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"Letter-Letter 307"
September 19th, 2001

"Attempting to....."
"Reactions to NYC WTC"  by Several People
"Cheap 256MB Memory Boards"
"More Reactions to NYC WTC"  by Several People
"Truth is More Powerful than Propaganda"
"Gettysburg Address"
"But Unique is More Interesting....."
"Bankers Are a Bunch of..."  by HHE
"The Latest from Maine"  by Rose

"Attempting to....."     [Top of page]

Since last week, I've gone from thought to thought, and from emotion to emotion... getting ideas that I want to write about, but which go from timely to outdated in 24 hours.......  At this point, I'm not sure what to say (overall) really, but there are a couple of things that are persistently begging to be put on the screen.  One thing in particular that I acutely feel, is at least partially due to my status of being part of a tiny minority here in Japan.  It makes me very nervous when I see anyone being attacked on sight for their race and/or nationality.  For the first couple of days after the attacks on New York, I was in a vengeful mood myself... a vengeful mood to be sure, but still I can't understand how someone could take a gun and just go shoot someone for no other reason than that their nationality seems to match that of a criminal/terrorist/madman/whacko... I mean... if that's all it takes for justification for murder, the answer is the total annihilation of the human race.  In having been in and out of a large number of different groups of people on both sides of the Pacific, I've found it to be quite true that "There's one in every crowd" - both in a positive and a negative sense.  Justice is one thing, but revenge against a terrorist act directed at the wrong people isn't revenge at all, but rather just another act of terror.

Another thing I've been thinking about is how people view war depending on their age/experience.  There are any number of variations to be sure, but I have noticed a number of people in the following three categories:

1) People who were in a war - experienced extensive fighting, and know firsthand how horrible it is... they have, more often than not, expressed a desire for no more of it.  At least most of the people I've spoken with have.

2) People who were children during the war - they were not at the front lines, but they suffered from the effects of war - and often have a very deep resentment towards the group of people from another land who they view as being totally and purely to blame for the hardship they experienced.  No group of people fighting a war tell their own children "We're partly at fault - the other side also has their reasons".  Children tend to take it all at face value - the struggle is good (us) vs. evil (them), with absolutely no gray area at all.  100% good versus 100% evil.  Some of the people I've met who fall into this category are raging racists and nationalists - and would love to go to war against whatever "evil country" caused them so much pain as children.  Some of these people have a fathomless hatred of my visage - not for anything I have done, but for something that someone with a similar face as mine did.

3) And then there are young people who have not experienced any direct and up-close effects of war.  For them it's almost entirely up to their imagination/education.  You find the full spectrum here - from a complete and fanatical belief/faith that this or that war needs to be fought, to a complete and fanatical belief/faith that war is fundamentally evil and should not even be considered.  There's something to be said for both arguments - being without defense invites destruction, and being overly destructive turns people into monsters.  Balance on the high ground above and between the opposing pools would be best, but is nearly impossible, and so many dive or fall into one or the other pool.

It's that way with racism... in my first years here, when a local would say something like "You Americans are so..." with every word dripping with poison, I would respond in kind by saying "Well, you Japanese are...".  The attempt being to overpower the poison with stronger poison... retaliate against being hit with a missile by firing back a bigger missile.....  The result is nearly always that both sides of the conflict walk away unhappy, with one side generally thinking that they have "won" by inflicting more damage on the other, and the "losing" side walking away thinking how to get revenge.  The fundamental defect inherent in this type of conflict was pointed out to me in a book by a Chinese woman who had been living in the UK for half her life.  I've forgotten the exact wording she used (I wish I could quote the book - if I could only remember the title or the author's name...), but she said how it is often difficult not to fall into a racist's trap by responding in kind - and then just perpetuating the misunderstandings.  Personally, I've made it a point since then to attack what the racist is saying... not accuse them of being from a "bad race", but accuse them of being an evil human being and in fact a shame to their country - not a patriot, as they usually claim to be.     [Top of page]

"Reactions to NYC WTC"     [Top of page]

I've received a lot of mail about this... including some quotes I'm putting in here from other groups, which can identified as such by the extra "G-" in front of the pseudonym (Guest).

Subject: Shock and Disbelief
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
From: G-CBB  [Canada]

I am in total shock from viewing the images of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon today.  Switching on the TV at 10am, the first couple of hours were like watching a made in Hollywood disaster film - aware that it was real but remote at the same time.

It was during a replay, with a close-up of people hanging out of windows - followed by the implosion of the building... in my mind I switched to that video of the wedding in Israel when the dance floor collapsed and the three floors imploded.  I got the most empty feeling in my stomach and had to shut the TV off.  For the next couple of hours, walking the mall, having to talk to strangers, yet I still had a very weak feeling.

