Tuesday, September 11th 2001


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Relevant links:

news site, supporting the TV channel

German language:

current news and background information; electronic edition of the major German news magazine
(some texts are translated into English)

Spanish language:

electronic edition of the major Spanish newspaper (Madrid)

electronic edition of the major Spanish newspaper (Barcelona)


This page is dedicated to the memory of the terrible terrorist attack on the United States of America and the Western world, when two planes full of passengers impacted the World Trade Center in New York, another hit the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania. Our entire team has felt the sorrow, and we have tried to find a few words to express our feelings, shortly after that day (here).

The old Chinese curse has come to visit us once more, "May you live in interesting times." These times certainly are interesting, and for that reason I would like to use this page also to occasionally note some of my thoughts on the events that followed that tragic day, as well as how that has impacted me on a personal level.
(Oct 10: Real war and fiction; Oct 10: A just war?)
The opinions expressed in these later entries are only those of me, Marc, and do not necessarily reflect those of Chris or Guillermo. 

Written on Sept 13 2001

Tuesday, September 11th 2001.

That day will be remembered by every person who was alive and aware. 

We will remember where we were when we heard the news. 

We will remember the anguish and the terror that seized our hearts when we realized the cruelties inflicted on innocent human beings. 

We will remember the fear that flushed into our minds and hearts. What will become of this? Will there be a war? Will we be the next targets?

We will remember the rage that followed, the anger, that our peaceful lives had been ravaged, destroyed, by some twenty madmen, armed with knives and cardboard cutters -- that we were standing before the ruins of our safe world, symbolized all too forcefully by the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center.

We will remember the pain that we felt in the following hours and days, when we saw the images again and again, of the airplanes impacting the two towers of the World Trade Center. The pain when we imagined what the people on those planes were thinking and feeling in the last moments of their lives. What the people in the towers went through, when fire and smoke invaded their offices, when they tried to escape from their workplace.

We will remember the helplessness we felt, seeing some people jump from the windows of their offices, falling for many dozens of stories to their ensured deaths. We will remember wondering what could possess a human being to leap from such a height.

We will remember that it had been an ordinary day before -- perhaps a day of joy, perhaps a day of sadness -- perhaps we had finally resolved to quit a job -- perhaps we had been preparing for a romantic evening -- perhaps we had resigned ourselves to the belief that this day would be like every other day before.

We will remember that this belief and our plans were shattered.

Tuesday, September 11th 2001.

We will remember.

Marc           Chris          Guillermo

On October 7th 2001, the United States have begun their retaliatory actions against the terrorists and their apparent homebase in Afghanistan. Evidence has been pointing towards Osama bin Laden and the Al Quaida network in increasing measures after the attacks, and after an extensive "coalition building process", the first cruise missiles have hit Afghan ground.
Along with the bombing of the sparse infrastructure of Afghanistan, food rations have been dropped to provide relief to the refugees within the borders of the country, a nation that has been ravaged by a three-year drought, and a civil war that has continued for more than twenty years, a nation that has suffered from several dictatorial regimes throughout that time, be it the Soviet-controlled government in the 1980s, the following Mudjaheddin government, or the Taliban starting in 1996.

October 10th 2001

Real war and fiction

It's war. There is little reason to circumvent that phrase, although one can easily do so. Putting a spin on a story is a politician's daily bread, and not few have done so. Fortunately, I'm not a politician.

"War is hell." I have heard that quote very often, and although I am lucky never to have witnessed war, I believe it. I also remember that song (from the 1960s, I believe), "War - What is it good for? - Absolutely nothing". In my stories, I have often found myself writing about war - in a fantasy or a science fiction setting, and sometimes I have succumbed to a bit of glorifying the events, much like so many movies have done before.

And now I wonder whether I have allowed enough of my personal dislike for war to seep into those stories. It's strange to think about this. There are bombs falling in a far away country, there are people dying - not just in that war, but in any of the dozens of conflict spread around the globe. And here I am, in my usual chair, at my computer, music playing on my stereo, and I think about my paltry stories. 

