The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Friday, September 12, 2008

where i was

I was sitting in my car, parked on Kilcullen Main Street.
Earlier I'd collected the Mother from one of her card games. We'd gone for coffee and now we were on the road home. She left me for a minute to get something in the shops.
I switched on the radio to RTE, Ireland's national radio and television broadcaster.
A voice said: "We are all thinking about the tragedy in America. Our hearts go out to the people there. We will have more news at three o'clock. For now we'll continue with Rattle Bag."
Rattle Bag is the Irish National broadcaster's arts programme.
On Nine Eleven, the Irish National broadcaster continued with Rattle Bag.
I have never forgiven them for it.
I moved the radio dial to a local station.
The station was Tipperary North FM.
Tipperary North FM broadcasts without State subsidy.
People there actually work for a living.
Tipperary North FM had already gone live to New York and was giving minute by minute updates of the situation.
The situation was this.
Someone had hijacked aeroplanes and crashed them into sky scrapers in New York.
Thousands of people were dead.
My Mother returned to the car.
"There's been an attack on America," I told her.
"Oh God," she said.
We drove home.
The Dad met us in the hall.
He'd seen the news on Sky television.
We went into the living room and watched the images on the screen.
"Who did it?" said the Mammy.
I considered her question.
"There's a tiny possibility of Russia or China," I replied. "But I'd say it was the Muslims."
"There's no sign of President Bush," said the Dad.
"You won't see President Bush today," I guessed. "The Americans won't let anyone know exactly where he is until they've assessed the full extent of the threat from whoever's attacking them."
(President Bush did address the American people on the day. But from a location that could not be immediately identified by friend or foe.)
We watched for a while longer.
There was some recorded footage of Sky journalists talking nonsense about flight paths close to the towers, after the first plane hit. But the journalists were entitled to a little leeway today. None of us were keeping the score.
On Fox News a stringer journalist working for an affiliate on the spot, interviewed a young man who had just run up the street from the towers.
The Fox stringer said to the man: "Hadn't you better go back and see if there's anyone else who needs help?"
It was the second most vile thing I've ever seen on television.
Keeping the score or not, it was abysmal.
(The first most vile thing I've seen on television happened years before, when an Irish presenter called Gabriel Byrne told the parents of murdered toddler Jamie Bolger: "You have to forgive. You have to forgive if you're Christian." Gabriel Byrne's statement to the parents of murdered toddler Jamie Bolger is the single most unchristian thing I've ever heard. And unrequitedly the vilest.)
I left the Healy house and drove to Dublin.
There was a traffic jam on the quays.
A young man and woman strode past my car.
The young man was saying: "Bill and Rowena are in New York at the moment. They might be in a lot of trouble."
I found a park at the Stephens Green Centre.
It was a sunny day in Dublin.
I fell into step behind a flock of young business people. They were striding along, talking animatedly about the news.
Outside an electrical goods shop on Dawson Street a group of about twenty people had gathered.
They were staring open mouthed at the images playing and replaying over and over on TV screens in the shop window.
I drifted down the street.
Outside another electrical goods shop near the Hodges Figgis bookstore, a similar crowd had gathered.
I glanced around.
I caught the eye of one man.
He was rough hewn.
He was smiling.
I glared at him.
He tried to stare me out.
He dropped his eyes to the pavement and wiped the smirk off his face.
The eternal satan.
Never far away.
I walked onwards towards O'Connell Street.
There was an aura of palpable emotion everywhere.
I like to think some of it was shock.
I like to think some of my countrymen knew already that we'd all been attacked.
I wandered into the Oval Bar which is beside Eason's bookshop on Abbey Street.
There was a television in the bar.
Reports coming in indicated a plane had struck the Pentagon and that more planes were unaccounted for, and apparently still in flight.
I looked into my heart.
These things call for wisdom.
If you drag God into it in an undiscerning way, you can end up hating God.
I didn't for a second think that Muslims were being favoured by God.
I didn't for a second think I myself was a holy enough person to discern the mystical truth behind the mayhem Muslims had inflicted on humanity.
But I knew God was here in some way.
I wondered where and how.
It didn't seem impossible to me, that like the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese before them, the cowards of Islam were being permitted their day, that they were in some part a judgement upon us, that they would have an hour, before the wrath of the free world engulfed them.
But I never for a moment thought God favoured them.
They just don't act like Godly people.
"How much Lord?" I murmured. "How much do they get?"
By which I meant, how much victory would be granted to Muslim murderers on this day of hell.
I wandered into Easons bookshop.
For the next hour I moved between the book shop and the bar.
On my final visit to the bar there was a new report coming in.
A fourth aeroplane had been downed over Pensylvania.
This was Flight 93.
There was some speculation on the news that it might have been shot down by the American Airforce.
I felt instantly that this was not what had happened.
I knew.
The passengers had taken it back from the Muslim cowards who had presumed to hijack it.
They had sent the murderers home to Allah.
I felt the intuition of knowledge.
There would be no more Muslim victories today.
The will of God had denied them anything further through the actions of the American heroes on Flight 93.
Now the cowards of Al Qaeda would face an enemy tougher than unarmed air hostesses and unsuspecting airline passengers.
They would face the American army.
I had a feeling the Muslim cowards of Al Qaeda would find the coming encounter with the American army far less enjoyable.


Blogger Kat said...


3:46 PM  
Blogger heelers said...

It only took me seven years.

2:25 AM  

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