THE CHILDREN OF 9/11

It’s to my shame, or sorrow, that I spent nearly a year walking past the Imperial War Museum in London, trying to take the boy inside me gently by the hand and walk him safely towards the balanced love I needed, and a woman in America. It was not necessary, but for whatever reason, I found someone else’s absolutes so extreme, and the split between the aggressive energy in me, and the gentle and tender love I craved, so great, I could not do it until it was far too late. I had to drum up an effective excuse to fly out to New York at all, a meeting with a new agent, funnily enough over a Vampire novel I was writing to try and bring in more money, that was its own journey into hell. It is either a little pathetic, sometimes funny, or just rather sad.

One of the most moving programmes last night was a documentary on The Children of 9/11. It shocked me to realise that over 3000 suffered in that attack and lost a parent, but they are the future we forget. The emotions were very mixed, in listening to them, about the vital roles parents play in our lives. The cruelty that sometimes came from their peers, because children can be enormously cruel, and the fact they both wanted to grieve and live normal lives, so not be defined by what happened. The chains of interconnections in any event in life can be very great, but it was deeply effecting, and many have moved on and some been left behind. Then came something absolutely shattering, the film of The Boy In Striped Pyjammas. It’s the story of the son of the Nazi Camp commandant, who befriends a little Jewish boy and is pulled into the horror. Remembering Michael Murpugo’s brilliant Dimbleby lecture about Palestine, even in remembering 9/11, it might remind us of the best in childhood, and the most terrible, and that children everywhere are constantly growing up into a world future we might all try to make better. That in any fences, even for protection, there are always reflections of ourselves on ‘the other side’, and life is always made in the best union, even the best trade of worlds. We all want to grow up in safety to be the fullest and most complete human beings we can, and effectively the best parents of others and ourselves.

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