Second Eyewitness Report from WTC

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Fri Sep 14 10:08:03 MDT 2001

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Second eye-witness account from cde. Margaret in New York of
Socialist Alternative.

-----Original Message-----
From: Margaret Collins  
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 8:05 PM
Subject: World Trade Center Report Part 2


It is two days after the World Trade Center bombing and New York City
even now reeling from the attack. Police are still restricting
movement in and out of the city. The bridges and tunnels are now
police and military checkpoints. The Empire State Building was
evacuated last night, bomb threats were made today in Times Square,and
army tanks were parked in the middle of the city. Subway lines have
been rerouted because it was feared that the vibrations of the subway
would cause some of the buildings that are still burning adjacent to
the World Trade Center to collapse.             

Many are wearing surgical masks as far as a mile away from the bombing
site because the air is still filled with smoke and the wind is
carrying it across the city. Reports of respiratory difficulties were
reported as far away as Brooklyn.                 

I have to pass a police checkpoint to enter my home. Across the street
from my apartment is the National Guard Armory which is being used as
the Information Collection Center for those who are still missing
family and friends.  Lexington Avenue is filled with men and women who
are waiting in line to give any information they may have to aid in
identifying the bodies.  They are holding photographs of the
"disappeared". They are giving information about distinguishing marks
such as tattoos or piercings.  Some of the grieving families have
brought medical records with them. Many of the dead will only be
identified due to DNA tests since in quite a few cases all that
remains are dismembered body parts.      

The mood is quite complex and varied. My home is 12 blocks away form
the cordoned off "hot zone" which extends from 14th street to the tip
of Manhattan at Battery Park. Last night I watched as crowds of young
people filled the bars and restaurants, seemingly oblivious to the
destruction that had taken place. It seemed as if none of them were
able to be alone and they were pretending that life was
unchanged. Some of the comrades have reported hearing anti- Arab
remarks, but generally many of us were surprised how moderate the
comments were. One of our comrades is a truck driver, and expected to
hear very jingoistic comments at work this morning. He gathered some
of his coworkers together and told them that he condemned the
bombings, but that he was against going to war. He went on to explain
our analysis of the situation,  not expecting many people accept his
point of view. He was surprised because quite a few of the workers
said that they agreed with him.     

We are aware that this situation is likely to change once the media
whips up the war hype. It is significant however, that after
destruction of this magnitude, it is still possible to have an
intelligent and reasonable conversation about the root causes of this
attack. A number of comrades in New York would like to intervene at a
memorial service for the victims of the bombing. We would like to
prepare a short and sensitively worded statement that would emphasize
that we condemn the bombings and we are in solidarity with those who
are grieving their loss, and above all that there is still hope for
humanity if society can be transformed on the basis of social justice
and equality. These are basic, simple ideas, but I think that it is as
much as we can accomplish at this time. It would be a beginning for
those who want to understand why we are living through this horror and
how we can emerge from it. 
Comradely, Margaret Collins

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