Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: What was lost

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  • nzlemming,

    Thank you, Jolisa. Well blogged.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1831 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    A decade of ever-increasing paranoia and withdrawal and pain, in the place of that first gathering of light and voice and hope.

    That's what I was trying and failing to say in the other thread. Thank you.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3624 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Beautifully put- thanks.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1450 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah,

    Oh beautiful. And personal. And political. I'm glancing at the scrawled words of Toni Morrison's I keep above my computer: "make it as political as hell. And make it irrevocably beautiful."

    Yesterday was so strange - like you articulate so well; trying to explain to children born in the shadow of that day how jubilation might not be the first best response - because any man's death diminishes me - but also taking the time to write an email to my dissertation supervisor, in whose office I spent all of September 12 2001 (NZ) while he desparately awaited news of his son, who worked in the World Trade Centre; his sister, who lived down the block; his childhood synagogue, also down the block. His people were safe, it turned out. But so many were not.

    Thank you.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Kimberley,

    Thank you for this. It's beautiful and thoughtful and everything we need right now.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Lovely, lovely post. I can't help but agree that this is a symbolic end to something, whatever that "something" might be.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    So many horrible, horrible things have happened in the Middle East since 2001, so many tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, made homeless, lost their livelihoods. I'm not sorry bin Laden is dead, but I find it hard to believe that his death changes much. I feel he's a scapegoat: whatever terrible things he has done, he's expected to carry the whole moral burden of war, torture and murder over the last 10 years.

    Like you, Jolisa, I hope that peace and trust and sanity can prevail.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    You write very well.

    I still don't really know what I feel about bin Laden's death. Something but I'm just not sure what. On the cork-board just behind my monitor is pinned a copy of The Western Leader. It has a picture of the towers burning and a picture of my brother, who spent the day loading boats with supplies for the rescue workers on one side of the river and then unloading them on the other. I have to sit up a little taller in my seat to actually see the picture and the paper is faded now as you'd expect after 10 years.

    The memories of that morning, the unreality of it, of knowing my brother worked there and not knowing if he was directly affected, those memories are older now and a bit faded as well.

    But it was an event that changed so much of what we take for granted now. Does bin Laden's death change anything?

    I think it will take time to understand what this day really means, if it changes anything.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3253 posts Report Reply

  • Leaflemming,

    Thank you for this, Jolisa. I've teased you in the past for infrequent blogging. To write something so apposite, so eloquent, right when we need it, with all the demands of the moment going on around you - thank you.

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Jolisa, you write so very well. Thank you for putting this down.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Craig,

    Thanks for the great post, it brought tears to my eyes. I was thinking this morning, as I walked my 5 year old to school, that she doesn't know about bin Laden, or the Towers (despite the fact her uncle lives in NY and she's been there twice on 9/11) or any of this, and by the time she's old enough to know things will be so different. They'll be different than they where when I was a kid, and different to before 9/11 and different to before bin Laden was killed. I wonder what I'll be explaining to her, how I'll frame it in the light of events yet to come. I remember as a kid finding out about Vietnam during a decade review on New Year's Eve 1979 - it seemed like ancient history even though all unknowing I'd lived through most of it. Perhaps all this will be more immediate to her, with ongoing consequences. I hope not! If anything positive can come out of this I hope it's that you and my brother get your city back. And that I never ever have to face a situation like those parents did on those planes. I'd have hurt him too, just for that.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Wow! That's is so pertinent and lovely. Our twins were born 6 months later, and at the time, knowing they were on the way, we thought 'what sort of world are we bringing these innocent souls into?'

    I can't comment on the 'justice' or bigger geopolitical implications any more, as it does my head in, but this is the world our children were born into, and we have some serious work to do. If only to help them understand, and perhaps help prevent it happening again.

    Arohanui for your humble but beautiful truth.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    A year and a bit later, we put the fat little toddler in his stroller and marched down Broadway with hundreds of thousands of people against the impending invasion of Iraq, chanting “Not In Our Name.” Together we testified that no matter how great the hole in the heart of this city, you couldn’t fix it by hurting more people.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful post, Jolisa. It brought tears to my eyes as well.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Buried in Obama's strange Tom Clancy speech last night was an inkling (albeit less eloquent) of what Jolisa has said.

