Media resources on September 11th

If you want to go one place for nearly everything you need to know about September 11th, check out MediaMap's September 11th Journalists' Resources. Sadly, there are no weblogs on the list. But aside from that, it's excellent. So. Much. Information.

The EFF on freedom

There's some important stuff over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response the U.S. Department of Justice's proposed "Anti-Terrorism Act" (ATA) which I encourage you to check out.

We fully support legitimate government efforts to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice. Yet as a watchdog for civil liberties, we are skeptical of claims that the only way we can increase our security is by giving up our freedoms...none of the legislative changes that have been proposed so far is temporary -- these are broad ranging, permanent reductions in civil liberties and privacy of all Americans. History has shown that such laws, passed in haste during a time of crisis, linger and cause difficulties long after the crisis has passed.

[more here]

Struggling for a name for it

Unlike some other folks, I've decided I don't like referring to the events of September 11, 2001 as the Current Situation. It sounds too clinical to me. It's as if we're unable to acknowledge the horror of what happened by referring to it in such a detached manner. And situation? I'm not optimistic enough to believe this is only a situation or a temporary state. I've found myself, in both words and thoughts, referring to it as That Day. As in, "it hasn't been sunny since That Day." Or, "We haven't been downtown since That Day." But it would be hypocritical of me to pass off something as vague as That Day after dismissing Current Situation.

When I was younger and I learned about Kristallnacht in school, I had a hard time understanding just how horrible it was. The name sounded so beautiful to me, "Night of Broken Glass." I pictured tiny shards of shimmery glass everywhere, filling the streets like diamonds, piles of glass twinkling in the moonlight. Only later did I fully understand what transpired during that night, only when I was older did I understand there was nothing magical about Kristallnacht.

Like that night in Germany, something terrible has happened and I wish I had the words to refer to it properly. I wish I had a name for this Current Situation, I wish I had some other way to relate to that moment in time when everything flipped upside-down, to That Day when everything changed.

Seybold panel on September 11th

Dave Winer has changed his Seybold keynote (taking place tomorrow) into a panel to discuss How Publishers and Their Production Teams Fared in Covering the Tragedies in New York and Washington. You can attend for free by printing out a pass here. Should be some interesting discussion, I'm looking forward to it.

Classical music at all occasions

I get a lot of junk mail, but yesterday's was nearly the best ever. Música CLÁSICA para toda ocasión arrived at my door. A free CD of "Classical music for all occassions" and an offer to receive a welcome packet with over a $45.00 value! And in Spanish too! What I want to know is how did they find out I speak Spanish? And who told them I like classical music at all occasions?

A redesign lie

If I tell you I'm working a new design for this site, will you believe me this time? You should because I don't know how long I can leave it like it is.

Thanks for all the emails

Thanks to everyone who's written about the WTC Quilt idea. I'm processing my thoughts and will get back to you all soon.

Stepping away from it all

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and it seems like a good day to step away from the web and this site for a few days. I've been inside hunched over the computer, most times with the TV in the background, for a week straight. I think I need some air. I think I need to stretch my legs. I think I need to try and replace the images of destruction that are seared on my brain with images of life, if that's possible.

A special magazine

The New York Times Magazine ran a special online edition yesterday.

Goodbye Taliban

I keep thinking that one good thing that could potentially come out of this war on terrorism is the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the restoration of basic human rights for Afghani women. The current situation reminds me of something out of The Handmaid's Tale. The sooner the Taliban is overthrown, the better.

A virtual memorial quilt

I've been thinking about a comment that was raised at our vigil in Golden Gate park on Friday night in respect to the number of the victims of Tuesday's tragedy. Someone said that the number was simply so great, there was no way to know the story of each person who'd been killed. And for some reason, that reminded me of the AIDS Quilt, which addressed a similar problem (though the victims' stories were unknown for different reasons). So what if we made an online quilt? Here's what I'm thinking:

A hosted site at some appropriate URL where people can go. Victims' families and friends can create an entry (perhaps it's a page, perhaps it's a square, using the Quilt metaphor). People can enter stories about the victim, upload pictures, people could add comments. In essence, it would be a way for people to created a hosted memorial page. It would also be searchable. And "discussable" in that people could post comments on each page. Has anybody heard any discussions about something like this? It doesn't seem like it would be very hard to build and I'd be happy to do it but I don't have a place to host it. If you've got links to similar sites or ideas about it, or you'd like to help, or if someone's already doing this, please let me know. Thanks.

