I was in New York on 9/11/2019 and I decided to go to Ground Zero. I wanted to see how the day was remembered, what it told me about the city and the country.
As the families of the victims poured out of the memorial centre they were met with a group of protesters bearing signs; they read: "9/11 was an inside job". Some went on, some begged them to go away, some wanted to fight. The protesters defended themselves claiming they were the only ones who truly cared about the victims, the only ones trying to find out the cause of their death. But there was no ground zero to build on. Just two sides shouting at the top of their voices the speed of concrete in free fall, or fighting over who had served more years in Iraq.
Meanwhile an eerie mist had settled over our heads, dampening the sounds around us. All we could hear was a distant chant, like a summoning call. We all drifted towards it, quietly.
A group of bikers was taking down an enormous American flag from the side of a building. They folded it, carried it to an opening and started unravelling it once again.
It was like a magnet. A sea of hands closed in on it, clutching any piece of cloth they could get a hold of. I climbed up a light pole and watched, mesmerised. When they started shaking it the chant rose again, first quietly then more and more loudly, as if the sound could fill the city. A tribal chant, searching for catharsis. Three letters: USA USA USA.
When I picked up the roll, half of the photos were torn apart, the rest carried the signs of a struggle between the film and some internal enemy.
I liked that. I guess we're all wounded and torn in some way, so we might as well find some beauty in that.