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Posts Tagged ‘World Trade Center’

Cockburn’s Cockroaches

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

There was a time when the Left in the United States was able to field its own intellectual heavyweights to try to offset opposing intellectual arguments. It was a Left of Michael Harrington and Irving Howe and others of similar caliber.

That Left is no longer in existence. The Left in recent years has shown itself incapable of distancing itself from its lunatic fringe. Rational leftists long ago abandoned the Left, resulting in a Left now filled with treasonous lunatics and hate-America neurotics whose politics reflect little more than an infantile anger at Mommy and Daddy.

There is today no difference between the academic Left and the Left of Mumia Abu Jamal and Ward Churchill. Churchill’s statement that Americans killed in the attack on the World Trade Center were “little Eichmanns” is by now familiar to all, although that’s just the tip of his iceberg of his anti-Americanism (see www.frontpagemag.com).

Nothing so clearly illustrates the demise of the “intellectual Left” than the self-recruitment of the stable of writers at “Counterpunch” magazine on behalf of Churchill.

In recent weeks, Counterpunch has morphed into almost a single-issue magazine, and that single issue is celebrating and defending Ward Churchill. This is not a “free speech” defense of Churchill by free speech absolutists, but rather an endorsement of the contents of Churchill’s anti-American and pro-terror speeches and articles by people staunchly opposed to free speech for neoconservatives.

Counterpunch is a web magazine owned and edited by Alexander Cockburn, whose anti-Americanism can compete only with his anti-Israel animus (some have called it out-and-out anti-Semitism), and Counterpunch largely promotes these two sentiments on its pages. Cockburn has been denounced for both his anti-U.S. and anti-Israel views by Franklin Foer of The New Republic, by Eric Alterman (on his MSNBC weblog), and by a variety of other journals, organizations and columnists, including the Seattle Times, the Declaration Foundation,, LeftWatch, and Christian Action for Israel. In the past Cockburn openly gave credence to reports that Jews spread anthrax in the U.S. and that Israel was part of a conspiracy to topple the World Trade Center. Cockburn insists Jews conspire to control the media (see http://counterpunch.org/alexgraham.html).

There is nothing that so clearly illustrates the collapse of thinking on the American Left as its near-universal embrace of Ward Churchill. Every “Indymedia” website in the country has carried multiple endorsements of Churchill. Cockburn’s Counterpunch has, as I write this, more than a dozen articles endorsing Churchill, and not a single article denouncing him.

Of all the leftist magazines and websites usually regarded as semi-civilized, Cockburn’s web magazine seems to be the most obsessed with glorifying Churchill, who has written, among other filth, that the Jews are worse than latter-day Nazis because “those who deny the Holocaust, after all, focus their distortion upon one target. Those [Jewish scholars] who deny all holocausts other than that of the Jews have the same effect upon many.” Churchill also supports Islamofascist terror (see http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16917).

Earlier this month Cockburn himself led the flock of Cockburn Cockroaches in Counterpunch with “Ward Churchill and the Mad Dogs” (http://counterpunch.com/cockburn02052005.html), in which he not only backed Churchill unreservedly, but argued that Churchill did not go far enough. When Churchill wrote that the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center were heroes, given America’s evil nature, he should have reinforced his article with references to America’s bombing of Amariya civilian shelter in Baghdad in January 1991, with 400 deaths, Cockburn argued. Never mind that no one seriously thinks the U.S. intentionally targeted civilians in that or any other bombing operation, unlike Churchill’s role models.

Cockburn maintains that the whole outcry over Churchill is some grand right-wing conspiracy to suppress free speech. “Why,” he asks, “should Churchill apologize for anything? Is it a crime to say that chickens can come home to roost and that the way to protect American lives from terrorism is to respect international law?”

This hardly is the first time Cockburn’s web site has come out in favor of bin Laden. Earlier, it ran a piece by Shahid Alam, a tenured professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston, titled “Poverty From the Wealth of Nations.” Alam argued that the 9/11 attacks were an Islamist insurgency, the attackers believing that they are fighting – as the American revolutionaries did in the 1770′s – or their freedom and dignity against foreign control of their lands.

