Today is a very meaningful day for all New Yorkers. For me, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 came at an important time in my life. The Internet bubble had burst and my professional life was all about dealing with the ramifications of that. I had just turned 40, we had three kids, 10, 8, and 5. We had lived in NYC for almost 20 years and we were building a life in the greatest city in the world. That day changed everything and changed nothing at the same time. We stayed downtown, we raised our kids in the post 9/11 NYC, and we still live in NYC in much the same way we lived there before that day. But we were all impacted by the sights, sounds, and smells of that day and the days and weeks that followed and certainly still are.
I don’t think much about September 11th anymore but I do try to remember it every year on its anniversary.
We are in Barcelona today. September 11th means something very different here. It is the “national day of Catalonia” and a holiday.
To make things even more interesting the Catalan Separatist Movement is mounting a huge protest today in Barcelona and they are expecting 1.5 million people to fill the two main streets in town and create a V sign in an effort to pressure Spain to allow a vote for Catalonia to secede.
The streets are literally filled with people wearing the yellow and red colors. We walked around for a couple hours and observed the goings on.
There are separatist movements cropping up all over Europe right now. I imagine the weak economy and rampant unemployment is a factor but underneath it all these are tensions that have existed for centuries and it’s not really a new thing at all.
The hatred that fed the horrible acts of 9/11 isn’t a new thing either. The techniques are modern and so are some of the resentments that feed it but the underlying hatred goes back a long way.
So for me, today is a reminder that conflict and resentment and the hatred that can result is a permanent human condition. We can work to minimize it and we should do that tirelessly. But we are unlikely to eliminate it.