Usman Farman, one of the last to leave World Trade Center Tower #7, narrowly escaped with his life. On Thursday, his account of Tuesday’s events was forwarded to me via email, through a long string of people. When I read it, I was moved to tears. I was able to contact him via email today, and he gave me permission to re-publish his story here:
“He helped me stand up, and we ran for what seemed like forever without looking back. He was the last person I would ever have thought, who would help me. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have been engulfed in shattered glass and debris.”
Usman is Pakistani, and a Muslim. His experience illustrates beautifully, and powerfully, that we must all help each other in this time of crisis, to maintain our humanity, to disregard our religious and ethnic differences, and to love our fellow human beings. Please read the whole account.
Sally’s dad, James, stopped in for a visit late last night, at the begining of his 60+ mile drive home from work. He has worked at San Francisco International Airport, as an engine mechanic for United Airlines, for many years. I asked him what the mood was like there. “People are worried,” he said. “The contract negotiations [which have been going on for over a year] have been stopped. Nobody knows if the airline will survive.”
“They’ve cut us all back to five hours a day. They’re saying we might have to declare bankruptcy. The families are suing the airline – the families of people in the building.”
This is a perspective we’ve heard almost nothing about in the mainstream press. Obviously, the airlines and their employees will take a direct blow in the coming months, and possibly years, but how will other industries be affected?
Update: Glenn Fleischmann writes, “The airlines are hoping to get Congress to grant them up to $2.5 billion free and clear, absolve them of all legal liability for the deaths, and secure $12.5 billion in loans.” [more…]
telegraph.co.uk: Attack ‘could come this weekend’. “Defence officials said an attack on Afghanistan, which has given safe haven to Osama bin Laden, could come as early as this weekend… [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld told US servicemen around the world in a videotaped address that much had already been asked of them, but ‘more, much more will be asked of you in the weeks and months ahead… The task of vanquishing these terrible enemies and in protecting the American people and the cause of human freedom will fall to you. I know you are ready. I know America can continue to count on your selflessness and courage,’ he said.”
Mom: “The world needs us alive as we were a few days ago. It cannot lose us too. We cannot give up our ties to the living and to the future by attending only to the dead.”
The scenario that played out at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, was debated at length in the Airliners.net discussion area, last November.
Ann Marsh: “When I finally got David on the phone, I could hear in his voice that his experience is bigger and more searing than anything I might make of it. Inevitably, perhaps, we found ourselves debating the nature and will of God. ‘The final result is that things lined up in my favor,’ he told me. ‘I personally believe God doesn’t interfere. If that were the case, I might have more trouble handling this.'”
Washington Post: CIA’s Covert War on Bin Laden. “Reliable intelligence on the whereabouts of bin Laden… has been rare, despite what one source called a ‘rich and active’ surveillance program… Bush and his advisers appear ready to consider the use of ground troops, particularly special forces, military officers said. ‘If you regard what happened as an act of war, as the president has said, your standard of application for what you do about it is different,’ said a four-star officer.”