Saturday, September 11, 2004

It’s funny how unimportant this date is in other places in the world. If I were at home today I know that turning on the television would mean constant stories of 9/11. Flashback images, updates on survivors, news on the commission’s report, updates on the “progress” in Iraq and general remembrance of the attacks of September 11th. Here? It’s like it never happened. I would venture to guess that the same is true for most countries in the world. Some countries in Europe might be marking it but nobody in Asia is and neither is Africa, Eastern Europe, or India. That’s a lot of the world. It maker sense though that if you were in Darfur, watching your family starve to death in front of your eyes, or if you had just witnessed Chechen rebels kill hundreds of children, that the death of 3,000 Americans, three years ago might not raise much concern. If people in America had any idea of the magnitude of death and suffering that goes on in the rest of the world they would never question the apparent indifference that greets their anniversary.

Sometimes my tendency to swing from one extreme to another infuriates me. Last month I had virtually decided that I was destined to become an independent recluse journalist. A Pulitzer prize winning explorer, narrowly escaping cannibals in the Amazon and dodging bullets in Baghdad. Now I am feeling much better about a comfortable life in Vancouver or Calgary, with a nice house, a couple of kids and a job at a local newspaper. How do you go from one thing to another within a matter of weeks? How do the people around you cope with such indecision? Is there a happy medium between the two? Would I be happy with living my life in the middle? This is where my knowledge of physics comforts me. If I know anything about life and the natural order of things, it’s that perpetual motion remains impossible. Sooner or later, a swinging pendulum, no matter how violent, will stop.

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