|The second plane hits the World Trade Center|
We will no doubt see much of the ceremonies and it is good to remember. But has it changed anything? Has any good come out of this tragedy? We've had two wars that have killed many and put democratic values to the test. Osama Bin Laden is dead and President Obama says the world is a better place as a result. I'm not so sure about that. What I do know though is that the acid test is whether we come together as human beings. Apparently more people are chatting to each other on the subway in New York City. This is based on the notion that the person opposite you may be your potential rescuer or the last person you speak to before meeting your Maker. Personally I'd prefer to speak to people on the basis that they were just interesting pleasant people. It's a step in the right direction, but do we need the constant threat of personal obliteration as an excuse to strike up a conversation.
In these days of mobile phones, iPods and all manner of earpieces taking people off into their "personal space" surely a return to friendly conversation will help to rebuild community spirit for its own sake. We don't need to be intrusive busy bodies but a friendly exchange can harm nobody.
9/11 is said to have changed the world. I think that's a bit over the top but I get the idea. What I do think is that the ones to benefit are not just the terrorists but the arms industry and the security industry. Especially the latter who are regularly getting into hissy fits at any suggestion that security be down graded at airports. John Humphrys on the Today programme asked if it would ever get back to post 9/11. He was told it was unlikely. Security is big business, so the killing of Osama Bin Laden is of no consequence to the body scanning merchants who scan all and sundry. They need a terrorist threat to keep in business.
So I see this anniversary as a time to be with those who grieve, if not in person in spirit. A time that allows reflection and a determination not to let our lives and democracies be curtailed by those who see liberty as a lesser matter compared with restrictive practices.