Dinner at Afghan Kebab House II

Leslie had dinner at Afghan Kebab House II. I just really like this story.

Last night I had a

Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamt that someone had given me two $1000 bills, and $750 in change. The coins were strange, like pieces of gold but from the US government. A $500 gold coin and a $250 gold coin. I put this money in my wallet and then was walking around some place unknown, some generic unknown urban place. And I felt constantly afraid, and threatened. Every where I walked, I was looking out for people trying to get me. People approached me and grabbed at me and I hurried to disappear in the crowd. I wasn't safe. No matter where I went, I wasn't safe; I knew they were after my money. Awake in bed early this morning, the fear remained. Only the money was the stuff of dreams.

From The Economist: The Coming Battle. About halfway down the page this article contains a nice map of the region for those of you who are unfamiliar with the location of some of these places.

What is the Koran?, a fascinating article about ancient fragments of seventh and eight century Korans found in Yemen. "[S]ome of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text."

The Saudi fatwah against suicide terrorism, "On April 21, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdallah Aal al-Shaykh, said that Islam forbids suicide terrorist attacks."

From Salon (and spotted elsewhere), An Afghan-American Speaks.

And one more: Rendezvous With Afghanistan, some tips from the New York Times on the players in the region and the necessary alliances the US must make.

National day of remembrance

If you're looking to celebrate today's National Day of Remembrance in the Bay Area, please join me and some friends at 5:30 PM at the AIDS Grove in Golden Gate Park (pop-up map). Feel free to invite others. I hope to see you there.

I've been receiving several emails from folks about a candle lighting today at 7 PM. "Friday Night at 7:00 p.m. step out your door, stop your car, or step out of your establishment and light a candle. We will show the world that Americans are strong and united together against terrorism." Update: That's 7PM Pacific time here in the US, so adjust accordingly.

I read someplace last night (I'm just consuming so much news I lose track of the source so quickly, I think this was on MSNBC's site) that the House of Representatives passed a resolution yesterday calling on all Americans to fly the national flag. I'm not sure how I feel about being told to do that.

Amazon/Red Cross donations are up to $4,355,468 and the average donation has risen to over $36!

New York Times Magazine from June 25, 2000: The Education of a Holy Warrior.

In a Pakistani religious school called the Haqqania madrasa, Osama bin Laden is a hero, the Taliban's leaders are famous alums and the next generation of mujahedeen is being militantly groomed.

A 1998 Interview with Osama bin Laden from ABC News touching such points as his fatwah targetting American civilians and his desire to destroy the United States.

I pulled an old college book off my bookshelf last night, The World's Religions by Huston Smith. I climbed into bed, proped up my pillows into reading position, and I opened up to a chapter I'd never read: Islam.

Anger and hatred

"Anger and hatred are the materials from which hell is made" - Thich Nhat Hanh, Peach Is Every Step, p56.

In all the knee-jerk reactions to Tuesday's events, there have been many declarations of war, and very few attempts at analysis or understanding. We've gone into attack mode, painting the unknown perpetrators of Tuesday's tragedy as "evil" and as "cowards." The march toward war has begun with the dehumanization of the unknown enemy and the whipping up of nationalistic fervor. Oddly enough, the word I find myself returning to again and again is compassion, and I think back to something I read a long time ago, "In the time of war, raise in yourself the Mind of Compassion."

When Oklahoma City was bombed I remember feeling very angry; I remember wanting revenge. Now I don't feel angry, I just feel sad. Watching the TV coverage of the Palestinians celebrating in the street, I couldn't help but notice that so many were children, young boys, who were cheering the destruction. I felt such sadness watching them, trying to imagine the world in which they're growing up, an existence infused with hatred. In America the media offers so little coverage of why the situation in the Middle East exists as it does. And we are so removed from our actions (both direct, such as bombing Iraq, and indirect, such as selling weapons to Israel,) that we have no concept of their results. Or rather, we had no concept. Until now.

I keep hearing on the news that we had a failure in the intelligence community and a failure in airplane security. But we failed a long time before someone missed a threat, before someone slipped knives passed airport security. We failed when we failed to understand just how angry, just how hateful, some people had become. Anger and hatred *are* the materials from which hell is made, and that hell right now is lower Manhattan.