To all of my American friends, my deepest prayers and sympathy.

I can not think of suitable words, so will close for now.


Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
From: KCM  [US]

It's pretty scary out here.  The World Trade Center has toppled due to planes crashing into it and two other planes were hijacked - one crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed in Pittsburgh.

I am still trying to process the whole thing and I hope that everything's going to be ok.  I'm not too optimistic about it at all.


Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
From: GBA  [US]

Would like to know how everyone feels about the terrorist attacks today.  We sat at work and watched the news all morning in disbelief - wondering how and why?  Thousands must have been killed.  My husband was near to where the plane crashed in PA.  I called just to hear his voice and to know that he was alright.  Wondering if this will lead to war - how will our lives change?  Still in shock over it all.  The most hurtful news is the pictures of other countries celebrating.  Why?


Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:57:39
From: G-FNM  [US]

This has been one of the most stressful days in my life.  I can only remember the beautiful sunny, Saturday morning flying into NYC a few weekends ago!  It seems surrealistic.  ..............


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001  -0300
From: G-AGN  [Argentina]
Subject: Condolences

I can't find the appropriate words for what has happened.  I don't even know how to say in English the things that I do know how to say in Spanish.  So, I'll just say that I am terribly sorry and I'll be praying for all the dead, the wounded and the ones who are not directly affected, but all the same are suffering for this terrible loss.  I've been in New York several times and I know it will never be the same.  ..........


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001  +0200
From: G-FMR  [France]
Subject: devastating news

I was devastated yesterday and still think I am in a nightmare.... I sat in front of the TV and couldn't do anything but stare at the screen and cry.....  So much horror, so much suffering, so many tears... I want you to know everybody here in France is appalled and horrified.  The US is in mourning today, but it could have been any of our countries, it might be any of us tomorrow....  The future is at stake here.


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001  +1200
From: G-DPN  [New Zealand]
Subject: Terrorism

At such a time, there is nothing one can say.  All the words like appalling, devastating, atrocious and so on are merely words.  So are sorry, sympathy, fellow-feeling.....

My sincere condolences at the emptiness this has no doubt caused.


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001
From: KCM  [US]

Everything is going back to semi-normal here.  I really can't stand the idea of "normality" right now, to go on as if nothing has happened, so I keep on checking for updates and getting more and more worried by the direction things seem to be going in.....

There have been reports of Arab Americans getting harassed as angry people are looking for someone to blame.  C-span let on some blatantly racist people who declared that they would "get" anyone who "looks different."  Those kinds of comments make my heart stop, because it's like adding fuel to the fire - creating chaos as you fight innocent people because you can't fight anyone else?


It's all just incredibly sad.....


This whole letter (LL-307) is basically about New York and the aftermath, but here's an intermission of bland office politics stuff so you can... catch your breath?     [Top of page]

"Cheap 256MB Memory Boards"     [Top of page]

Again - in light of everything that's going on, I feel like it's trivial to put the office politics junk in here... but then again, I also believe that there are connections between just about everything - or parallels - and so the minor details of everyday boring life can carry a lot of meaning at times... depending on how you look at it.  JW Inc. lost about a day and half of work due to being hit by the latest computer worm, but other than one of the computers crashing (Mr. Aruchu's), no data was lost... just a lot of productivity.

I don't know why I bother, but memory is so cheap now that I can't stop myself from trying to help those technical dimwits at JW, Inc. to see the (memory) light... thus the following letter:

September 17th, 2001  (To: Hetakuso-san / cc: Mr. Zangyo)


Excuse this being a long letter again, but as the issue is clouded in non-comprehension and office politics, there is nothing for it but to spell things out clearly - for the sake of the company.

As it now stands, you can add both Kakoii-san and Hone-san to the list of people with 256MB of RAM in their computers (see attached Excel file).  I suppose I shouldn't have just bought that additional 256MB of memory last Friday, but I trust the company will reimburse me for the Y2,919 (including tax) that it cost to upgrade both Kakoii-san and Hone-san's computers.  Increasing worker efficiency quickly pays for itself - we're saving money here, not wasting it.  (For less than this office-wide hardware upgrade would cost, we threw away money on Acrobat 5.0 - about Y30,000 I believe... even though we already have Acrobat 4.0, which does everything we need it to do.)

As for my strongly wanting to upgrade Ms. Kakoii's computer - it directly affects my job in that her work often comes to me for final proofing, and if she is unable to properly make effective use of her computer, it wastes both her and my time.

