The Path to 9/11
Firstly, shouldn’t the “path” to that atrocity have included some reasoning behind the terror strikes, some explanation of America as choice of target?
Secondly, how come the US security experts depicted here knew nothing about Osama Bin Laden when the CIA had funded him in the 1980s?
Thirdly, yes, it was fantastically well made. But it felt uncomfortably like some awful episode of ‘24’, depicting life at CTU when Jack Bauer is on holiday and unable to save the day. This was reinforced by an actress from the series in the role of Condoleezza Rice.
Fourthly, the events of that day have lost none of their ability to shock and upset. It combines so many fears: terrorism, plane crash, tumbling buildings, trapped by fire. The sheer callousness of it all sticks in the throat. But the reconstruction of the Manhattan streets when the towers collapsed had to be the most redundant piece of film-making ever: everyone has the real images of billowing rubble, dust, shredded clothes and paper indelibly imprinted on their minds.
Someone said to me yesterday, quite innocently: “My God, September 11 has been on the radio all day.”
My first reaction was: “Of course, it was September 11, you fool!”
But then I thought about the Rwandan genocide where there were 3,000 victims every day for 100 days – before noon.
And of the 100,000 or so people who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Where are the wall-to-wall drama-documentaries and TV movies about them?
Where are the reconstructions of them kissing their wives goodbye as they head off to work on their final day?
I’m not saying the suffering of September 11 does not deserve to be remembered. Of course it does.
But doesn’t the overwhelming focus on one nation’s suffering suggest we have learnt nothing?
We keep hearing that we value every innocent life the same, but it doesn’t always seem that way in practice.
Until we recognise that, we are destined to keep witnessing events which will be marked every five years by grim films like The Path to 9/11.
:: The Path to 9/11 was made by ABC and was broadcast by the BBC over two nights, September 10 and 11.
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