Perhaps it's my way of dealing with this tragedy: to look for some explanation so that things "make sense" again, albeit in a horribly twisted and confused way. I want us all to understand the deeper why in why this happened, for if we don't, how can we move forward? How can we prevent this from ever happening again?

PBS is rebroadcasting the Frontline on Osama bin Laden tonight at 9 PM. The Independent (from the UK) takes a look at some of the history of the Middle East in attempt to understand the hatred we witnessed on Tuesday. The Economist has an article, America's place in the world, which explores 21st century American foreign policy options. From The Guardian (UK), They can't see why they are hated: Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad (this piece is outstanding, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). From the New York Times: World War III. If you have more links to articles trying to examine the deeper causes of Tuesday's attack, please send them to me. I'd like to compile a list.

More links:

Trying to get back to normal

Observation: It's hard to "get back to normal" when "normal" things are being postponed. O'Reilly's Peer-to-Peer and Web Services conference, scheduled for next week in DC, has been postponed until an as-yet unknown future date. So my trips to DC and Boston are on hold. And several other things on my calendar and to-do list have also been cancelled or postponed, leaving me with little to do except search for answers and grieve.

I have watched the Amazon donation page grow from just a few thousand dollars, to a quarter million, then half, then a million. Each time I saw it, I averaged the total amount donated by the number of donations. And each time I checked, that too grew. From an average donation of $24, to $26, then $27. Last night at nearly $1.8 million, the average donation was $30. As I write this, the total donations top $2.7 million and the average donation is now up to $33.87. Not only are people continuing to give, they are continuing to give a lot. Watching that figure grow and grow has been the only thing to put a smile on my face these past few days. If you haven't given yet, please do. Even the smallest bit will help.

And speaking of help, the Red Cross needs technical supplies and consulting services. If you have any to offer, please contact the address listed on the page.

If you or someone you know is in need of support (post traumatic stress syndrome, emergency grief counseling, disaster readiness & response, catastrophic change, bereavement care, travel risk management, overcoming fear of the workplace and fear of tall buildings), please contact the email or phone numbers below. Volunteer coaches with many years of experience are available to talk with you. Please note: email works better since the phone lines in NYC are still having trouble. or or call toll free (866)244-9441, (212)244-9441, (212)706-0092 or (917)969-5407.

And to you, my readers, I hope you're well and safe. My thoughts are with you all.

A very changed world

Yesterday morning it was sunny, clear skies, warm air. I opened some windows and began every day chores. I scooped the kitty liter and swept the floor around it. I watered my window herb box. I stood at the sink and began to wash the pile of dishes, including my coffee press so I could make a cup of coffee before I sat down to start another day of work. I was holding a spatula when Jason started saying, "oh shit!" over and over again. Then we rushed into the living room to turn on the TV.

And we just sat and watched in horror.

24 hours later, I'm heading back into the kitchen to finish up the dishes, to pick up the spatula that still sits in the sink where I dropped it. I'm going to wash my coffee press and brew that cup of coffee I never had yesterday. I'm going to try and find some semblance of normalcy in this very changed world.

No title

Jason's got a collection of links as well.
Metafilter of course has discussion as well.

If you can, please go give blood. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to make an appointment. Even if you don't live in NY or DC, it's important.

Jackhammer outside my window

If my posts had titles, today's would be Jackhammer Outside My Window. Why hasn't someone invented a better jackhammer? How about a small disc that you stick to the surface you want to break up? You hit a button and it shoots powerful waves that break apart the concrete or asphalt, causing them to crumble silently into dust. That seems feasible, doesn't it? If you're an inventor, I give you free rein to develop my idea. Just remember me when you get rich, ok?

Women looking at women

Yesterday's New York Times Magazine photography issue was all about women. Entitled Women Looking at Women it features photos and stories of women (mostly written by women, all pictures taken by women). I thought the most interesting article was Great Expectations, a look at a group of lawyers entering their first year at a prestigious law firm. They were asked about whether they see themselves making partner in greater numbers that their predecessors given that, "though more and more women have joined law firms in the past couple of decades, they remain less likely to make partner than their male colleagues." I was amazed by the ones who believed they wouldn't face discrimination or prejudice in the quest to make partner. One woman said, "[t]here's no discrimination except for the kind we face within ourselves." I really hope that's true. I also hope the Times will revisit these young woman to see where they are in their careers ten years from now, that would be really interesting.

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