Hone-san's work never comes to me, but her computer has been operating very slowly, and since Eigodekinu-san, Howlong-san, Nasakenai-san, Uragi-san, Ochitsuita-san, and Kakoii-san all have 256MB, I figured it would be the correct political move to also include Hone-san with proper attention to her computer.

Shinyosezu-san and Kijiman-san never complain, but their computers really should be upgraded as well - the only thing holding us back is politics, and as we all know, office politics are a destructive force, and not conductive to improving the performance of the company as a whole.

Zangyo-san - if there are political problems, I would be happy to buy two 256MB boards for your computer, quietly install them when no one is looking, and then perhaps you can charge the Y6,000 as a business lunch or some such thing that the accounting department can live with.  The two 128MB boards that would come out of your machine could then go into Kijiman-san's and Shinyosezu-san's computers, upgrading both of them to 256MB.  Y6,000 to upgrade three computers is not expensive.  These are machines that we use day in, day out, all day long....

The extra memory really is cheap at the moment, and really does improve the overall performance of the computers.  The extra memory improves all aspects of the computers performance, but to give you a specific example, having 256MB of memory (better still, 512MB) enables better utilization of useful technology such as dictionaries.  Contrary to popular misconception, there has never been a problem with the dictionary software we have - the problem has been that our computers don't have enough memory to deal with it at the same time as other heavy applications such as Outlook and MS-Word.

I could go on, but the bottom line is just this - it is absolutely crazy not to invest such a small sum of money towards improving both worker efficiency and morale.  Any excuses against this are simply extra water in the bottom of the boat - slowing us down and making the ship less seaworthy.  Do we want to sail, or do we want to drown?


I got paid for that memory the following day, but it was sort of non-verbally in the air that if I buy any more memory (I've bought a total of about 2.5GB over the past year - mostly in 128MB boards), they might not pay me for it.  It never ceases to amaze me how racists would rather see their own ship capsize than accept help from another race.  I mean... come on... let's be human here and learn to live together.....     [Top of page]

"More Reactions to NYC WTC"     [Top of page]

Out on the trains, I read an article in PC Magazine about the future of computers and technology in general - and there was a sentence that really jumped off the page at me - a quote from Peter Schwartz that goes as follows:

"In the next few decades, I do believe people will kill each other in large numbers as a direct result of the advancement of science."

I thought - "Wow... there it is!"  That's something that has been bothering me about the destruction of the World Trade Center towers - it's seemed to me to be as much of an attack on technology as on the poor people who were in the structures at the time of the attack.  As the gap between those with technology and those without grows, how do the people who don't have it feel as they watch those with technology speeding ever further ahead of them?  Desperation is gasoline on the fire of discontent?  I'm not trying to justify anything here - but I do wonder exactly where this wind of violent malcontent is blowing from.....

Since a lot of mention has been made of Pearl Harbor, I'll mention the reaction here in Japan to that.  The people I've spoken with think it's an unfair comparison.  Pearl Harbor at least was military against military.  I've explained to people here that the feeling of being suddenly attacked by another country is certainly the same, and that I don't think people are exactly equating the deliberate murder of innocent civilians with an attack on a military installation.  That explanation seems to be more or less accepted.

As long as we're on the topic of Pearl Harbor, the thing that people here always say was a contributing factor to their decision to attack - was America cutting off Japan's supply of oil.  That's not a good enough reason to start a war, but still it's a cause.  We would all be doing all of us a favor to understand the whole picture.  Sometimes you have no other choice than to fight, but if fighting is indeed the best thing - you should go into battle knowing what motivates the enemy.  Short of total annihilation, both sides must realize that either they will have to fight each other for eternity, or they will have to learn to live with one another somewhere down the line.

Subject: is this war?
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001
From: MJM  [Dubai / Japan]

I am also shocked at the news, and as I watched TV for eight hours - I thought I must be having a bad dream, and not something from real life, but it really happened.  I could only think that if the superpower America couldn't stop this, then no one in this world is safe.  Dubai is a very peaceful city, but if in America, then everywhere.  I am really shocked - even yesterday I did not feel well.  I think this is an incredibly big thing, and if America responds with war, then no doubt the third world war will begin, which is not good for everyone.  We are a civilized people - we do not want war.  I think we all want peace as common humanity living on this earth.  But it is really sad what happened... anyhow this is a very complicated topic.  It will take time, but we have to think hard about where we are going from here.


Subject: Re: InPlainText
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001
From: MMH  [US]

The horror of the terrorist attack is still being strongly felt here.  Everyone is giving blood.  The blood banks are crowded and you must schedule several days in advance.  Everyone is also giving money to the Red Cross to help the families of those hurt or killed.  The need for action here is very great.  The more level headed are doing their best to calm the fanatics.


