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From theJanuary 2002 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 49, No. 1)

After Sept. 11: A New Worldview

Letters to the Editor

What A Difference a Day Makes
I just opened my November issue of WPR and found the striking photo of the young Czech woman with her candle-lighted flag and the equally striking editorial, “Without a Compass.” Both are keepers. I’ll mount the photo where I can see it all day. In conversation with family and friends, I expect to refer (with attribution) to some of your editorial thoughts that helped me create a sense of direction and focus, which the reading of tens of thousands of words has not. Your editorial seems finally to have unlocked the door to my grief, and for that I’m grateful.
In an attempt to salve the spiritual and intellectual wounds that marked my soul in the days after Sept. 11—and not finding such a palliative in the press or on television—I sent to family and friends a few pages from Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth, in which he lists the greetings from people on Earth to whichever Others the Voyager spacecraft might encounter out there. The greetings manifest a simplicity, directness, sweetness, and “homeliness” that surfaced in my memory (a decade after I first read them) amid the images of smoke and fire and rubble and immeasurable human anguish.

Rex Malcolm, Woodland Hills, California

I have been reading World Press Review since it was Atlas in the 1960s.The quality of the November issue was remarkable for me. I have always appreciated the courage you have had in printing what often seems to be unprintable in the USA. But that issue gave me understanding of what happened, and hope.

—Warland D. Wight, Seattle, Washington

While most of the columnists [responding to the Sept. 11 attacks] professed shock, horror, and compassion for those they termed innocent victims, I noted an underlying filament of glee that seemed to weave through most of the articles. There were some articles that showed heartbroken outrage at what had happened; but for the most part the authors could barely contain their gleefulness at either the United States getting its just desserts for being arrogant or unaware of other nations’ needs. Most seemed to be quite satisfied that U.S. citizens were no longer unbloodied. I am quite glad that I read the entire issue.

I have always felt that the only way one could possibly know what the future might bring is to know as much about the present as possible. Knowing for sure about the contempt and disgust most people, even among our “allies,” have for the United States and her citizens gives me armor against the future.

—Patricia Wadley, Arlington, Texas

Thanks for your appropriate and exclusive focus on Sept. 11. I always pass on my copies of your magazine to others to enjoy and learn from. I suspect I might be keeping this one. The whole world, focused through the lens of NYC 9-11-01. The local and the universal together.

—Phil Dacey, Lynd, Minnesota

As an occasional reader of your magazine, I happened to pick up the issue regarding Sept. 11. Please know that reading your editorial on page 3 (“Without A Compass,” From the Editor) prompted an immediate mailing of a new subscription request. Not only is the content of WPR superb, but I believe I can trust an editor with the depth of feeling and insight conveyed in your
latest editorial.

—Tim Baker, Washington, D.C.

WPR’s November issue may well be, for me and I hope for others, the most important bit of reading in a very long time. At the same time I am fearful of the entire country being caught up in this “hunt for Bin Laden”—losing any sight of how we arrived at this hell. Our hurt and our anger is blinding us to several important historical facts, not to mention some of the attitudes toward Americans and our government. These are realities with which we must deal. Thanks to your entire organization for what you do.

—Jim Kennedy, Greensboro, North Carolina

We welcome comments from readers.

The events of the past months have forced all of us to approach ordinary activities in new ways. Effective immediately, World Press Review will accept only faxed or e-mailed letters to the editor. Only letters accompanied by the writer's full name, postal address, and telephone number will be considered for publication. All other types of correspondence to WPR regarding subscriber inquiries and other matters will be discarded unless the envelope is clearly marked with the sender's full name and postal address.

Fax: (212) 982-6968

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