Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
June 5, 2005

Since 9/11…

Anyone who knows me, knows I do not leap into the morning with a burst of enthusiasm. All my adult life, I have had to drag myself out of bed, knowing that sometime around the second cup of coffee, I would find my way unaided around my home. I have been known to literally walk into walls in my morning stupor. [The one exclusion is when I have to get up to travel; I’m out of bed like a shot. That’s because I have hardly slept all night for fear I will miss the plane or train.]

So it was this one morning this week when I woke to someone saying, “Since 9/11…” I haven’t a clue to what he [and I do recall it was a he] was referring. But throughout the week the phrase has rung in my mind like a mantra: since 9/11.

2,792 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The world is a distinctly different place. We have troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and the complexity surrounding their presence in those places only deepens as time goes on.

More than 1600 men and women have died as a result of that presence. Since 9/11, we have been “waging a war on terrorism” while our government asks little of us as civilians to support the war or to address potential issues that might have caused this war.

Since 9/11, I have become more aware of myself as an American, a citizen of this country in this particular time. I have become more thoughtful regarding the role we play in this world.

We have, unfortunately, witnessed the deplorable antics of Abu Ghraib as well as the amazing fortitude and attitude of common soldiers.

We have witnessed the amazing courage of many Iraqis during the time of the election and we have witnessed the slaughter of hundreds since then by the insurgents. We have seen children accidentally killed by Americans and damaged children brought home by soldiers to be cared for and loved.

We have lived with tightened airport security with lines that defy description and have learned a whole new dress code for air travel. But still, despite all that money, a single engine plane managed to invade the airspace around the White House causing one local newspaper in D.C. to trumpet something like: Since 9/11 all our money on capital security wasted!

Since 9/11 the price of gas has gone up dramatically, resulting in inconvenience for motorists and continuing catastrophes for airlines that seemed caught in some nether world of impossible situations, thwarted at every turn by internal and external events as they attempt to remake themselves.

At a dinner party at our home upstate this past week our friends, who have been upstate longer than we have, commented to me that they have become annoyed with the attitude of newcomers coming up from the city. Since 9/11 Columbia County has become more popular and the danger is that it will become the new “Hamptons!”

Since 9/11, people left New York, frightened by a future in a city that seems destined to remain a target for terrorists. Some returned. Lately there are conversations again in New York about people leaving, cashing out of their real estate and departing the city. As violence mounts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the U.S. seems to continue with its gaffes, the fear grows in the back of our minds that despite Musharif declaring that the back of Al Qaida has been broken, we are not convinced, especially since last week when many of us heard numerous reports on the growing numbers of young Muslims being converted to terrorism as a response to the U.S. presence in the Mid-East.

There are times when the mantra: “since 9/11” becomes wearing to me. It carries so much meaning and so much feeling with so few words to describe the things I feel and think.

From a friend of mine I have learned to use the word “and” instead of “but” as “and” is more inclusive. And so I have learned that since 9/11 my world is now forever different, changed, and charged with a shift in the geo-political realities of the world that may not be finished playing out in my lifetime. And while I find it intellectually fascinating, I find it physically threatening.