Nine Eleven

On this very day of 2001 I was on my way to Astor Place subway stop, when I saw massive amount of people rushing uptown from downtown on Broadway. I asked a man and he said a plane clashed into the World Trade Center. I didn’t get what he said, but I walked up to Times Sq where I used to work for a tv production company. My colleagues at the office were at a loss. We shut down the office for the day and volunteered at NHK NY headquarter to help checking dead-or-alive of Japanese residents. It was pure chaos. We were on the phone and internet for 2 days with no sleep at all. Yet I didn’t know what was going on near the site nor else where in the states. All i knew was my birthday party which was planned on the day after(9/12), was cancelled. My work shifted to documentary production. We shot many people who had lost loved ones. Among them I met Phillis and Orlando Rodriguez, professor on criminal justice and psychology who had lost his son yet being against Bush’s retaliation onto Afghanistan. I am still in touch with them now. Also Big River, my second film, was conceived after seeing many hate crimes happening throughout the US. So directly or indirectly I was affected by the event like anyone else. 
But I don’t think the nation has changed much. Yes, more zillions of dollars were spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and many people had diseased for the sake of “home land security”, but that protectiveness and conservatism are some extension of what Americans have had for long time. Like my friend Eric said last night the politicians (republicans?) are screwing the country without really knowing the true problems we have; rich/poor gaps. The recent debt ceiling crisis was a good example. Under the flag of freedom America has deeply-rooted intolerance. 
I do love America, its people and cinema. But I can’t wipe away mixed, negative feeling when I see series of the 10th anniversary events. 

10年前の今日、Astor  Placeの駅に向かう途中で、ダウンタウンから大量の人がストリートを歩いてきているのに気付いた。聞いてみると、飛行機がWorld Trade Center につっこんだそうだ。地下鉄は機能麻痺。Times Sq. にあったオフィスにいってみると、スタッフ総出でNHK・NY総局で、在米日本人の安否確認を手伝った。徹夜になり、次の日もまた次の日もずっと張り付きっぱなしだった。9月12日は誕生日パーティーを企画してもらっていたんだけど中止。カメラを握ってGround Zero でドキュメンタリー取材をぶっ続けの日々になった。
その撮影で出会ったRodriguez 夫妻(犯罪心理学者で息子を911で亡くしたのにも拘わらず、ブッシュ政権の報復行動に反対する運動を率先)とは今でも親しくしているし、拙作Big River も911があって生み出された物語だった。
アメリカは911で何も変わった気がしない。前よりも多くの軍事予算が投じられ、アフガニスタン・イラクで多くの犠牲を強いたけれどもそれが正解だったとは思わない。NYの友人とも昨日語り合ったが、アメリカ人そのものは、対外的な保守主義が若干強くなったことはあるが、それは根底から脈々と流れるアメリカそのものの保守主義だろう。
自由の国という表看板のウラにある、人々の排外主義は何も変わらないのではないか。
映画も人も、アメリカを心から愛しているけど、複雑な思いがする。

 

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