Subject: Dose of MMH 09/14/01
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001  -0700
From: MMH  [US]

Monday I got up early to do some accounting and received a warning message from my computer.  If there is anything I have learned when it comes to my computer, it is that I am NOT a technological genius.  I have seen a lot of error messages, and a lot of them I know how to fix.  But, in all my years of working on computers, I've never seen an error message like this... so I shut down my computer, cursed, and then left a phone message with my computer fix-it man, who at moments like these has god-like powers.  Of course nobody works on Labor Day, which this time meant me as well.  I crawled onto the couch and slept a few more hours.  We basically did nothing all day but relax.

The next day, I drove the computer into Seattle and dropped it off with my fix it man.  Next was a visit to a good friend and client, who had a graph for me to work on - which I did in his office.

My computer was down for the next week and I was doing my best to keep business going by working on my projects via my other two computers.  I did not keep track of events like I normally do, as I was frantically attempting to catch up on my backlogged workload.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, I was getting ready to take Aabbb to work.  Opening up the garage door I heard my neighbor calling me over to his garage where he was watching the television.  He said he just saw the tower fall.  I asked what tower.  "The World Trade Center Tower", he said.

"Two airplanes hit it."
"And another one hit the Pentagon."
"Maybe you should have Aabbb call in before she goes to work."

So I ran inside and told Aabbb the news.  She was as incredulous as I was, but we both decided she would go to work anyway.  Olympia was functioning normally, except nobody but those who worked at the capital were being allowed inside.  I spent half the day watching the news.  I was worried sick.  The headquarters for the Graphic Artists Guild is only a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.  The subway station at the WTC being a close junction.  Meanwhile, I could not communicate via e-mail because my computer was still in the shop.  I felt very cut off.  I tried calling once, but the lines were busy.  (In the following days, I learned that the office had been evacuated shortly after the planes hit.  Also, everyone who worked there called in and was accounted for.)

Finally I got my computer back, but I lost months worth of projects and have tons of catch-up to do.  One of the items I failed to back up was my e-mail list.  I had at one time over 120, but I am now down to a couple of dozen names of friends, family and a few pen-pals who wrote to me out of concern for my long absence.  Hopefully, the rest will contact me over time.

My worries and concerns seem very trivial right now.....  Regular television broadcasting has been suspended, and all stations are broadcasting the frustratingly slow rescue efforts.  I am feeling saturated, but I find I cannot go an hour or two without turning on the radio.  Like so many others I am hoping to hear some good news.


Subject: Re: LL-306
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001
From: ATR  [US]

My brother in-law works four blocks from the World Trade Center - luckily he is fine.  They arrested an Arab in Seaside Heights which is not far from me.  We are flying our flags and putting car lights on for freedom.  Also at 7pm,  people go out with flashlights and candles to show support.  This has been a horrible experience for all Americans, and I hope justice will prevail.


A friend of a friend, Len (as the letter states below), would like to meet people to exchange letters with.  I'm including his address in here for that reason.  I'll assign him a pseudonym for future letters.

Subject: Re: Hello!
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 21:28:47 +0100
From: "Len" <Len@lcorby.freeserve.co.uk> "Len"  [UK]

Thanks for the replies - I would love for you to mention me to all your contacts.  As I said in my original letter, so far I have not had much success in obtaining pen pals, but then I have only just started, so it is early yet.

Here in the UK we were horrified by the scenes unfolding on our TV sets, almost as if it was a Hollywood film production.  Immediately our hearts and prayers went out to all those families who lost someone in the disaster.  By way of showing you how close it is to us here, we were told today, by someone at church, that the daughter of  some friends of ours was on the subway going to visit the WTC when she was made to get off the train because it had just happened.....

With regard to the response, we are all praying that the President will take a step back before reacting.  It is right that the culprits should be brought to justice, but it must be seen by the civilized world to in fact be justice and not just a knee-jerk reaction.


Subject: Re: LL-306 World Trade Center/Pentagon
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001  -0500
From: HHE (US/Texas)

I was struck by a sense of deja vu on 911 day.  I was feeling very poorly due to a sinus upset.  My old Marine friend called to tell me to turn on the TV.  There was a sense of disbelief, anger, shock, horror, sadness, etc.  On December 7th, 1941, a friend and I were sitting at the ice cream counter of a drug store at the corner of Nolan and New Braunfels in San Antonio.  It was after church, and we were school buddies - sophomores in high school - having ten cent chocolate sodas.  The announcement came over a radio behind the counter somewhat to this effect - "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the news that our naval installations in Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands have been attacked by Japanese naval forces".  There was disbelief that this could be happening, then anger.  We didn't know if the attack was successful, as it was, as news was strictly censored almost immediately.  Aabbb made a racist remark about how our forces would get those "little yellow b------s in 3 to 6 months."  How naive we were.  Aabbb was wounded on Iwo Jima and 6,800 of his buddies were killed in that 32 day campaign.