A companion piece to Cockburn’s was “A Ward Churchill Kind of Day” by Kurt Nimmo, (http://counterpunch.com/nimmo02052005.html), which compared the attacks on Churchill and on some other pro-terror professors to the Nazi purges in German universities. Nimmo wrote, “I must say that I agree with Churchill: the financial and government institutions housed in the WTC, including the CIA, most certainly did employ “technocrats” comparable to Adolf Eichmann.”

He was echoed by Carolyn Baker, who, in “Ward Churchill and the Attack on American Higher Education” (http://counterpunch.org/baker02072005.html) compared at length the criticism of Churchill to Nazi suppression of dissident teachers in Germany. She bemoaned insufficient leftist indoctrination on campuses in the U.S. and concluded by writing: “The neo-conservative, neo-fascist standard for higher education is a mirror-image of German education in the 1930′s…”

In “The Censorship of Ward Churchill and Dancehall Reggae Music,”  (http://counterpunch.org/collins02082005.html), Counterpunch’s Nate Collins characterized any criticism of Churchill as fascist censorship, writing: “What happened to the classic quote on the Nazis about how they go one group at a time until they get you?… I love Churchill for the same reason I love Dancehall Reggae artists, they have the voices of lions, regardless of any flaws jumped on by the p.c. liberal thought police.”

In another Counterpunch piece, “What Ward Churchill Didn’t Say,” by one “Mickey Z.”, (http://counterpunch.org/mickey02092005.html), Churchill is defended against the true terrorists, which include, in Mickey’s “mind,” Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, Henry Kissinger, Bill Cosby, and others, most of whom are misquoted by Mickey.

Counterpunch proves better than anything else around that the term “thinking Left” is today an oxymoron in the United States.

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Rephidim: A Painting By John Dubrow

Friday, July 11th, 2003

John Dubrow: Paintings; Rephidim
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries.

20 East 79th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021

(212) 879-6606.

Monday - Friday 9:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Closed May 31, 2003.


 

From 1997 to 1998, John Dubrow got to know the World Trade Center fairly well. He made many paintings from a high vantage point on the 91st floor in a temporary studio granted him by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. His heavily worked cityscapes built solid compositions out of urban structure, color and space and define an important body of his work at that time. After September 11, 2001, he was, like most New Yorkers, devastated by the attacks and the destruction of the World Trade Center. He wondered how he could
return to city-scapes after his city had been so violated and his artistic milieu shattered. In the wake of the smoke, ash and collapse, he groped for an artist’s response to this mass murder.

A few weeks later, a close friend mentioned that he was studying the attack of the Amalekites against the Israelites in Exodus in conjunction with the events of 9/11 and the impending war in
Afghanistan. Dubrow was intrigued by the subject and its implications but immediately thought, “I don’t do that kind of painting. I don’t make Biblical art.” And yet he started drawing on a blank canvas as the initial image came to him. First the three figures were very large, and then he changed the scale drastically. He worked two years on the painting, Rephidim, that was shown at the Salander- O’Reilly Galleries. In his recent exhibition, it is easily the most complex, ambitious and successful painting of this current work.

From the late antique through the Middle Ages, the vast majority of artists who dealt with Biblical subjects were christian and the story of Moses raising his hands to insure an Israelite victory over the Amalekites (Exodus 17: 8-16) is found sporadically throughout art history. The frontal image of Moses with his arms stretched out in prayer flanked by Aaron and Hur is first found in a fifth century nave mosaic in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. After that it is seen in scattered illuminated Christian manuscripts that understand the subject as “an important antetype of salvation through the cross [because of the cross-like posture]” and demonstrate “the efficacy of prayer in war…” Other medieval works such as the Moralizing Bible (1245) use the image as a liturgical symbol, paralleling Moses to a priest offering the Mass at an altar. In a church in Reims, France, a floor tile represents Moses with one arm raised high with the help of Aaron and Hur in an attempt to control the outcome of the battle. In the later Middle Ages, the image shifts from the frontal view (more typical of symbolic and sacred interpretations) to a profile view that gradually expresses a more naturalistic and secular
understanding.

Not surprisingly, there is a Hebrew manuscript, the “London Miscellany” created in France in 1278 that depicts Moses’ hands together in prayer (perhaps in opposition to the earlier Christian pose), supported by Aaron and Hur.

From the late 15th to the 17th century the subject of Moses fades into the background of depictions of the battle with the Amalekites. The Lubeck Bible (1494) shows the trio far off to the side behind the main battle, while Poussin’s early painting of the Battle of Joshua against the Amalekites (1625) features the Moses group barely visible in the distant background.

