Eyewitness Comments from New York

Tuesday 11 September

I was out in the street in Greenwich Village and I saw part of the first World Trade Centre Towers collapse. A man standing next to me seemed to be in shock. He said he worked in the World Trade Centre and he was late for work today, all his co-workers were dead. As he spoke to me, I saw the second Tower collapse completely. People were jumping out the windows engulfed in flames. After the first blast, people covered with white ash were running up the main streets, to get away from the wave of smoke that was following them. Clusters of men and women were weeping in the streets. I went to Bellevue hospital to donate blood. Thousands of people are doing the same. I am going to volunteer because they are looking for health care workers to help out in the hospitals.

Does the US think they are immune to attack considering what they have done all around the world? 'The chickens are coming home to roost' as Malcolm X said. After reports got back during the Gulf War that the US army were shooting Iraqi’s in the back after they had already laid down their arms and surrendered, I remember General Schwarzkopf saying that the numbers of Iraqi dead didn’t matter to him, they were just "collateral damage".

I just hope this will not be used as an excuse to start a war and kill more women and children. Already the US is looking for scapegoats. It seems the tail will be pinned on Osama Ben Laden. The cable news stations are showing footage of rejoicing on the West Bank, this is obviously meant to inflame people over here. I was surprised however, that many people were remarking that something like this was bound to happen. All areas below Canal Street are evacuated. Quite a bit of transportation and daily activity has been suspended.

Margaret Collins Socialist Alternative, New York

13th September

IT IS two days after the World Trade Centre bombing and New York City even now is reeling from the attack. Police are still restricting movement in and out of the city. I have to pass a police checkpoint to enter my home. The bridges and tunnels are now police and military checkpoints and army tanks were parked in the middle of the city.

...Many people 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.

...The mood is quite complex and varied... Some of the [Socialist Alternative] 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 co-workers 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 to accept his point of view but 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.

Comradely, Margaret Collins

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