If TV had been around and if reporting had been as free as in the Vietnam conflict, that war might have ended in a conditional, rather than unconditional, surrender as actually happened.  The President has announced we are at war, but I wonder if the American people will be able to stay the course.  This war will not be a high-tech one, but more like the Pacific island hopping campaigns that were meat grinders with high casualties.  As was, to a lesser degree, the European hedge row campaign that was so frighteningly intense.  As casualties mount and bloody images emerge, can Americans stomach it?  The grunts and Marines can do it, but the folks back home may lose their stomach for it.  I hope not, as people who do these atrocities against, not armed combatants, but unarmed civilians are utterly ruthless and without conscience.  To kill an infidel unbeliever and die doing so is to elevate oneself - according to their perversion of the Islamic religion.  I cannot understand those who kill in the name of God, but my predecessors in Ireland and Scotland have done a good job of it.  In the Middle East, you see the same thing between Palestinians and Jews.  And the Balkans have been going at it for at least a thousand years and that takes us back to the Crusades.  It seems we have a savage bent, doesn't it?  There is no "Good War" as that is an oxymoron.

I'm making myself feel low, so I must quit.  We have ignored history and are, thus, doomed to repeat it.  Not my words, but very wise ones.


Subject: 17/09/01
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001  +0200
From: SAJ  [US / Holland]

September 11, 2001.  A date that adds up to 911, the emergency number used in the US.  A day each of us will remember just what we were doing when we learned of the attacks on the WTC in NYC and the Pentagon in Washington DC.  Just as we remember what we were doing when the space shuttle blew up or when JFK was killed.

I received a phone call from a friend telling me something was going on in the US and I might want to turn on CNN - which I did, and a minute or two later I saw the second plane hit, live.  As I saw the second plane fly behind one of the towers I thought "What kind of plane is that?  Isn't that an airline jet?  What in hell is it doing?"  The next 15 minutes or so I couldn't move as tears streamed down my face.

Knowing my family doesn't watch TV at that time of day, I called my Mom in the States, then my in-laws and my husband here in The Netherlands.  As many did as soon as they turned on the TV, I wasn't able to move away from the screen.  With each passing day, the horror of it all seems to set in deeper and deeper.  And as I watched (and continue to watch), the questions just seem to pile up.  At first I wondered if anyone else was asking the same questions because the answers to my questions were very slow in coming, or not answered at all as I switched from station to station.  Some of these questions take away from the act itself... such as what about the daily crime that goes on within the city?  Has it slowed down out of respect, or is it worse because of so many down at the site of ground zero?  Will Americans turn on one another because of their race as they did in WWII?  Will the American people and the people of the world stick together in their opposition to terrorism?  And I wonder about safety for those of us in other countries.  How safe are Americans outside of the US.  Even if we are in friendly countries, are we safe?

My heart goes out to all of those people who have lost friends and loved ones in this act of violence.  America has pulled together, but will this be short-lived or lasting?  Why has the president not yet spoken to the people about not turning on each other within the country?  I am not so glued to the TV this week, but I still have it on all waking hours... I haven't slept much, and my thoughts have mainly been on the attack ever since I turned on the TV last Tuesday afternoon.  My emotions have been on a roller coaster.  Horror, fear, sadness and guilt... guilt each time I think of things such as: Will Aabbb and I be able to make it to the States in December?  I wish I knew another American here - just to be with another American.  While those things may be normal to think, I find myself feeling guilty for even thinking such thoughts at a time when so many people are going through so much horror and grief .


Subject: Re: LL-306
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001
From: MLL  [US]

I've been ignoring e-mail for several months... I had some computer problems due to a lightning strike.....  Did you know Florida is the lightning capitol of the world?  More lightning strikes here than anywhere, the local news tells me.... I believe it.  Now I have surge protectors on the phone lines.

At any rate, I scanned through your recent letter and the interoffice communications part gave me a headache.  I don't think I could work in that kind of atmosphere.  I certainly wouldn't make it in Japan.  All the politely veiled sneers and jabs... I thought of all the wasted time and energy and wanted to take a nap.  It's a good thing you get paid by the hour.  You must be exhausted at the end of the day just having to deal with the politics.  Ugh.

