note: all AP photos.

20 september, 2001

i dont know when i'll be coming back to the united states. perhaps i'll just travel for a few years. maybe i'll settle down somewhere. but i'm not returning to live in the US for a while.

the united states, as of this writing, seems full of terror. and so "Terrorism" is just that: its not the act that is intended to cause damage, but the reaction to the act. its psychological.

television, that great distillery of fear and abstract paranoia, doesnt help this much.

Terrorism is a form of marketing.

while i was here in france, the world trade center was demolished by the fabulous flying holy warriors. the news came more or less as events in new york were happening (it was afternoon here) and listening to it all in french added a curious twist of objectivity to the experience.

my return flight from paris to california (via united airlines) was postponed. i was told the first available flight would be on the 9th of october. i didnt really feel much like going back anyway. i've spent more time travelling in the last 6 months than not and so i dont really get homesick anymore. so i decided to just stay in france rather than swim upstream against the current Panic. now that the decision is made i have to set up a new painting studio and reorganize my life, which i look forward to doing. i have my book to write and i've already received a couple of orders for paintings to sell, so the boat seems stable despite the windy weather.

understanding other people is hard to do (this is all that we humans have, anyway: the ability to understand each other).. the intelligent acts of the terrorists were not something i would do, but having visited israel and spent last christmas-day lunchtime with a member of the PLO (please see christmas \\ 2000 \\ bethlehem), i can understand how this could happen.

for many palestinians the difference between the united states and israel is thin, if existant. the united states played an important role in the oslo agreement which allowed israel to move into the territories they now occupy. this support cost the palestinians and their brothers a great deal. the members of the PLO that i have spoken with understand that the united states has made efforts to be bilateral. but not all palestinians - nor other members of other cultures - see this distinction.

this isnt news, and the acts of September 11th wont "change our world." what it will do change our sense of fear, introducing a slow psychological effect on american culture. fear will rule common courtesy, surveillance will increase, enforcement will prevail, and the right that might establishes will spread over the globe. this is a natural process that had already taken hold.

for me, the events of september 11 gave me courage to change my life. five or six aspects lined up that provided me with the opportunity to change. one of them was the fact that i'm able to make a living as a writer and a painter. one of them was the fact that i speak a little french. one of them was the fact that i have a friend here. and one of them was the terror attacks on the world trade center.

Terrorism is a form of political marketing. i dont buy it, especially not when the price is surveillance, fear, and a degradation of quality of life.

and so, saddened by the actions and reactions, i choose not to live next door to Terror. i suppose i understand the attacks as a chance to rebuild. its the beauty of fire.