Pathetic or not, I can't help but think about this, while the TV seems to be rerunning scenes from 1991. There doesn't seem to be any solution in sight, nothing that is fully satisfying. Writing my stories I rarely think about a specific message that I wish to transmit to the reader, only that I want to entertain, that I want to stir up emotions.

Have I sometimes given in too easily to the temptation of portraying heroic warfare? Should I have paid more attention to the horror of war?

Probably so.

Can it ever be enough? Probably not. I cannot sacrifice the pure entertainment values, and I don't want to. War is hell, but stories shouldn't be. At least not all of them. Not all of the time.

Perhaps I will still some of my feelings of guilt with All the King's Men, a pure war story, a story that is quite dreary and hellish. I will still wonder, though, whether I am taking the right road in the next story, and the one beyond.

Maybe that's the way it should be. Keep wondering about what your stories mean, and there's a good chance you will actually do something right.

I can only hope.


A just war?

Is there anything like a just war?

Benjamin Franklin said, "There is no such thing as a good war or a bad peace."

World War I was called "the war to end all wars". The fact that we use a Roman numeral to describe that war is proof enough that violent conflicts didn't cease to be in 1918.

That doesn't seem as if there is any reason to go to war, no good reason anyway. Yet people keep unsheathing their swords - or in current terms, readying their machine guns -, they keep killing each other, under the banner of some cause or other. Religion has been a mainstay in that regard, going back throughout our history. The Crusades, Islam's expansion in the seventh and eighth century -- those are just two examples. There have been so many other causes, ideologies like communism or nationalism.

It all seems so ridiculous when viewed from our comfortable present day situation. Especially the cause of religion is difficult to understand -- especially for someone like myself who has never been very religious. I am fascinated by the topic and have read a bit of both the Bible and the Quran/Koran. It doesn't mean much to me on an emotional level, though.

On a very rational level I can understand the motivations that have caused wars throughout the ages. To some degree, I can imagine the emotions, and within the stories I write, I have tried to display such feelings as believably as possible -- yet faced with the reality of the present day, I share the same subliminal fear that most of us face.

The sheer fury and hatred that is fueling war, it's beyond my grasp.

The really troubling part is that I am not only writing about the fundamentalist terrorists. No, I have witnessed some of the same hatred, some of the same blind revulsion and obsession in other people as well -- people in our comfortable Western world who now think that every Muslim, every "raghead", is inherently evil and needs to be eradicated from the face of the earth. I'm happy to know that people like that are a tiny minority. The vast majority has a good grasp of reality, and doesn't resort to this blind hatred -- both in the pseudo-Christian West and the Muslim nations.

But anger and despise are there. Is it those dark emotions that fuel the current conflict, or is it something more rational? Is it vengeance or justified retaliation?

If the war on terrorism, the current strikes against Afghanistan are purely acts of vengeance, then -- well -- then I myself am not as far above those base emotions as I have just claimed. Not a nice thought, that one.

I am convinced that retaliation is necessary. At this point, military strikes on Afghanistan and the Taliban appear necessary. The attacks of September 11th must not be ignored. If they were, we would simply invite terrorists all over the globe to attack our Western world at will. The only way to get at bin Laden and the core of his terrorist network appears to be in Afghanistan.

Yes, I know that this isn't the only thing that must be done. Police, intelligence services have to be enhanced, they must pursue a long-range strategy against terrorism. And in the long run, the most important tools are diplomacy and aiding the people who are starving, who don't have the benefits of our lifestyles.

So, am I simply finding a rationale for an emotional desire to lash out against those who have hurt me (indirectly though it may have been)? Is there a better way all of this could be resolved? Am I closing my eyes to alternatives, and am I also caught in a blind rage?

Or is it simply another fact of life that sometimes war is necessary? Maybe.

Maybe what is happening right now is not a "just war."

Maybe it's only a "justified war." That may be the closest we can ever get.


  Original link, back before I abandoned these projects...

"May you live in interesting times." The Chinese curse has come true after the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001, and none of us can escape that truth. 
You can find a few of our thoughts on this page.
(updated Oct 10 2001)

If you care to find out more about the numbskulls perpetrating this website, check out our weblog at www.wizardatwork.blogspot.com! Marc puts in the occasional comment on various topic of varying interest, and maybe the others will actually chime in as well.