Before this job, before banking, I was employed as a customs clerk and worked in a company’s shipping department. On that day I was on Queen’s Wharf, the main shipping port in north Trinidad. I was the main administrative building. I had just paid some storage rent for the cargo the company I worked for and was killing some time while one of my coworkers was coming to meet me. The TV was on and it was some boring local talk show that I wasn’t paying too much attention to. I was too focused on getting a new high score on Snake on my old Nokia 5160.
Soon I noticed a commotion going on around me. I looked up. Everyone was gathering in front of the television that was fixed to the wall. I looked at the screen to see what was going on. On it, a building was on fire. It took me only a few seconds to recognize that it was one of the World Trade Centre towers. I heard the reporter saying something about a horrible accident with a plane.
He had hardly finished saying it before the second plane came flying into the other tower.
“It good for dem!” another customs clerk shouted when realized that this was no accident, “Dem blasted Americans always interfering in other people business.”
I wanted to hit him. I don’t care what your opinion is, this isn’t the kind of thing you said was “good” for anyone.
“Aye, boy!” another clerk shouted back at him, “You can’t say dat! It have Trini’s there too you know.”
“Well then dey deserve what happen to dem!” said the first clerk, “Why dey leave sweet T&T to go up there? Ent dey look for what dey get?”
I left. I couldn’t stand listening to that conversation any longer. What was happening? Everything was normal up till that moment. In my mind, I knew everything was going to change. The world wasn’t perfect but at least, right up until I saw the news, I could fool myself into believing the world was a safe place. It had happened so far away, but I knew everything had turned upside down by this event. The game had changed and nothing was ever going to be the same. I hated whoever was responsible. My sense of safety and security was gone.
Today I, along with millions of others, heard the news that the man responsible for those attacks almost ten years ago was killed in an assault on one of his compounds. Just like that, he was no more. I don’t celebrate his dying but I’m not going to mourn his death either. Of course, it isn’t over. My naive sense of safety was long since diminished since those days. At the very least, there’s one less instigator of fear and hatred in the world.
That will have to do.