Back to New York City 30 September 2002

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Back to New York City 30 September 2002 

François Vescia

Coming back to New York City for a few days reminds me this evidence, I loved a lot this city which means so much to me.
      I discovered in it the sense of autonomy, of investigation, places, people, difference. At 16 years old, I had this extraordinary chance to study there, to get my “bacalaureat” at NY French “lycée” on 95th street, to start there university studies. I found there my first jobs in restaurants or apartments lent to me by friends.
      I saw every season bringing the prize of transformation. Some snow and under crossings to avoid the rigor of the cold winter, in the gush of spring, in the hot season of the summer, New York metamorphoses permanently. Nature changes the decoration but the city also is in permanent transformation, here a building or a church are demolished to give way to a structure of trays and metal and I remember myself de1970 where bit by bit the two towers of World Trade Center were built from day to day.
      During 18 months, how many streets I went through, how much time I dashed on foot into courses which turned out longer than I believed. I was always struck by the insulation of people in the street. In this city, people walk. In these sways in the crowd split in individuals, there are these multiple careers, as a movement Brownian ceaseless, that of the city which lives in a fervent rhythm, with the overexcited spectacles and the subway which never stops at night.
      These individuals go or return from the work. In their hand sometimes a bag of paper or plastic contains the meal of the lunch often made with a sandwich. For some the walk man, the telephone and sometimes skates realize for these isolated individuals their almost confinement in multiple itinerant bubbles. This city adds peculiarities, mixes them, illuminates them and crushes them at the same moment. It is a gigantic machine to transform any countryman in future North-American. Shops or taxis can be hold by recent immigrants. Does their qualification and their knowledge of English matter, they participate in the big economic machine. They find a place to start and to dash into the American dream and naturally a many stay.
      Today this city is wounded, confused. Nobody was able to miss the devastating movie “Nine Eleven” and 3000 persons did not come home after the session. The world that left behind them all these immigrants comes back as a boomerang. The big watchmaker's shop so oiled well with the business and with the finance reminded its physical reality. And in this physical world where the individuals are of flesh and of blood appears in one concentrated incredible the old violence of the world. The New Yorkers who fell with towers were not necessarily privileged. They and their fellow men carried out all days the gestures of the work in the universe disinfected by companies. Yesterday taken away from global realities reduced to dashboards and to picture postcards, the "survivors" are now stunned and lost of the same rough movement, close relations and their certainties. In this emotional, very understandable torrent, each can tell how he or she was informed about the attempt, how it happened this day, how grown-up, children, colleagues, neighbors, friendly all were confronted with this attempt. How the South of Manhattan was dirtied with dust, how smell was unbearable weeks and weeks later. As they would love that this bad nightmare ends ; release them and return them to this innocence of front.
   But American history is so made as nobody can connect this violence with the precedent. No attack on the American territory with part distant aggression against servicemen to Pearl Harbor, no invasion, no humiliation of the nation forced to bow, no piling up of devastation and victims during a war as  all the other peoples of the earth knew it. And nevertheless that of interventions of the American power all over the world !
    The Americans live so an exceptional experience. What they underwent can not go into a category, into a comparison. They do not connect this attack with the other violence committed against civilians, or to a crime against humanity. They did not imagine that serial killers could appear outside. And quite as yesterday today they are tried to deny world, to re-take the one-sided governmental watchwords: "United we stand" and the messianic "God bless America" as if the fortress was besieged and the rest of the humanity reduced to threats without faces.
      Nevertheless this city is filled with individuals of the other world, the victims of World Trade Center themselves were more than 70 nationalities, the New Yorkers are often immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants. All this relation in the world which should make of such a group, an assembly in reduction of the united nations is nevertheless denied by the American company, and the price for this new shared identity is a negation, an expulsion of this origin, a flattening of peculiarities. Today New York dulled shows in his boutiques, on the walls, in its gardens that the death affected each, modest employee, smiling secretary, laborious head of family, brave fireman in the variety of their previous history. It saw again revised an ever closed mourning which is celebrated in endlessly to on chocolate packages. Americans attend in a reserved state of conspiracy of the fear, the disappointment and the leak forward the attempt to establish a new Mc McCarthyism. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft minister of justice and their powerful friends (and principals) take advantage of the effect of breath of attempts in American public opinion to move in what was anyway and before September 11, 2001 their political project. Inside to muzzle democratic, social or environmental laws hindering the biggest American companies. Outside to break treaties and international negotiations which claim to establish more responsibility, cooperation and negotiation between the 180 countries of the planet. In a short-term vision, this team badly named "republican" turns the back in the process of increasing progress of international law in the search for impunity and for exemption of the law of the people. It is nevertheless this positive evolution which allowed in Europe to exceed for 50 years the former war succession generation after generation for the search for compromise and for public interest by the dialogue and the negotiation.
      For the global launch of the new Bush 2.1 version of the new American software. No effect seems untidy battle media, part of bluff, war, international fireworks.
      And nevertheless far from this systematic bombardment, it is reassuring to notice that those that I meet in museums, universities, public media are for the antipodes of this image warrior. They constitute the most pleasant, the most obliging, the most tolerant partners for the work.
      They are appalled, blocked by the love of their country and mean that "there must be another way" On the wall of a garden, among the others, a small ceramic says on the drawing of a blue planet "Let find the missing peace".

Subowo bin Sukaris
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