The recent events in New York and the Pentagon have the whole United States reeling.  For others across the globe, I would like to point out some images that you may not have seen yet on CNN.  This weekend as we shopped and went about our little business, everywhere , people were dressed in patriotic colors, red, white, and blue.  There are red, white, and blue ribbons streaming from the antennas of most cars.  We went to get some supplies from a local craft store - they were totally out of blue ribbon.  In front of shops, there are signs such as "God Bless America", "United We Stand", "Pray for the families of Victims", etc.  There have been candle light vigils.  Attendance is up at every church.  I don't think I have ever been so proud to be an American.  And that seems to be the prevailing feeling.

I can't begin to put in words how appalled I am at the senseless demolition of so many lives.  Since the  explosion, there has been 24/7 coverage of the scene.  I have two teen-age girls 15 and 16.  It breaks my heart to see them struggle to try to make sense out of this.  Of course, there is none.....

I was off work the day it happened.  I was sitting down to finish some sewing, had my favorite morning news show on, a cup of coffee, and couldn't believe my eyes.  I wanted to believe the first plane was an accident, but watched as the second plane hit and I knew this was no random incident.  As the day unfolded, I just became numb, and still am.

Let me end on this note.  As Americans, they have broken our heart, but they haven't broken us.


Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001  +0400
From: G-ORL  [Russia]
Subject: Revenge

Mass media are full of NY explosions, reactions of politicians, pros and cons of the war, etc.  I am afraid of the war in Afghanistan - no matter how competent American army men are, combatting guerillas that hide in the mountains seems almost hopeless.  I have talked to a few people who participated in the war there - they were very pessimistic.  If the army is willing to spare the "peaceful population", then the operation seems doomed.  Those who look quite peaceful in the daytime pick up their kalashnikovs at night - teenagers of 12 may be as dangerous as adults. Besides, these people have practically nothing they would be sorry to lose and the kamikaze psychology is inborn with them...  Well, I am not much of a politician.


There have been interviews with both Japanese and Russians with experience in Afghanistan on Japanese TV.  The Russians all say exactly what G-ORL says above, and one Japanese guy who lived there for twenty years compared them to Japan's (former) samurai - saying that they consider it an honor to die fighting.....

Subject: Revenge
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001  +0000
From: PBU  [Pakistan / UK]

After the explosions in America, some white people are turning against Asians.  My cousin is from Pakistan.  He lives in the USA.  Two days ago he was shot dead by a white man.  He is innocent - has never harmed anyone, a simple man.  It seems that American revenge has started, be careful.  On the same day, an Indian man was killed on the road.  Several other Asians were attacked and beaten up by whites.  I fear there will be a civil war in America, between whites and non-whites.


Subject: Hello!!!!from HK
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001
From: HKJ  [Japan / Hong Kong]

Do you remember me?  I'm the woman who went to work for Cathay Pacific~.  I'm still in HK, flying around... (I know I was advised by you and others to find a different job... hahaha).

I was also home in HK on that day (9/11).  I was watching TV too.  I didn't sleep much that night.  I can't imagine how sad you must feel.....

I have flights for LA and Bahrain next month.  I'm so scared.....


Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001
From: G-MHE

.....  "The point is that things are never as they seem and never straightforward.  Including terrorism."  ....."

Ah... now this is what I would have hoped to hear more of... some call to look at cause and effect.  Things that happen - generally do so for a (good/bad) reason.  Bad things generally happen for bad reasons, but still there is scientific cause and effect.  I think we should all be looking very hard at the larger picture.  It's my personal opinion that it takes a supreme effort to take in the whole picture... but that the effort should be made.  Ours is not a simple world - if it were, what would be the point of being here?.......

Subject: Re: LL-306
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001
From: KCM  [US]

How are you?  In LA we are ok, and somehow returning to "normalcy" - whatever that is.  I am feeling rather out of it, but my life is coming together slowly.  I may have a job in the school's newspaper design department and I am going to to try to get my old job back.  ................................

Hate crimes have been up in America and flag wavers are everywhere.  Ignorant people shout at middle Eastern people to go home even as they claim that they are harassing them in the name of "freedom."  I would so love to show them what true loss of freedom is, to be bought and sold, to never know what it is to be full because there is a famine in your village and chaos in the cities because the leader has ordered you to revolt and if you dare show a difference in opinion you are beaten as a "traitor."  The patriotism or should I say nationalism terrifies me because I'm afraid of what it may mean.  Even some news anchors have begun to endorse racial profiling... how many freedoms are we going to give up in the name of security?

I think that my roommates and I are the only few pacifists around.  I know that war is most likely inevitable but I wish there were a better way and that people were more rational.

This weekend is the last weekend of our summer before school starts and there were supposed to be frat parties and just chilling before the stress filled frenzy begins.  I don't know if those things are still on.....


Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001
From: G-CDE  [Canada]
Subject: Re: New WTC

"..... he had it designed to withstand a jet plane...  What I can't figure out is how that jet... a loaded missile in disguise... just burst right into the building and went right through it, if that was the case.  I'm still wondering..."


But it didn't go right through!  And the building didn't fall down!  (Not until the steel had been weakened by the intense heat of the prolonged raging fires.)  It contained the plane other than the pieces that blew out the sides when the full fuel tanks exploded.  If the planes had come FROM San Francisco and not been going TO San Francisco, maybe the towers would still be standing.  Even so, the fact that they stood as long as they did after the planes smashed into them saved the lives of most(?) of the people in the buildings who were lucky enough to be on the floors BELOW the impact sites.  If the towers had fallen at the time of the impact, the death toll would be two or three times higher.....  No, don't blame the buildings, they were well designed, and they stood there long enough to save a lot of lives.  Another thing to consider is that an accidental impact would likely have been at a much lower speed.  Who would imagine that someone would fly a properly functioning jet plane at full speed directly into the structures?  Also, jet planes in 1970 were considerably smaller than 767's.     [Top of page]

"Truth is More Powerful than Propaganda"     [Top of page]

A quick disclaimer here - I don't agree with G-FNM's tone - which is obvious from my response that follows the quote below, but I want to say so up front here lest someone reads G-FNM's words and scrolls down without reading my response.

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001  -0400
From: G-FNM  [US]
Subject: Re: World Leaders

.....  I had nightmares most of last night after watching TV showing angry Muslims shouting anti-freedom threats, and vowing that should we get bin Laden there will be millions more to take his place.  This is sinister beyond anything freedom has faced in the past.  ....................

Historically, true freedom is something people have not generally had, and there are no end of terrible examples of warfare inflicted on innocent people in the past.  I abhor fanatical religious propaganda, but I can't agree that this is more evil than anything that has been before.  Please excuse me for saying so, but statements like "This is sinister beyond anything freedom has faced in the past." could be said to be equal and opposite propaganda!  It's a natural reaction of course... but in the long and very sorry history of the human race, demonizing the opponent is nothing new - understanding the complete picture would be however.  Never have people had as much access to information, and yet most people are ignoring it in favor of casual entertainment and simplistic TV news.

Demonizing the opponent will not vanquish them... every step away from the unemphasized truth of whatever - only weakens your position.  There is great power in truth.  This is where propagandists shoot themselves in the feet.  In an attempt to strengthen their position, they stretch the truth that would be in their favor and hide the truth that would weaken them... not understanding that both actions in fact undermine what would have been the high ground if they had only stuck with the truth.  Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was/is quite powerful - not because he overemphasized, but because he didn't.  In case anyone's interested, here's the speech:

Gettysburg Address     [Top of page]

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

"But Unique is More Interesting....."     [Top of page]

One of the problems with living in Japan is that I've found that people overseas are generally eager to hear about unusual things here, but don't seem to want to hear about anything that seems ordinary and likely to found in other parts of the world.  So... (as the following quote from 1865 indicates) I found it interesting to see that this state of affairs has existed right back to when the first Westerners came...:

From "The Journal of Francis Hall - Kanagawa and Yokohama - 1859 - 1866

Saturday, January 28, 1865

....... My friend Dr. Lindau, who has just returned from Paris says that a modest man who goes home from Japan desirous only to tell the truth, is listened to with no interest after the sensation stories of less scrupulous travellers.

"Bankers Are a Bunch of..."     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: LL-306
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001  -0500
From: HHE (US/Texas)

I read the message from SZS about bankers being a bunch of jerks, and I thought about what I started telling my friends approximately ten years ago when banks started merging and doing idiotic things (allowing you to write 100 checks without charge, but charging $1.00 per deposit after eight deposits!  Go figure.  Thought it would be the opposite).  Anyway, the saying was this - "If you ever need a heart transplant, make sure it's a heart from an upper bank executive because it won't have been used very much."  These days, I have substituted HMO executive for Bank executive.


"The Latest from Maine"     [Top of page]

Subject: The Latest from Maine
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001
From: Rose  [US]

Hope all is well in your part of the world.  There has been such an eerie quiet this past week, like we're all poised on the edge of something big happening.  I guess we're all on edge waiting to hear the latest about terrorists and the probability of war.

We just returned from a whirlwind trip to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania).  The story surrounding it is quite complex, but what it boils down to is that we went there to have the final closing on my mother-in-law's house to sell it.  We looked into the cost of flying but it was prohibitive so we opted to drive down one day, do the closing on the house the next day, and then drive home the following day.  It's a nine hour drive one-way, so it was a draining trip to say the least.

