Friday, September 10, 2021

9/11 Twenty Years later

Twenty years ago I approached the management of my firm, a small start-up and suggested that we should attend a conference on technology in finance. My boss balked at the fee. He argued that the speakers were advertising their products and that they would come to our office for free to do a sales pitch. I thought that I should be more assertive and push for at least one of us to attend but I decided to keep my powder dry for bigger battles. 

I had forgotten about that fateful decision until recently when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal title “On 9/11, Split-second Decisions by Employees at ICAP Affect the Rest of Their Lives” about another person who did attend the conference.

“On the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, Karen Lynn Seymour told her boss that she wanted to attend a conference the next morning. The 40-year-old technology specialist at a subsidiary of ICAP, a London-based bond broker, thought it could help her career. Her boss, Chris Ferreri, said he was less interested in the event, to be held at Windows on the World, a restaurant on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.”

“Early the next day, Ms. Seymour left her 3½-year-old twins and headed to the conference. …Minutes later, a terrorist flew a plane into the World Trade Center. Ms. Seymour was never heard from again.”

I could have been her. She had her life ahead of her and a family to love. I had been recently married, started a new job, moved into a new apartment with my loving wife. Two lives left at the mercy of savage dark-age barbarians by a nation that refuses to secure it borders and defend its people. 

Yes, I was furious back then. This article brought me back to the day Islamic jihadi destroyed our tallest buildings and killed decent hard-working people producing for others so that they can take care of their own. 

My anger only grew. Our ignorant President uttered “Islam means peace,” inadvertently gave Arafat the go-ahead to resume terrorist attacks on Israel, and allowed Pakistan to harbor the perpetrators. Bush and his successors supported Pakistan, the creators of the Taliban, as they hid bin Laden and rebuilt the Taliban for our eventual withdrawal. The current President even left them advance military equipment and no doubt will soon fund their operations directly (under the guise of humanitarian aid) and indirectly as we continue to do business with Pakistan.

The inability to investigate the ideology that motivates jihadi has become a hardened ban on any critical analysis of Islam. Critics have been banned from social media and Muslims have become a cause celeb. Even the 19 jihadi who died on that day couldn’t imagine so great a victory. We surrendered the intellectual battle before it started. Our self-immolation continues as the hate-America movement spreads to every institution of our society. 

The attacks of 9/11 were a symptom of the rot at the core of the cultural edifice emanating from the root of our academic institutions, spreading to the media, and engulfing our corporations. We are coasting … and the luck that saved my life twenty years ago may not save your children’s. What are you going to do about it?