes Mary Oosterbaan Louis Zaal Hollandse Hoogte Ralph Schmitz Henk van der Zand Robert Kloos Jan Joosten Sander Raaymakers Ruud Wenting Inge Hondebrink Dick van Aalst Michèle Bouwmans Kickstarter

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Colophon Photography

René Clement

Editorial

Bas den Hond, Stevo Akkerman

Editing

Emma Peel, Ellen Kok, Donna Moxley, Nelly Werinussa

Design

Frank Castelein, René Clement

Photo editing

Anja Struiken

Printing

Print Line | New York

Published by

René Clement in collaboration with the Dutch newspaper Trouw

Trouw

September 11, 2011


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Trouw

September 11, 2011


.... and then exhale with relief when it reappears and continues along its route.� RenÊ Clement, photographer

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