Many people know what they did September 11, 2001. I sat at a local café at Birger Jarlsgatan, close to Stureplan in Stockholm, SWEDEN. The Café was owned by a Russian couple that had moved to Sweden and Stockholm town from Moscow in Russia. At the café great staff/baristas worked. One being an American former marine soldier making the best coffee you could imagine together with a Samoan tattoo artist from New Zeeland, and another guy from Teheran in Iran who later won the barista award for making Sweden’s best Caffee Latte. A great gang of people in a very tiny café/coffee shop. People with their own experiences of life and cultures. And we all agree how great it was that the cold war had come to an end and a Russian and American could work together (considering the history of the then recently ended Cold War). It was beautiful in a way. It all felt so great. And we all became kind of friends, especially the American and New Zeeland´er and I. And I was a regular customer coming for coffee and a chat basically everyday – as well as sitting and reading the newspapers and drawing in my sketchpad being the illustrator and artist I am. It was one of those great places sadly removed and now its another shop entirely.
World trade Centre exist in Stockholm, Sweden too. Its next to the central station in Stockholm. A tiny place where business men meet, like a smaller congress, or fair if you like with studios you rent to have business exhibits, or used to be. But its a fairly tiny place and I would say very anonymous for most people passing by.
When the first plane crashed into the first tower I sat and read the “Dagens Nyheter”, a Swedish daily newspaper. Two young teenagers, two guys sat next to me and suddenly his mobile phone called. And 2001 mobile phones was not everyman´s assessorie just yet. His father called and and the response I heard was the guy screaming, “Fan (Fuck), its war”. His friend constantly not understanding what was going on and joked around with him while he was talking on his phone saying “Its fucking real, its war. They are bombing the World Trade Center”. His friend continued to joke. I thought to myself “bombing the World Trade Center, at central station??? What?”
Where I sat, a bomb should still had been heard although I sat at another part of town. The guy continue and told his friend to listen “They are bombing New York, its fucking war, can you get it and shut up”.
I instantly rushed to the subway/underground station and whent to my home and turned on the TV. Just when the second plane crashed into the building. I was in chock watching what I saw. My girlfriend Mia´s dad called me up, I called Mias work and she said she said she and all her colleagues was trying to watch TV and going on-line to the Internet newspaper website.
And then I started to see people jump on live TV sent across the Atlantic ocean where I sat in another country entirely watching it on a TV. The world was suddenly very close.
After a while, when the immediate chock was loosing its creepy scary grip on my entire being, I started to feel afraid about those Americans I personally know and one being a domestic pilot for TWA at the time. And the other being a woman friend. And a day later I believe, Sweden being 6 hours ahead of NYC, USA, I finally via email got hold of her and she told me her cousin was fine and that her husband was working at Ground Zero taking care of dead bodies. It felt so surreal
It was so horrible and words will never be enough to tell what I felt. And I will never forget that day.
Ps. Yesterday I saw a reportage on CNN international edition about an american journalist who printed out colour photos of the world trade center attack, and how he when´t to Afghanistan to show the pictures to local Afghans. To see if they know what the pictures where showing and what impact they had had. Of all the people he met only one (1) police chief knew what the picture was and what it ment. And this is 10 years later. One elder, older Afghan man thought it was a bomb/fire on a house in Kabul. As the journalist said, the guy definitely never visit Kabul either, not knowing how Kabul looks like.
Now my question is why havent the Afghans been informed earlier through all these 10 years? But that is another text entirely.