Suddenly in the 20th century the theme reappears prominently on a Torah Ark of the Bezalel School in Jerusalem (1916-1925). On the bronze doors it is one of six episodes in the life of Moses testifying to faith and strength in battle. The theme is similarly patriotic in what is easily the most public display of the subject, Benno Elkan’s monumental bronze menorah given to the Israeli Knesset in 1956 by the British Parliament. On the upper register of the central branch the gestures are clear and unequivocal. Aaron and Hur are forcefully helping Moses keep his arms up during the battle, which must have seemed extremely relevant during the first years of struggle after Israeli independence.  Finally the naive artist, Shalom of Safed shows Moses At War With Amalek (1964) furiously leading the battle, staff in hand, with little need for the help of Aaron and Hur. The subject clearly lends itself to multiple interpretations throughout the ages.

John Dubrow was unaware of any of this previous history as he faced numerous problems attempting to narrate this text. Quite alone he confronted the story at face value and struggled with its meaning for the contemporary world. His creative composition and forceful use of
impasto, especially in the sky and landscape, have effectively surmounted the dangers of naturalism and archaic costuming which would have rendered the image an illustration.

By creating an abstract surface, the planes of light and dark on the figures and their clothing hold the painterly surface even as the carefully modulated blue sky summons the vastness of the Sinai wilderness. The figures are off center and somewhat overwhelmed, making us aware that the vast sky and landscape operates as a narrative character, perhaps as the Divine Presence, which Moses must summon to Israel’s aid. And yet there still seems to be a struggle among the trio.

The artist conceives of each figure differently. Since each face is partially obscured by shadow, the bodily poses and relationships must narrate the text. Aaron submissively kneels slightly behind Moses, his arms interlocked, even confused, with Moses’. Hur, in the center of the painting, is the largest figure, bare-chested, and the most forceful in lending support. The passivity of the seated Moses creates the most tension and concern. But of course that simply returns us to the puzzling text. Why does Moses not lead the Israelites himself; why does he need to sit; why does he need help in supplicating G-d? Remember Moses will soon spend 40 days and nights while fasting learning Torah with G-d Himself. Dubrow’s painting confronts us with these questions even as the artist casts the subject into our contemporary crisis.

Palms open to the vastness of the blue sky (a clear blue sky just like on 9/11) expresses Moses’ passive attitude. G-d’s will be done. His aides struggle with him; it may not be so simple they say. Amalek, the unequivocal enemy of Israel, has viciously attacked without cause. We must do battle with them, but we doubt the absolute justness of our cause. We are uncertain, divided and deeply wounded. Our fate is uncertain because we carry the sin of doubt from the Waters of Contention at Rephidim. We doubted G-d and Moses doubted the
Children of Israel. This doubt and confusion permeates the painting just as we in the West have re-examined our relationship with Islam and the multitudes of the Third World.

There is no doubt about the evil of Amalek and the terrorists. What is unclear is what we can expect as G-d’s response and how do we request His salvation. Pray, or fight or both? Have we squandered the bounty that G-d has given to us? Are we worthy to triumph over this enemy who would annihilate us? The impressive scale and size of the painting (unlike almost all previous miniature versions) places the furious battle in the unseen foreground of the canvas. The battle is in the space between the painting and us. The outcome even after the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq is still uncertain.

John Dubrow’s Rephidim is the artist’s response to the mass murder of 9/11. The Biblical context confronts us with difficult questions that defy easy answers. Our vulnerability under that awesome blue sky may be the most salient feature we can salvage from the conundrum of our times.

(Meyer Schapiro’s Words and Pictures, 1973 is the source of the pre-20th century background information on this subject)

Richard McBee is a painter of Torah subject matter and writer on Jewish Art. Please feel free to email him with comments at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com.

Bravo, Mr. Mayor

Friday, November 16th, 2001

Once again, Rudy Giuliani has demonstrated why his tenure as Mayor of New York these past years marked a transformation of our city. There are those who say that he should have accepted the $10 million for the World Trade Center victims fund from that Saudi prince who accompanied his check with the advice that the United States “should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause. Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of the Israelis while the world turns the other cheek.” They said the Mayor should just have issued a disclaimer.

