Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The First 24 Hours

11:45 am phone rings from school
Son: hi (crying, sobbing) you are home, you are not in Philadelphia
Father: yeah what made you think I was in Philly?
Son: you said you are traveling today and a plane crashed there
Son: (more sobbing) have they evacuated the hospital
Father: no of course not, was just talking to them all OK

2:45 pm son arrives
Son: they told us at school and principal kept making announcement of updates
Father; any kids with parents on flights?
Son: don’t think so
Father: are you OK?
Son: yeah

3:30 pm NPR Radio carrying BBC reports Jubilations in Egypt
Father: can you believe that, everyone I talked to was so sad
Son: I can’t believe any of the people we know is happy
Father: I know even those who are really pro attacks on Israel are sad and shocked
Son: I hope they are not Muslim, all the media say they are Muslims
Father: I think they are Muslims, possibly even Egyptians
Son: (crying …angry) no no no not Egyptians I hope not, why; all Egyptians I saw like America

8:30 pm George Bush addressed the nation, vows to go after the terrorists and those who harbor them. NPR commentator interprets Bush as vowing to bomb countries that supports them

8:40 pm
Father: what’s wrong?
Son: I feel sick
Son: US will bomb Egypt if it’s Egyptians
Father: no, no don’t worry about that, Egypt is very close to US, both are against terrorism
Son: but Bush said
Father, interrupting: He never meant that, he is talking about places like Iraq and Talban, don’t worry
Son: ah OK but why were they saying people in Egypt were happy
Father: I don’t know, it angers me so much too, I remember when Sadat who was a president of Egypt, he started a peace initiative with Israel, most people supported it, but western media especially BBC were saying people in Egypt oppose peace. You know news reporting is always weird
Son: this could have never happened in Egypt with all the security and army
Father: of course it can, this man I just told you about was shot right in the middle of the highest possible security. Remember when we went to Cairo and I showed you that big wide street and the tomb across from the seating area and ….

10:00 pm
Father: OK enough TV, off to bed
Son: I want to watch. Why would a Muslim do that?
Father: it is a sick fanatical mind son, there are sick people in every culture and every religion. Remember Timothy McVeigh, he was Christian
Son: the one they just killed, yes I know. Why do you think it is Muslims?
Father: attack on Pentagon, the military and the suicide bit
Son: but Israelis too do suicide attacks against the Palestinians
Father: no they don’t, there is a lot of horrible things the Israelis do to Palestinians, but no suicide stuff nowadays

1:30 am
Son: I can’t sleep
Father: it’s OK, come here, don’t worry about it
Son: You are sure they won’t bomb Cairo
Father: yeah 100%

5:00 am
Son: I will get up now
Father: try to get some sleep
Son: ……………
Father: ………….

6:00 am
Son: well I am getting up, the alarm clock will go off in a bit anyhow
Father: OK
Father: I don’t want you getting into rows at school over this
Son: I only talk politics when other people attack Palestinians or Muslims
Father: please don’t get into it today
Son: what if someone says it is always Muslims who are doing this
Father: tell them this is a racist statement
Father: promise
Son: OK

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