    And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

    Perhaps if he'd left off the last sentence?

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    A decade of ever-increasing paranoia and withdrawal and pain, in the place of that first gathering of light and voice and hope.

    That’s what I was trying and failing to say in the other thread. Thank you.

    I liked it so much I quoted it in my post too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18646 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    What a lovely post.

    That morning we were asleep on my parent's living room floor in Wellington - two teenagers, still a bit shellshocked by parenthood, with our 3-month-old son (must have been something in the water, by the looks of all the comments upthread); my wife got up early to feed him, and turned on the TV to see the news.

    To be honest I can't at present remember what we've told Asher about what has been the defining moment of international relations for almost his entire life. He's an anxious child as it is, and finds flying (or even seeing or hearing a plane or helicopter) pretty trying sometimes. I guess it's one of our jobs as parents to lower the burdens of life as slowly as possible onto the shoulders of our children, while trying to ensure that they're bearing most of the weight by the time we're no longer able to hold it for them.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Thanks - I lived thru it all on the (US) West Coast - that day when everything stopped, watching it over and over again switching from channel to channel then off to work after the second one came down -and they sent us home from work because they thought the bridges might be unsafe ("but I live on the other side of the damned bridge"), flying the first day the airports opened again - my kids were 7 and 9 - they saw it all and were scared.

    And then marching with them against the Iraq war, probably the same day you did- in SF's almost never ending march of 700,000 people, they couldn't get people out of the BART trains fast enough so they were still coming up as they were getting on the trains to go home at the other end.

    And then a few years later deciding to come home to NZ, at least partly because we didn't want to pay for the war and our son was now 13 and draft age wasn't that far away

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2069 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thank you Jolisa. Beautiful and incisive.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16414 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    and our son was now 13 and draft age wasn't that far away

    Ah yes. The other thing that's goddam American about our boys. Still no draft -- will there ever be one again, or is it politically impossible at this point? Although with enlisted soldiers being deployed multiple times, you have to wonder if it will become necessary.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1410 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to James Butler,

    I guess it’s one of our jobs as parents to lower the burdens of life as slowly as possible onto the shoulders of our children, while trying to ensure that they’re bearing most of the weight by the time we’re no longer able to hold it for them.

    James, that's really beautifully put. Thank you.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1410 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    I’m glancing at the scrawled words of Toni Morrison’s I keep above my computer: “make it as political as hell. And make it irrevocably beautiful.”

    Words to live, and write, by!

    To be honest, I'm stunned by everyone's responses. For once I didn't rewrite and reread and rewrite again -- I just wrote, without thinking of whether would make any sense on the page. (OK, my partner read over it for me and fixed my mistakes, then I sent it to my sis, who immediately sent back her incredible photos by way of encouragement to actually post it.)

    I'm really glad it has struck a chord, and thank you all for adding your harmonic resonances.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1410 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Jolisa,

    Ah yes. The other thing that's goddam American about our boys. Still no draft -- will there ever be one again, or is it politically impossible at this point? Although with enlisted soldiers being deployed multiple times, you have to wonder if it will become necessary.

    who knows - in 2003/4 all bets were off.

    Mind you my family exists because my inlaws moved their entire family to NZ to get my partner's elder brother out of the reach of the US Vietnam draft.

    While at the same time I spent most of my teenage years scared that the RSA would get their way and the govt would start drafting us for Vietnam (rather than drafting us for the reserves) - they canceled the draft ballot in NZ 6 months before I became eligible - it didn't stop 5 years of teenage angst - I didn't want my son growing up with that uncertainty hanging over him

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2069 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Technically speaking, I believe the draft still exists, in that American men are obliged to register for "Selective Service" at age 18 -- it is just that no-one is actually summoned.

    It is something of a political compromise, but they could presumably save a few million by scrapping it -- given that they got through Iraq without a draft they can probably get through most things.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    true - it would probably take a Republican to do it though

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2069 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    thank you jolisa. thanks for sharing.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 101 posts Report Reply

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