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Immediate responses: openDemocracys North America editor, Todd Gitlin, writing from Ground Zero with dignity and moral passion. Ariel Dorfman drawing parallels with the Chilean tragedy. Lindsay Waters registering the end of an era of evasion. Godfrey Hodgson wondering whether the US would awake to humility. For Eric Darton, Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros, the link between the architectural fundamentalism of the WTC and the nihilism of its destroyers offers discomfiting truths.
The disaster of 11 September has had a traumatising impact on the global class of business professionals, reported here by one of their number. As existential fear succeeds confident modernity, can a restored idealism help repair the emotional fragments?
A poem from a New Yorker who is not a professional poet, and a statement from a Kenyan who is not a professional writer. They do not know each other, but their responses resonate and echo the feelings of the many.
Even in New York, even after 9/11 and corporate scandal, an atmosphere of frenetic consumerism and hype grips the social elite. Is the cult of the happy ending just too endemic to let go?
The 20th century ushered in a historic era of optimism for the rational, modern future of humanity. As the century fades into history, that modernist dream lies in pieces but new outlines are emerging for a wiser, more hopeful future.
Does America need even more than critical self-examination after its ejection from the previous decade's slumber? An experienced observer argues that a deeper transformation is needed, through the recuperation of art as a source of imaginative truth.
At one of the United States leading universities, 9/11 and the subsequent drive to war impacted on a student community with experience of mobilisation against wage poverty. How did it react to these events in a national atmosphere of conformist patriotism? The complex political and intellectual pattern of an academic environment in time of crisis is examined here from the inside.
Making a clear declaration about major public events is not just wordplay, but an act of civic responsibility. And being attentive to the complex meanings inside such declarations is part of the public intelligence that distinguishes a democratic society. What, then, does it mean to say I am a supporter of the war?
The Janus face of architectural terrorism: Minoru Yamasaki, Mohammad Atta and the World Trade Center
Two years ago, a study of the World Trade Center argued that the ideas embodied in the twin towers creation immense, highly abstract, and distanced from the experience of ordinary life were shared by the terrorists who tried to destroy them. After 11 September, a detailed comparison between the WTCs chief architect and the head of the suicide hijackers provides further chilling evidence of these connective daydreams of domination.
The 11 September crisis in the US may have huge domestic as well as foreign policy consequences. The combination of a sustained war and deepening economic pressures make strong government essential. This is bad news for conservatives.The 11 September, the talking heads agreed, marked the end of irony. Yet nothing could be more ironic than the sea change in American politics and policies since the terror attacks. Prior to 9/11 (as the day is known in America), George W. Bush was leading the most ideologically conservative administration since the Great Depression.
The United States's self-understanding is underpinned by three core elements: immigration, the frontier and exceptionalism. Now, says Godfrey Hodgson, a more complex and diverse world makes a reorientation essential.
The reaction to 9/11 outside the United States has mixed sympathy with intense political criticism that denies the human normality of Americans’ post-disaster emotional cycle. The result is to stifle what is urgently needed, says Todd Gitlin: a global conversation between equals.
On the same date twenty-eight years apart, the two American cities which shaped Ariel Dorfman’s life - Santiago and New York - have now suffered catastrophe. Their terrible fate, he reflects, also offers the chance to repair damaged humanity.
The fourth in Todd Gitlin’s series of reflections hears the echoes of Auden and feels the aftershocks of hatred around Manhattan.
Everyday heroism prompts us to re-think our notions of “heartland.” This is our Americas Editor’s third piece from New York in the aftermath. Now it’s clear: there’s more than one America.
The superpower shakes, and the openness of its domestic society with it. As another New Yorker explains, tension around foreigners and immigrants was immediate and all-too-popular. But there are deeper questions: are innocence and omnipotence compatible?
A day after the US attacks, Max Robbins decided to volunteer in the clear-up effort. This is his personal account.
Our North Americas editor continues his reports from New York.
openDemocracy’s North America editor witnessed the events in New York. This is his first response.