The day that spam stood still - 11 September 2001
It's pretty hard for me to write articles on Web development and marketing this week. It all seems rather petty, inconsequential. Back to business as usual I guess next week, but in a greatly changed world. I will remember clearly for the rest of my life waking up to see an email referring to the murder of many innocent people only minutes before through a terrorist attack launched on the U.S.A.
I thought the author of the email was kidding... he made reference to World War III. It was disturbing enough that I actually turned on the television, which is a rarity for me. He was right, what I saw looked like the beginning of World War III. I woke my partner - she spent most of that day crying over the shedding of so much innocent blood. Kathy also grieved for the children of those that died:
"Through the eyes of a child
But Mummy, why won't Daddy be home tonight ?
He said he would help me make my kite
What do you mean there will be no more games?
No bumpy rides, no choo-choo trains?
But who will piggy back me to bed?
Tuck me in and ruffle my head
Mummy, why do you cry and look so sad?
Why do you say the world is bad?
Mummy, why would someone want to hurt my dad?
He did nothing wrong and he is not bad
Will they come and hurt us too?
I will be very scared if they do
Mummy, I don't understand what has gone wrong
I just want Daddy home to sing my bed song
I want to go out on Sunday and fly my kite
But Mummy, why wont Daddy be home tonight?"
I took the train into the city, wondering whether I should go - it seemed disrespectul to go to work on such a day and we were all apprehensive as to the consequences of the attack - some of the press were basically forecasting the arrival of the grim reaper of the human race. The terms Armageddon and Jihad were coming from all directions.
Being in Australia, we used the Internet to stay up to date with the news, and to contact associates in the States. The mood in the streets of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia was
somber. America may be thousands of miles away, but technology has brought all countries so much closer together. We knew, or knew of through others, people living in New York and working in the World Trade Center. We sent emails of condolences to our associates in America - a bandaid over a gaping wound, I know, but we needed to do something.
The Internet has held up amazingly well through all of this and I know it must have provided a valuable communications medium for many thousands of Americans trying to get some type of information about their loved ones, possibly caught up in the disaster.
We received a number of emails back from our subscribers in the States - people too shocked to be angry.... yet. Unfortunately, we did receive one note back practically condoning the bombing which I found rather sickening. Kathy's sister, also an Australian, sent us through something that she wrote soon after the news of the attack hit Australia, and with her permission, I'm reproducing it here....
HEARTS FULL OF RAIN
There's rain in my heart
as the world falls apart
My pain knows no beginning nor end
When I see the news, can't believe it's true
my faith will never mend
So many die
and many more cry
In a world that's forgotten to care
There's no hiding this fact
so many cruel acts
How much more evil do we dare?
I need to believe
that we can achieve
Some sense in a world gone mad
But my hope slowly ebbs
as more are found dead
It's just so incredibly sad
I once thought good
was able to do what it could
To counteract all the evil and pain
Out there, it turned to hell
as the towers fell
And in here, my heart's full of rain.
How they will carry on
when it's just gone so wrong
Remains to be seen by us all
But it's safe to say
we will remember this day
As the day of America's fall
the strength of their clout
And climbing back up is for certain
By this week's end
they will begin to mend
But for the animals who did this, it's curtains!!
I watch the kids play
as they do everyday
And my heart wishes so much in vain
That if only they could
as they really should
Grow up without heart's full of rain.
We may not be Americans, but many of us felt a part of their pain.
The other event I experienced that day was something I have never before witnessed during my years on the Internet - the usual daily volumes of spam mail basically stopped. Many annoying advertisers had ceased in peddling their wares; they were appealing for us to assist in the crisis. Even now, the spam mail is minimal. In all this sadness, it is encouraging to see that even some of the most ruthless marketers and profiteers are showing some respect. The Spirit of the Internet is alive and well at the moment. It is a wonder to behold.
"Taming the Beast" has been basically deserted for the last couple of days... it's usually a relatively busy site.
I didn't even have to examine the server logs to know that our stats were down... most webmasters know what I'm talking about. After a while, you can just sit on the home page of your site and get a "vibe" as to whether there has been good traffic or not. I can't explain it, it's just a feeling....
Poor traffic would usually concern me, but again, it just doesn't seem to matter at the moment. Much more important things are happening.... things that may radically change our future as a species.
So, we wait with bated breath for the decision of the U.S. government as to retaliation and the consequences of that action. The aftermath of the attack brought back memories of a previous U.S. President's statement made years ago:
"If you counted on America being passive.... you counted wrong..." Those words have been running around in my head ever since.
The attack also slammed home the fact that this type of senseless killing goes on in some part of the world every day. Innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered in their thousands.
" You can't trust freedom when it's not in your hands, when everybody's fighting for their Promised Land " - Guns and Roses.
In closing, for what it's worth, I'll repeat the words that were posted on "Taming the Beast's" home page on that fateful day - September 11, 2001 (U.S) - the day that even spam stood still....
"To all our friends in the U.S.A, our condolences. Your pain and loss has been felt globally.
Our world is a sad place, no cause justifies the murder of innocent people
Today, many Americans died to satisfy someone else's insanity..
Today, around the world, many other innocent people will die as a result of pointless causes...
Today, millions are engaged in destroying their fellow man.. all "killing in the name of....."
Today, I am ashamed to be a "human". "
..............Can't we all just get along?
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