However, in typical Rudy style, the Mayor, getting to the heart of the matter said, upon rejecting the money, that this sort of thinking “is part of the problem… There is no moral equivalent to this attack. There is no justification for it… To suggest that there is any justification for it only invites this happening in the future.”

Of course, the Mayor was right. Taking the money would ineluctably serve to give credence both to the prince's substantive remarks and to the notion there is some political dimension to what happened. And, as the Mayor said, this could only encourage other such terrorist outrages. Thus, in no way was he going to allow the $10,000,000 to buy identification with the solution.

The Mayor's principled and clearheaded stance stands in stark contrast to what some in the State Department are saying. We were dismayed to read that a spokesman, Richard Boucher, drew this distinction:

Essentially, there are, on some planes, two different things. One is that there are violent people trying to destroy societies, ours, many others in the world. The world recognizes that and we are going to stop those people. On the other hand, there are issues and violence and political issues that need to be resolved in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians…. They are clearly issues that are different.

Can such talk have any other effect than to embolden the worldwide terrorist enterprise and encourage Osama bin Laden's allies to commit violence against America's closest ally?

What Is Going On Here?

Thursday, October 25th, 2001

Last week we addressed the widespread feeling that a monumental failure of the American intelligence apparatus contributed to the World Trade Center disaster. Indeed, tragically, every day brings new revelations of clues all around us of the impending onslaught, from the hijackers signing on for flight training limited to flying but not taking off and landing, to a total collapse of our illegal immigrant tracking system. Perhaps the most remarkable is what apparently was making the rounds of the Internet. In Friday's Washington Times' “Inside the Beltway” column, the following appeared:

“Dr. Neil Livingstone, CEO of Global Options LLC, a Washington-based counter-terrorism and investigations company, believes terrorists, or their co-conspirators who orchestrated the attacks, may have registered as many as 17 Internet domain names that could have tipped off authorities as early as last summer…

Here are some of the eerie registered domain names which just expired:
-worldtradetowerattack.com
-tradetowerstrike.com
-horrorinamerica.com
-horrorinnewyork.com
-nycterroriststrike.com
-pearlharborinmanhattan.com…

“It is unbelievable that someone [in the law enforcement or Internet field] didn't say 'Hello?' and pick up on this,” one official who deals with the federal government on Internet-related issues tells “Inside the Beltway.”

America At War

Friday, October 12th, 2001

Once again, America is at war. Make no mistake. The coordinated sneak air attacks and car bombing that levelled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, killing untold numbers of Americans, is of a piece with the attack on Pearl Harbor. And just as our earlier enemies learned to their great dismay that we have the capacity to rise from any adversity and make any sacrifice required of us, so the perpetrators of this atrocity will also learn. Today's events are the culmination of a widespread but lunatic fringe who abide by a seething Muslim fundamentalism that has long viewed the United States as the evil incarnation of infidel secularism. It is most recently what drove the third world savaging of America at the Durban Conference and it is what has motivated attacks ? albeit of lesser magnitude, like the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia and the assault on the USS Cole.

We must not even be distracted by the CNN reports of obscene rejoicing on the West Bank as some Palestinians celebrate the death of Americans. No particular link has yet been made between the Palestinians and the attacks, and we can deal with the Palestinian issue later. Right now, the focus has to be on the sinister Muslim fundamentalist movement and the probable involvement of Osama Bin Laden and his colleagues and protectors.

President Bush has shown the way with his support for Prime Minister Sharon's policy of pursuing terrorists wherever they are and whenever they are vulnerable. We have typically been portrayed around the world as idealistic unsophisticated naifs, obsessed with openness and compassion with no stomach for realpolitik. But as we have demonstrated before, that although slow to rouse, we ultimately get the job done. It is not for nothing that the John Wayne character endures as an American hero. There was a big job to be done in World War II. There is a big job ahead of us now. And everyone had better get out of our way.

—– AMERICA UNDER ATTACK —– WORLD TRADE CENTER DESTROYED, PENTAGON HIT DEATH TOLL WILL BE ‘ASTRONOMICAL’, PALESTINIANS DANC

Wednesday, September 12th, 2001

The world as we knew it changed in a matter of moments early Tuesday when terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into Manhattan?s World Trade Center, causing the collapse of both 110-story towers.


Details were still emerging as this newspaper went to press Tuesday evening, but the loss of life was expected to be catastrophic, in what one aviation expert termed ?the most audacious terrorist attack that?s ever taken place in the world.?

