Thinking about ‘That Day’

10 years on, and everyone in the media and the political establishment are trying to find some kind of remembrance of what happened that day 10 years ago. I remember what I did that day very vividly, I was still in school. We had a massive pep talk completely unrelated to what happened 4-5 hours later, there was a pep talk in school about how important the coming exams were and all the potential things that one could choose to be, that on its own made it a notable day. Once I got home I found out about the terror attacks. The thing that scared me particularly was that I just came back from the US no less than a week previously.

It was/ an event which, as I realised from all of the documentaries and programmes reflecting on the event, affected many things in the culture. Thinking about say, Team America: World Police, the ‘Aristocrats’ joke, or even the rise of so-called ‘New Atheism’. Over the past few months I have been thinking the situation 100 years ago, and wonder if we will ever have another moment like the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdiand, where a tragedy limited to one event leads to a mass of effects from a single cause. Perhaps more than any other event, September 11th was our Franz Ferdinand moment. Counterfactually speaking: would we have a UK Conservative led government were it not for the events that happened? Would there be a war in Iraq? Would there have been the attack in London in 2005? How powerful a counterfactual can be when one event is so taken for granted in the status quo. Speaking of days considered to be ‘That Day’, september 15th is coming up, another day of serious political consequences.

So today, like many other people in the world: I’m thinking about the lives lost on the day 10 years ago, as well as the many others lost as a consequence of that day. As a closing thought I remembered how as I listened to the radio during the years 2001-2003, it was almost every day when that event was mentioned, either on the news, or an advert, or some related story. It took 8 months (if I correctly recall) until I went through only a single day where it wasn’t mentioned. I’d like to think that the negative repercussions of that event, as the years go on, will be less significant as time goes on. If you read this post and looked up Archduke Ferdinand, for example, its a testimony of how that event has less influence over the present.

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