My mother-in-law lived in this house for 62 years.  She was the original owner and it's a row-home that was built in 1939.  I don't know if you know what row-homes are, but they are a series of houses built side by side for an entire city block.  Each home shares a common wall with the one next door, all built in a row.

Anyway, my mother-in-law suffers from Alzheimer's disease.  We can't pinpoint exactly when her symptoms began but I can tell you that for three years we've been trying to get her some help.  She lived alone and refused any outsiders into her life.  Therefore, anyone who wasn't family was a stranger to her... and my husband is her only relative.  She was not competent to take care of herself, but the city agencies governing rights for the elderly told us we could not legally do anything to get her help, or get her into a home, if she did not consent to our assistance. Which she didn't.  In March of this year she started a fire in her kitchen, ostensibly to cook something.  In her state of dementia her mind told her she needed to build a fire to cook over.  She did quite a lot of damage to the home and ended up in a mental hospital where she was determined (finally) to be incompetent.  She had let all her insurance lapse so we had to pay to fix the home ourselves.  She is now happily settled into a special care facility for strictly Alzheimer's patients - it's a beautiful place and, more importantly, she is safe and we don't have to worry about her hurting herself or someone else, or getting lost, etc.  In the meantime, my husband is her only next-of-kin and we live in Maine.  There was no alternative but to sell her home.  That is why we were in Philadelphia these last few days.  How complicated it all is.  And due to a technicality, the deal almost fell through.  It was stressful and difficult to say the least, plus my husband had a hard time saying goodbye to his childhood home.  I certainly can understand that.

So, here we are... back home and exhausted from the experience.  It's one more problem we've had to worry about that has now been solved - such a relief.  Our lives are so much taken up with caring for and helping elderly parents (my husband's mother and father, and my mother), as well as our son and all the normal duties of day to day life... I'm tired just talking about it.  It may sound selfish, but we can't wait for the days when we can start taking time for ourselves, and I know it will come eventually, it's just very hard for us right now.  Additionally, in about 10 days my husband will be returning to his job on the oil-tanker (vacation is over) and I'll be on the hook to handle everything for the two months he's gone.  Some days I just don't know how I’m going to keep on managing everything!!!

Of course, I am concerned that my husband will have to fly - what with all the security concerns since the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  The rumor everyone is hearing is that more and more plans have been discovered by the FBI, more terrorist plans for attack that haven't taken place yet.  It's frightening despite the fact that we live in a rural area and are relatively safe from the prospect of anything happening to us directly.  The latest scheme uncovered was that the terrorists were trying to obtain crop-dusting airplanes to use to distribute chemical or biological weapons over populated areas.  The biggest fear right now is for some type of environmental contamination to take place that will have a staggered effect over a large area of population.  I still think we're relatively safe all things considered.  Maine does not have huge metropolitan areas and our population is spread out over large areas.  Not what they might consider a prime target.  Nonetheless the prospect is terrifying.  Our national sense of confidence and peace has been shattered.

Rose     [Top of page]

"Focus......."     [Top of page]
(October 1st, 2001  17:31  Yotsuya)

It's been a fairly busy, yet uneventful Monday.  Nearing 18:00, I look forward to leaving the office and getting on with my life.  It's also time to wrap up LL-307.....

I've been thinking about September 11th and the aftermath (as well as what to say about it) almost constantly.  This morning, one of the first things I did was to read a translation of a letter left behind by the terrorists who carried out the attacks.  In reading it, I felt no surprise at all... only a confirmation of what I already suspected.  A group of people acting together with such deadly intent... and carrying out their terrible objectives, would have to have a terrible focus.  When you put your whole being into something, and focus intently on attaining a specific objective - be that objective for good or evil, it's a terrible force to deal with.  Apparently some of the passengers on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania were also focused - successfully focused on derailing the terrible path the murderers on the plane were so intent on.  I think this is a key point - where are we going?  The people who have put everything into tearing down the West and technology have their goal... of going back a few centuries apparently.  Me?  I hate the past.  Many things about the present I abhor - the polluted air, polluted water, and sloppy use of technology.  I'm not really comfortable with the idea of people having the power to muck about with genes and create new living things.  I could go on for hundreds of pages about things I don't like about the present... but does that mean the answer is to become stupid and obliterate the knowledge base we've built up, and throw the progression of technology into reverse?

Whatever we do, it will not be easy.  But has it really ever been?  There's always something to overcome.  I think that the answer to the terrible resolve of those who would tear it all down - is to focus intently on where we are going, and to better deal with the problems that technology has created.  That's what I think... how about you?

Sore dewa,

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass
- Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo
October 2nd, 2001 -(KFMM-09/LL307/HNE040617)
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