It is 27 degrees today outside in New York, a chilling reminder of the events of the day six months ago. Today is thesix-month anniversary of the September 11th. On that day, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and sent them hurtling intosome of the most vaunted symbols of American might and power: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. More thanthree thousand people died in the attacks. Since then, thousands more have lost their lives in the US bombing ofAfghanistan. Few people in this country know exactly how many Afghans have died or who they are.
Just as we go to broadcast, the country is holding the second of two minutes of silence marking each time the planeshit the towers. Later this evening, New York will hold a “Tribute in Light,” ceremony, where the opera singer JessyeNorman will sing “America the Beautiful.” Twelve year-old Valerie Webb, whose father, a Port Authority policeofficer, died on Sept. 11, will turn on the first switch to light the 88 bulbs installed at two locations near groundzero. The lights will fully illuminate after 20 seconds, creating two tall beams of light.
In memory of the six-month anniversary of 9/11, news outlets around the country have put together retrospectives ofthe day and the weeks that followed. To watch them is to be alternately moved by the stories of loss and to besent hurtling through the looking glass, into a world in which there is no nation more victimized than the UnitedStates, no president more heroic than George W. Bush, and no cause more just than the bombing of Afghanistan.
Well today on Democracy Now!, we are not going to take you through that looking glass. Instead, we are going to giveyou a series of reflections, glimpses of reality since September 11th.
In the months that followed the attacks, Democracy Now! worked overtime to broadcast a daily, two-hour “War & PeaceReport.” The report was Democracy Now’s answer to the warp and whitewash of mainstream reporting. Today, in memoryof 9/11 and all that has happened since, we bring you highlights of the War & Peace Report. We begin with DemocracyNow’s broadcast from the firehouse in the moments and hours after the towers were hit.
- Robert Knight, news reporter with Pacifica New York station WBAI.
- Ryme Katkhouda, producer with WBIX, WBAI radio in Exile.
- Howard Zinn, Radical historian and author of ??A People’s History of the United States.
- Patti Smith, Singer-songwriter.
- Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a leadingscholar and critic of US foreign policy and the author of many books, including ??9-11, published by SevenStories Press.
- Ziad Abbas, founder of the Dheishe Refugee Camp Youth Program.
- Haider Rizvi, U.N. reporter and freelance journalist. He is of Pakistani descent, and was beatenunconscious by three white men in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope in late-October. He currently writes forthe Indo-Asian News Service, and formerly wrote for the Village Voice and the InterPress Service.
- Farid Esack, visiting professor of Theology at Auburn Seminary in New York. A leading Muslim figure in theanti-Apartheid struggle, he spent four years as the head of South Africa’s commission on gender equality. He is alsoa leading Muslim scholar and author of ??Qur’an, Liberation and ??Pluralism and On Being a Muslim.
- Masuda Sultan, a young Afghan-American woman who lost 19 members of her extended family when the US bombedtheir farm outside Kandahar.
- Rita Lasar, a native New Yorker who lost her brother in the World Trade Center on September 11.