Shortly after the attack in New York, another hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon, causing extensive damage and taking an as-yet undisclosed number of lives. Almost simultaneously, a fourth hijacked plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. The intended target of that plane was not known at press time.

Reports of explosions at the State Department and other locations around Washington at the time of the Pentagon attack were later retracted, but the nation?s capital was immediately shut down. All government buildings were evacuated, and the Federal Aviation Authority, in a move unprecedented in the country?s history, halted all air traffic in the United States.

Palestinians in Nablus celebrate news of the attacks on the U.S.
AP
Palestinians in Nablus celebrate news of the attacks on the U.S.



Government offices and other potential targets were evacuated all across the country: national landmarks in Philadelphia, the United Nations in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The New York Port Authority closed all bridges and tunnels into the city. U.S. stock markets were closed, as was the U.S.-Mexico border. Repercussions were global in scope as NATO sent home all non-essential personnel from its Brussels headquarters and Israel evacuated its missions around the world.

While the most of the world reacted in shock and outrage to the incomprehensible scope of the attacks, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to celebrate the carnage. Chanting ?Allah is Great? and passing out sweets to bystanders, they paraded through their towns and villages, unabashed and unrestrained in their joy.

In Nablus, as many as 4,000 Palestinians jammed the streets upon news of the attacks, with many shooting in the air and waving Palestinian flags. Nawal Abdel Fatah, a 48-year-old woman, threw candies at passers-by and declared her happiness because ?America is the head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against us.?

Fatah?s 22-year-old daughter, Maysoon, told reporters she only hoped the next such massive attack would be launched in Tel Aviv.
?Everyone Was Screaming?

The attack on the Trade Center began at 8:45 a.m. with the first of the hijacked planes crashing into one of the towers, setting it afire. Less than twenty minutes later, at 9:03, a second plane crashed into the second tower and exploded.

It was ?like something out of a disaster movie,? said Don Foulsham, a businessman who works in an office building that overlooked the twin towers. ?The towers were like giant candles,? he added, describing the scene moments before the two buildings collapsed.

?Everyone was screaming, crying, running, cops, people, firefighters, everyone,? said fire marshal Mike Smith. ?It?s like a war zone.?

Businessman Gabriel Ioan was described as ?shaking in shock? as he spoke with an Associated Press reporter. ? I just saw the building I work in come down,? he said. ?I just saw the top of Trade Two come down.?

Stephen Evans, a BBC correspondent based in New York, was on the ground floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane crashed.

?There was a huge bang and the building physically shook,? said Evans. ?Seconds later there were two or three similar huge explosions and the building literally shook again.?

An eyewitness told BBC News that he ?was on the first floor. There was a big explosion, some guy came out, his skin was all off. There were people jumping out of windows. It?s horrific.

?About 10 minutes later, the second building went off. It just blew off. People jumping out, people just kept jumping and jumping and jumping. You could see they were all alive because they were all just flailing.?

Time.com senior producer Nicole Still was traveling to work on a Manhattan-bound W train when the conductor announced over the intercom, ?The World Trade Center is on fire. All service to Cortlandt Street [the World Trade Center subway stop] has been suspended. All persons are advised to stay out of the area. I repeat, do not go near the World Trade Center.?

The conductor made another announcement several minutes later. ?From the train crew we ask that you say a prayer for anyone at the World Trade Center. Please say a prayer.?

Many Americans were reminded of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. ?This is our second Pearl Harbor, right here in our nation?s capital and New York City,? said Sen. John Warner (R-VA).

?I feel like going to war again,? said Felix Novelli, a World War II veteran in Nashville for a reunion of the Intrepid aircraft carrier. ?No mercy. We have to come together like ?41, go after them.?

As rescuers began the work of sifting through the remains of the World Trade Center, officials warned that the number of fatalities would be astronomical ? ?more than any of us can bear,? in the words of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

?I have a sense it?s a horrendous number of lives lost,? the mayor said.
Bush Vows To Find Attackers

As the nation reeled from the series of attacks, President Bush said he had ordered the full force of the U.S. government to ?hunt down and find those responsible. ?Terrorism against our nation,? he declared, ?will not stand.?

