The unprecedented dimension of the strike against the United States is reflected in the fact that a single hijack attempt would have been enough to shock us while, on Tuesday, there where at at least four of them at the same time and the aircraft were used to hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. However, quantitative criteria do not suffice to describe the human dimension of the tragedy. It is not the symbolic weight of the two towers that collapsed that determines the depth of the wound – and it is not very important whether they will be rebuilt. They should, perhaps, be replaced by a monument so that people will remember rather than seek to erase memory with their reconstruction. The number of the dead may provide an indication of the pain but, still, it fails to give an indication of the horror: The sorrow would be as intense had these lives been lost in a natural disaster but the absurd aspect would be absent – the feeling that thousands of lives were treated as disposable entities in fulfilling the requirements of a strategic plan of blind violence. How can one grasp the full intensity of such an event when one has been fortunate enough not to have experienced it in their own flesh, city and country? Perhaps by trying to imagine the last day in the lives of the victims. Imagine the employee who kissed his children goodbye, promising to greet them again in the evening in front of the TV, only to disappear in the carnage half an hour later. Imagine the traveler who boarded the flight to Los Angeles and who was then treated on board the airplane as an insignificant entity, only to die a few minutes later. The United States is in pain and mourning. It is normal that they feel indignant and determined to retaliate. Maybe tomorrow, when time may have restored some calm, the Americans who experienced this horror will be able to perceive the similar horror of other peoples; of peoples which are condemned to experience it more often.

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