Have the young unwittingly become mere voyeurs?
Stabroek News
September 25, 2001

Dear Editor,

A recent conversation with a group of secondary school students about the deliberate, diabolic acts of terrorism perpetrated against the US on September 11, has caused me to be perturbed.

As we chatted, it dawned upon me that the bombardment of multiple-replay TV images of that fateful day: a jet slamming into the second WTC tower; horrified people frantically fleeing through the streets of NYC; bodies free-falling from the towers, arms flailing helplessly; the Pentagon partially in ruins; the dramatic collapse of the twin towers; the mass of twisted steel and rubble in Ground Zero - a burial ground for the innocent thousands; phone recordings of desperate last messages from family members about to die on the planes; the stories of hundreds walking daily from hospital to hospital in NYC forlornly searching for loved ones, presumed `missing', rather than `dead', have served to desensitise significant segments of our local population, particularly children, instead of sensitising them as I had expected, through a process of empathy.

How is it that we can look at such graphic images, hear of such incomprehensible and crippling loss, and dismiss it as quickly as the most dramatic scenes of a favourite action movie? And so many of us seem so far away from contemplating the economic, diplomatic and political fallout - that our world virtually entered into a new and still yet unfathomable era on September 11. I hesitate to conclude that the views of the students I was chatting with, to some extent, may mirror those of adults in their own social environment.

It gives a chilling premonition to consider that some may have unwittingly become mere voyeurs to the devastating loss and numbing grief of another nation - a nation whose culture, for better and for worse, impacts pervasively upon our very own!

Yours faithfully,

Beverly Conway