Bush, in Florida to deliver speeches on education, intended to return to Washington when news of the attacks broke. But with the White House evacuated, the president and first lady were taken to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Bush spoke briefly to the nation around mid-day, and was scheduled to deliver a more detailed address Tuesday night.

?Freedom itself was attacked this morning,? Bush said in his afternoon remarks, ?and I assure you freedom will be defended. Make no mistake. The United States will hunt down and pursue those responsible for these cowardly actions.?

Reaction from world leaders was swift and uniform. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared Wednesday a day of mourning in Israel, and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer approved the dispatch of rescue units to the United States.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was ?terribly shocked? by the attacks in New York and Washington.

?I?m afraid we can only imagine the terror,? said Blair. ?This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together and fight it together.?

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said he was ?horrified? by the day?s events. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said his government ?condemns these terrorist attacks to the utmost.? Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi sent President Bush a telegram stating that ?Italy is at the side of the United States. The international community must respond together to this abhorrent act.?

Russia put its troops on high alert after the attacks and Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would support a tough U.S. response.

?The series of barbaric acts directed against innocent people fills us with indignation and revolt,? said Putin. ?Such inhuman acts must not go unpunished.?

At the same time that many of his ostensible followers were dancing in the streets at the news from the U.S,. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat said he ?completely condemns this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people.

According to the BBC and Abu Dhabi television, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attacks on the World Trade Center. Sources close to the DFLP, however, denied any involvement.

Speculation on who might be responsible for the attacks centered on Saudi-born terrorist mastermind Osama bin-Laden, who warned three weeks ago of an ?unprecedented? attack on U.S. targets because of American support for Israel.

Abdel Atwan, editor of Al-Quds, a London-based newspaper, told Reuters that he?d received information of ?very, very big attacks against American interests.? Atwan said he and his colleagues ?did not take it so seriously, preferring to see what would happen before reporting it.?

? With reporting from JPFS, JTA and various news sources.

—– AMERICA UNDER ATTACK —– WORLD TRADE CENTER DESTROYED, PENTAGON HIT DEATH TOLL WILL BE ‘ASTRONOMICAL’, PALESTINIANS DANC

Wednesday, September 12th, 2001

The world as we knew it changed in a matter of moments early Tuesday when terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into Manhattan?s World Trade Center, causing the collapse of both 110-story towers.


Details were still emerging as this newspaper went to press Tuesday evening, but the loss of life was expected to be catastrophic, in what one aviation expert termed ?the most audacious terrorist attack that?s ever taken place in the world.?

Shortly after the attack in New York, another hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon, causing extensive damage and taking an as-yet undisclosed number of lives. Almost simultaneously, a fourth hijacked plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. The intended target of that plane was not known at press time.

Reports of explosions at the State Department and other locations around Washington at the time of the Pentagon attack were later retracted, but the nation?s capital was immediately shut down. All government buildings were evacuated, and the Federal Aviation Authority, in a move unprecedented in the country?s history, halted all air traffic in the United States.

Palestinians in Nablus celebrate news of the attacks on the U.S.
AP
Palestinians in Nablus celebrate news of the attacks on the U.S.



Government offices and other potential targets were evacuated all across the country: national landmarks in Philadelphia, the United Nations in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The New York Port Authority closed all bridges and tunnels into the city. U.S. stock markets were closed, as was the U.S.-Mexico border. Repercussions were global in scope as NATO sent home all non-essential personnel from its Brussels headquarters and Israel evacuated its missions around the world.

While the most of the world reacted in shock and outrage to the incomprehensible scope of the attacks, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to celebrate the carnage. Chanting ?Allah is Great? and passing out sweets to bystanders, they paraded through their towns and villages, unabashed and unrestrained in their joy.

In Nablus, as many as 4,000 Palestinians jammed the streets upon news of the attacks, with many shooting in the air and waving Palestinian flags. Nawal Abdel Fatah, a 48-year-old woman, threw candies at passers-by and declared her happiness because ?America is the head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against us.?

Fatah?s 22-year-old daughter, Maysoon, told reporters she only hoped the next such massive attack would be launched in Tel Aviv.
?Everyone Was Screaming?

The attack on the Trade Center began at 8:45 a.m. with the first of the hijacked planes crashing into one of the towers, setting it afire. Less than twenty minutes later, at 9:03, a second plane crashed into the second tower and exploded.

