How your life has changed since Sept. 11
I have installed an under-the-kitchen-sink reverse-osmosis system as a precaution against poisoning in our water system.
The U.S. reaction has forced me to join the anti-war movement.
Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world, and it is also the country with the most conservative form government and way of life. Coincidence? No. In times of crisis and when basic needs are not met, the tendency is to move away from individual freedom to place emphasis on social structures and "religious values." If the gap between rich and poor countries continues to widen, the idea of having democratic forms of government in Third-World countries will never fully materialize. Countries don't automatically become prosperous because of democracy; it's the other way around - it takes a minimum of prosperity for democracy to work. The attacks in September should lead us to reflect on that.
Robert Geneau, Montréal
I'm a Canadian citizen living and working in South Korea. Other than a letter from the embassy warning us against unnecessary travel, life is going on normally. I feel very removed from the events in New York and, like most Canadians here, I feel very safe. We recently had a Thanksgiving-Halloween banquet that was put on by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Korea.
I am not optimistic. I know that the economy will eventually work its way up to where it was before, but it's the safety issue. I never dwelt on terrorism before but now that it's in our own back yard, it's a strong concern. I will have a fear of flying no matter how aircraft safety is improved. I am more satisfied with the simple things in life, have gained more knowledge and interest in the Middle East and I am more aware of world religions. I am sorting through my feelings and have generally been down and depressed lately.
Since Sept. 11 I have come to realize what a media-driven society we live in. The newspapers and television keep telling us that we Canadians are terrified. Well, here is somebody who is not terrified. Nor are my friends, or my business associates in the United States. Will somebody please put some perspective back into the news? More than 40,000 people survived the World Trade Center attacks. More than 31 million Canadians show no sign of anthrax. Statistically speaking, the chances of a U.S. citizen winning the lottery are greater than coming into contact with anthrax. The headline on the front page of The Globe and Mail screamed, Innocence Lost at Yankee Stadium. Then tucked away back on page 6, the headline, Self-Rule Not Issue, Native Leaders Say. I thought that this should have been front-page news over more of the same old terrorist propaganda. Since Sept. 11 I have been thinking that it is time to watch less TV news and read fewer newspapers and news magazines.
Needless to say I'm afraid. More so, I'm saddened. It is sad to see the immorality of man and the terrible things we are capable of. The World Trade Center, the bombings in Afghanistan, the Middle East conflicts, the racism, the hatred, the creation of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons - it is all so wrong. The United States, the G8, the United Nations, NATO and all nations around the world have an opportunity to address the situation. Everyone is watching: Now could be the time to move in a positive and peaceful manner. But instead of building consent and coalition for peace, war has begun and will likely continue and build until we lose everything that we value and love. I'm disappointed in the world.
The armed response is inappropriate and I am ashamed that Canada is taking part, while in no way attempting to address the core issues or debunk Washington's spin. We are toeing the line in silence, and that is a shame. If we continue along this path I fear we may live to regret our actions.
My life has been turned upside down after Sept 11. I am a new graduate from the University of Western Ontario. I was offered a job as a consultant with a prestigious management consulting firm in downtown Toronto. Following the terrorist attacks, the company called me up and indicated that my offer of employment would no longer be honoured due to the slowdown in the economy and the events of the past several weeks. This offer of employment had been agreed upon many months ago and was to start following my graduation. I now find myself in a broken (not bruised) economy as a new graduate with minimal work experience, looking for a job to pay off my student loans.
Since Sept. 11 my life has changed in the way that now every day counts, every day is important, because it could be my last one.
Yes, my life changed after Sept 11. I came to Canada from Angola looking for peace. I left that country because of terrorism and civil war. I have been here since 1982 and I love this country, but now I am afraid that I have to leave Canada because of terrorism. It is very hard to fight terrorists and we can't win the war against them. We do not know who they are and what they are planning to do against all of us. I pray to God that we will always be safe.
I have become more aware of who is around me.
By now we should be trying to bring a sense of proportion back into our lives. Most of us have a great deal more to fear from cigarettes and vehicular accidents (the equivalent to the World Trade Center incident each week). If 10 per cent of the increased money spent on enhanced military and anti-terrorism were spent on these types of issues, a great many more lives could be saved. The news media and each of us have to keep a sense of proportion. Also, flu shots will save a few hundred lives this year.
I realize now more than ever how prophetic and practical the Bible is. I don't condemn people for not believing in Jesus Christ as the one and only saviour of man, but my beliefs are strengthened and my faith is not a topic for debate as I relate prophecy from the holy gospel.
Visiting upstate New York just became a very frightening and unpleasant experience when I was at a U.S. border crossing south of Montreal last week. I'm a very pale-faced and clean-shaven Canadian citizen (of South African origin), and speak fluent Arabic. My thoughtless mistake was to have innocent business letters, Mid-East and African laptop contacts, magazines, and even three music CDs (all in Arabic) in my car. U.S. Customs had a field day with my briefcase and me, and I was delayed for nearly three hours while they checked me out. Not even an apology afterward -- never mind a glass of water or permission to use my own cellphone (both refused). It brought back my South African experience as a "white" (apartheid's evil went both ways) to see those Customs guys look at me with such hatred in their eyes. Yes, I have learned my lesson. The very sad reality is that I would have reacted exactly the same way, had I stood in their shoes that day. In'shah-allah.