‘A plane’s gone into one of the Twin Towers’.
I felt a little shaken as I was working for an American fund management firm at the time, so needless to say I had a lot of close colleagues working in the US. However, most were based in Boston, so at this point I didn’t experience anything more than a tiny flicker of concern as we thought it was a straightforward plane crash. A short time later, however, the phones began ringing frantically as our panic-stricken American colleagues relayed news of the catastrophic chain of events which was beginning to unfold in their country and we leapt from our seats and crowded around the TVs which were dotted around the building.
Fortunately, none of our employees were killed and miraculously (quite literally) one of our portfolio managers side-stepped his ‘final destination’ – he had been booked on one of the doomed Boston jets but on arrival at Logan, he found he’d forgotten his briefcase and returned home to fetch it. However, many of my colleagues and broker friends on both sides of the Pond were left on tenterhooks for hours regarding the safety of husbands, wives and parents who were working in the towers, but they all eventually turned up safe and sound, so our investment community and its extended family was mercifully and miraculously left unscathed.
September 11 also ignited an intense anger for me that there are so many books, documentaries, films and authority figures which attempt to demonise Islam. These atrocities were committed by a few down and outs - period. The official 9/11 government report clearly states that those who were trained to commit such crimes were a mixture of mentally unstable, drug addicted, heavy drinking ne’er do wells. I mean do you know of any Muslims who drink heavily? I don’t! And if we examine atrocities throughout history, it’s pretty much the same banal old story of an ‘organisational storm’: a nutter or two at the top, a bunch of yes-men and a number of highly uneducated, alienated, deprived or dissipated individuals who can easily be inculcated to do their superiors’ dirty work if they are made to feel good about themselves.
We can thus conclude that a terrorist plot is a storm created by the likes of community isolation, poor education, lack of opportunity and poor brain chemicals. Throw a couple of clever psychopaths into the equation who accurately sense the zeitgeist, offer a false sense of hope & belonging and bingo the horror show is on the road.
I work full-time in the Arab world and I find their culture most interesting. It is therefore infuriating to me to observe politicians and the media sensationalising what is the result of banal, but highly dangerous psycho-cybernetic glitches which could happen anywhere and in any situation. However, not many authority figures seem interested in methodically identifying and addressing these glitches because it represents REAL work and a long journey into the unknown which can only be undertaken over the very long-term. This work cannot by its very nature contribute to the short-termist goals of Party Politics, so it never gets done. Furthermore, the fact that the underlying reasons for terrorism are pretty banal and generic is not a sexy story which will spin money in the media sector, so the reasons for terrorist acts have to be dramatized to the nth degree. The ‘terror story’ is also disgracefully abused by Politicians to gain personal popularity (…think axis of evil ‘Bushit’).
For me, all this is one VERY good reason to put aside Party Politics and get on with the business of sorting out our world systems – we need good, visionary systems people like Dr Phillip Lee MP on the national scene, not spineless, self-interested career Politicians. We also need more websites and periodicals like Entrepreneur Country which are committed to exploring and promoting healthy change around the world, rather than contributing to the daily international soap opera and inciting any form of mindless material or occupational competition which might be in vogue. Above all we need people in authority in all sectors who encourage co-creativity at work, in education and the community.
Unfortunately, a culture of Party Politics which ignores system glitches creates a culture of campaigning rather than co-creation. We are therefore effectively encouraging fighting for the sake of fighting – in fact, you could call it ‘administrative terrorism’ or ‘bureaucratic terrorism’ because the price we pay is so very high – particularly in healthcare where lives are at stake. Therefore, in a sense we are continuously at war but without the bloodshed. Unfortunately, however, there IS bloodshed of a kind and it is taking place insidiously in the likes of the NHS as the result of poor services. And the only way we can put an end to all this is if system visibility and improvement becomes a priority and is made a way of life – both nationally and internationally.