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11 September 2006

11.9. remembered

  • chatter, chatter, chatter
    It is five years since the tragedy of 9/11. The pundits have analysed and discussed the issue over and over again. There is a paralysis of analysis.

    Oskar Eustis, a director of Public Theater in New York said: "There is actually a lot of silence, many people have not yet found a way to translate 9/11 into a broader sense".

    When the High Priest Aaron's sons died the Bible records: 'Va-yi-dom Aaron' - Aaron was silent.

    I must unfortunately admit that I am addicted to the news and talk shows. The hours spent could be used more productively. What compels me to view incessantly these broadcasts? Like everyone else I want definitive answers. We have been trained, in Western education, to look and search for cause and effect in explaining the difficult in real life. This has often been articulated in spoken words. The New Testament [Gospel of John], The Holy Koran, and Jewish prayer all praise the WORD e.g. 'in the beginning was the word'. Word and 'logos' are often synonymous, suggesting that all intelligence is through the spoken word, even in psychoanalysis. We have often heard - too often, it would seem - the argument that it is impossible to imagine that a serious hysterical disease, a grave obsessional idea, a tormenting phobia can be dispelled by 'words' alone. [Th. Reik] We chide politicians for not speaking like Churchill. We often revert to childhood tales of opening mountains with a magic word, or that angels or devils, sorcerers and statesman can change everything with the word.

    Gustav Mahler once said: "The most important thing in music is not the score."

    Silence may be understood as an expression of quiet sympathy. Recall King Lear who disavows Cordelia, who loves and is silent, but Coriolanus returning to his wife tenderly calls her, "My gracious silence". Carlyle [On Heroes...] says that speech is of time; silence is of eternity.

    Today I will remain mute in memory of those murdered five years ago. Let their memory be a blessing to their loved ones.

    Birds chatter a lot. They are better at it than we. Let our silence testify to our sympathy and our resolve that it never happen again.


    This piece was written by Rabbi Eliyahu Shalem of Jerusalem.

    Es ist Zeit in Ruhe dieser Menschen zu gedenken.

    Michael Holmes von den Freunden der Offenen Gesellschaft hat mich auf ihn aufmerksam gemacht.

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