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Berkeley Solano Stroll

September 11th, 2001

Is There An Agenda?
Polly, welcome to the American Dream. I hope you are not on an airplane.

It is mid morning. The news is on television. Our office building is near the Oakland Federal Building, which was evacuated earlier this morning because it stands out on the skyline like a miniature version of the Trade Center towers. We finally looked at one another and said "fuck it, let's go home". It's in times like these, in the middle of trouble, that you say crazy things and make terrible decisions. Bush, be smart, please don't be stupid.

Afghanistan? Taliban? Iraq? Palestine? Time to turn down the screws. There are other ways to attack a city - biological weapons, nuclear weapons - and we are told they are out there, available, for a price. We need to do things to stop their use. If that's possible. And maybe that means blood and destruction, a simultaneous strike to seek revenge and save the world. But I doubt it. Revenge and sanity do not live easily in the same room. "Collateral damage." They say we're chicken shit about collateral damage. Collateral damage, like those of us today in the towers.

Later in the afternoon. Oakland feels disoriented. Most of the people in my building have gone home.Oakland Art and Soul festival I drove home, fiddled with my still not working DSL, and then decided to walk back to the office with a camera. A need to be out on the street. Only two people on my end of the floor, so I checked my email and went across the street to the brewery pub. Maybe fifteen people in the whole place. They were serving beer, no food, and five of those fifteen (in a place that usually holds well over a hundred) were coworkers drinking beer and watching CNN. I joined them. The sun made the street outside bright through the big pane glass windows. A beautiful day totally ignored. They say this is a turning point. Turning point to what? to where? I have no idea, but a relatively small group of people have been able, without too much effort, to (essentially) kill thousands of people not very different from me and bring the country to a standstill on a Tuesday morning in September.

Jerusalem's boundaries evidently now encircle the world and we all live in settlements, peering with frightened eyes from behind paper walls. Biblical shit. Another appointment to add to our calendar: Armageddon. Which month is that? Late morning or mid afternoon? Anything special we need to bring? Is there an agenda?

The photographs were taken at the Oakland Art and Soul festival.