Thoughts And Views From Down Under

I appreciate the chance to contribute to the forum.The
hardest thing about watching this from overseas is knowing that I can't be there
to help out - get in and dig, give blood, cheer for the rescue workers or
whatever. I was fortunate to learn very early on that my girlfriend Marcella,
who is back in NYC and staying with a friend three blocks from the WTC, had
escaped safely - and so watching the events unfold between 11pm and 3 in the
morning felt uncomfortably like voyeurism - looking on at someone else's
tragedy. It was miserable - and still is. Yesterday at work was wrenching as
well - looking over all the emails that had come through from my brother and
from friends saying they were OK - or inquiring after others - I was finally hit
with a sense of what the real toll might amount to. I realized I had certainly
known people who worked in those buildings, people who lived nearby, or whose
subway trains passed underneath the sites. One of the funniest guys I've ever
met, Gary Kiang, works in the Merrill Lynch building. No word from him - and I'd
lost his cel#. Kate Sinding, one of the first people to take me in when I
arrived in NYC in '98 and didn't have a place to live yet, had recently moved
back on Maiden Lane from a place in Brooklyn. Andrew Nelson, formerly of Giant
Step and a great friend, used to take the PATH train into WTC everyday. No
reason to think any of them have been hurt - but not knowing was a killer. Thank
God (and AOL) for instant message; I managed to get some info - but it's never

Looking on a day later - with only 9 survivors having been pulled out, the
weight of knowing that I will almost certainly be able to place the names and
faces of some of the victims - from my time at UPenn, and my three years in New
York as well. Even worse is thinking of all the friends whose lives will be
wracked with emotion, that I can't comfort and be there for. As the 36 hours of
straight TV coverage of the US starts to give way back to regular programming,
here, a whole different kind of homesickness sets in
- now all I want is more information. The length of my yearlong stay here has
really set in as well - I'm in Sydney until May 2002 - and I won't see NYC until
March, probably - and now I'm just dying to go home. Funny - in replies to a
group email I sent out last week, two separate friends wrote that "New York
isn't going anywhere." They were wrong - at least in a symbolic sense. And
that's incredibly sad.

I'm not sure what else to say. Like everyone else, I'm shocked, I'm saddened,
I'm crushed and I'm angry. My thoughts are with everyone in the city, and in the
States. I hope you're all well - and I hope that none of us lose loved ones. And
my utmost respect and support goes to the NYFD and NYPD for the losses they've
sustained - and all the work they've done and will continue to do. If there was
ever an example of the indomitable the human spirit, though - this must be it.
Pictures from NYC have sustained me from the beginning of my time in Sydney -
and will continue to. But it's a different picture now.


Source: Ben Dietz(

Thoughts And Views From Down Under