Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to via e-mail Subscribe to via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to via e-mail Subscribe to via RSS

Learning From September 11th


Photo by slagheap / Flickr

Most people remember where they were on September 11th, 2001 – 9 years ago – when they heard the news about airliners crashing into the World Trade Center and subsequently collapsing. I was working in a skyscraper in downtown Toronto when I heard the news before we were evacuated (after all, many flights in the US were being redirected to Toronto).

To help us remember that tragic day and to comprehend what New Yorkers were going through, I have extracted select text messages sent between 9:45AM and 10:15AM on September 11th. These are just a small sample of the text messages that were released by Wikileaks last November:

  • 2001-09-11 09:45:21

    • jobradwa|Are you okay???? Jo
  • 2001-09-11 09:45:48

    • call when you can|Are you OK? call 973-771-2214 or 908-309-0882 when/if can or email God be with you. Joe
  • 2001-09-11 09:47:03

  • 2001-09-11 09:49:05

    •||hi. call me. are you okay? someone crashed into the WTC & the Pentagon. all airpor
  • 2001-09-11 10:01:31

    •|I’m worried..are you OK???
  • 2001-09-11 10:01:37

    • CH, are you ok? call if you can. World trade ctr on fire, bldg just collapsed. Pls tell me u ar
  • 2001-09-11 10:01:40

    •||Don, are you being evacuated? We heard the White House was being = evacuated. Call me – Gail
  • 2001-09-11 10:02:54

    • are you watching the news. New York City has been attacked. OH my GOD. l
  • 2001-09-11 10:06:03

    •|Call me |Hi Hon, Are you okay? Please call me or Kevin and let us know. Please be okay! Call me. Love you, Angie (9
  • 2001-09-11 10:07:05

    • Erika, are you ok are you safe Victor
  • 2001-09-11 10:09:33

    • (26)How are you? Have you heard all that is going on? Please be safe my friend. We are all listening and watching in the office. Me
  • 2001-09-11 10:10:35

    • Roli, how are you are you safe??? call work we are worried about you. Angel and Paco and Jorge and Charlie (46
  • 2001-09-11 10:12:31

  • 2001-09-11 10:13:55

    •|when ya comin home????|Are you coming home sometime soon???? this whole thing has me a little shaken up.

So what can we learn about the tragedy of 9/11?

If you look at the roots of the September 11th, it’s easy to see that the root cause is our addiction to oil.

By consuming so much oil in North America, we have created a demand for fossil fuels that can only be met by scouring the far reaches of the earth to discover more oil. This has led to American corporations and the government placing themselves everywhere this commodity exists.

In some countries it’s easy for the US to set up and extract the oil (Canada for instance), while in other countries it’s more difficult to control the flow of oil (Iraq for instance). This in part, has led to a worldwide presence of US Military to protect its interests and protect the North American lifestyle.

The US Middle East military presence, blind support for Israel, and the installation of US-friendly (puppet) governments has stained people’s perception of the United States, and some have turned to arms to fight back against what they believe to be tragedies at the hands of the US Government and corporations.

This is in short, what I believe is the root cause of September 11th – and it started several decades before September 11th.

If we didn’t rely so much on automobiles, oil wouldn’t be in such high demand, and we wouldn’t need to have a military presence in countries that rightfully don’t want the US military to be there.

Instead of waiting for a technological solution that will help reduce our dependency on oil, we already have a proven tool at our disposal – bicycles. The bicycle can help us substantially reduce our dependence on oil, and countries like the Netherlands have proven that it can be done on a mass scale with a little bit of investment in better infrastructure and education.

Unfortunately, politicians don’t look for pragmatic solutions to real issues – especially if it threatens the profit margins of large corporations.

To me, September 11th is a reminder of our massive consumption and how desperately our leaders are trying to preserve this way of life.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at

Related Articles:

Leave a Reply