It was ?like something out of a disaster movie,? said Don Foulsham, a businessman who works in an office building that overlooked the twin towers. ?The towers were like giant candles,? he added, describing the scene moments before the two buildings collapsed.

?Everyone was screaming, crying, running, cops, people, firefighters, everyone,? said fire marshal Mike Smith. ?It?s like a war zone.?

Businessman Gabriel Ioan was described as ?shaking in shock? as he spoke with an Associated Press reporter. ? I just saw the building I work in come down,? he said. ?I just saw the top of Trade Two come down.?

Stephen Evans, a BBC correspondent based in New York, was on the ground floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane crashed.

?There was a huge bang and the building physically shook,? said Evans. ?Seconds later there were two or three similar huge explosions and the building literally shook again.?

An eyewitness told BBC News that he ?was on the first floor. There was a big explosion, some guy came out, his skin was all off. There were people jumping out of windows. It?s horrific.

?About 10 minutes later, the second building went off. It just blew off. People jumping out, people just kept jumping and jumping and jumping. You could see they were all alive because they were all just flailing.?

Time.com senior producer Nicole Still was traveling to work on a Manhattan-bound W train when the conductor announced over the intercom, ?The World Trade Center is on fire. All service to Cortlandt Street [the World Trade Center subway stop] has been suspended. All persons are advised to stay out of the area. I repeat, do not go near the World Trade Center.?

The conductor made another announcement several minutes later. ?From the train crew we ask that you say a prayer for anyone at the World Trade Center. Please say a prayer.?

Many Americans were reminded of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. ?This is our second Pearl Harbor, right here in our nation?s capital and New York City,? said Sen. John Warner (R-VA).

?I feel like going to war again,? said Felix Novelli, a World War II veteran in Nashville for a reunion of the Intrepid aircraft carrier. ?No mercy. We have to come together like ?41, go after them.?

As rescuers began the work of sifting through the remains of the World Trade Center, officials warned that the number of fatalities would be astronomical ? ?more than any of us can bear,? in the words of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

?I have a sense it?s a horrendous number of lives lost,? the mayor said.
Bush Vows To Find Attackers

As the nation reeled from the series of attacks, President Bush said he had ordered the full force of the U.S. government to ?hunt down and find those responsible. ?Terrorism against our nation,? he declared, ?will not stand.?

Bush, in Florida to deliver speeches on education, intended to return to Washington when news of the attacks broke. But with the White House evacuated, the president and first lady were taken to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Bush spoke briefly to the nation around mid-day, and was scheduled to deliver a more detailed address Tuesday night.

?Freedom itself was attacked this morning,? Bush said in his afternoon remarks, ?and I assure you freedom will be defended. Make no mistake. The United States will hunt down and pursue those responsible for these cowardly actions.?

Reaction from world leaders was swift and uniform. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared Wednesday a day of mourning in Israel, and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer approved the dispatch of rescue units to the United States.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was ?terribly shocked? by the attacks in New York and Washington.

?I?m afraid we can only imagine the terror,? said Blair. ?This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together and fight it together.?

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said he was ?horrified? by the day?s events. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said his government ?condemns these terrorist attacks to the utmost.? Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi sent President Bush a telegram stating that ?Italy is at the side of the United States. The international community must respond together to this abhorrent act.?

Russia put its troops on high alert after the attacks and Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would support a tough U.S. response.

?The series of barbaric acts directed against innocent people fills us with indignation and revolt,? said Putin. ?Such inhuman acts must not go unpunished.?

At the same time that many of his ostensible followers were dancing in the streets at the news from the U.S,. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat said he ?completely condemns this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people.

According to the BBC and Abu Dhabi television, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attacks on the World Trade Center. Sources close to the DFLP, however, denied any involvement.

Speculation on who might be responsible for the attacks centered on Saudi-born terrorist mastermind Osama bin-Laden, who warned three weeks ago of an ?unprecedented? attack on U.S. targets because of American support for Israel.

Abdel Atwan, editor of Al-Quds, a London-based newspaper, told Reuters that he?d received information of ?very, very big attacks against American interests.? Atwan said he and his colleagues ?did not take it so seriously, preferring to see what would happen before reporting it.?

? With reporting from JPFS, JTA and various news sources.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/news-magazine/america-under-attack-world-trade-center-destroyed-pentagon-hit-death-toll-will-be-astronomical-palestinians-danc/2001/09/12/

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