From the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No. 11)

Metropolis Madness

Nilay Karaelmas, Radikal (liberal), Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 16, 2001. Karaelmas is WPR’s Ankara correspondent

Some people are in love with cities! I’m one of these people. Such a love and passion I cannot explain. Does this love have any kind of logic?

Of course, I am speaking of New York. I lived there for about six years. And on Sept. 11, I lived its nightmare. Petrified at first, I then watched through tears as the first tower collapsed, live, on television. I bellowed, crying, “My city is gone; my tower is gone.” A moment later, when one of my friends called me in horror and panic, I was nearly exhausted.

As my friend on the phone asked, “What are you saying? I do not understand,” I was crying. Later, as I watched the collapse of the second tower, my tear drops were melded with my anger. Immediately, I tried to call my friends in New York. It was useless; I could not reach them by any means.

When I lived in New York, the towers, the city’s smell gave me a rush of energy when I left for work in the morning. Those towers are gone now. No, I don’t live in Manhattan any longer, but believe me, my sorrow is overwhelming.

Even on those days when I had no work to do, I sometimes made trips around the city just to feel its liveliness. Everybody who lives in New York is a New Yorker, and I feel honored to be a New Yorker, too. When I attended New York University in Greenwich Village, the first thing I saw after getting out of the subway was those towers. I even have a photograph of myself, like a tourist’s snapshot, taken boastingly when I started living in the city. I cannot explain to you what a great pleasure it was to look out at the city while enjoying a slice of John’s Pizza.

In the late hours of the disaster, I managed to reach my friends who now live in New York, by phone and e-mail. They were inconsolable. Though well, they have survived a great disaster. Thousands of people have died, and New York has been devastated. Since the day of the disaster, I haven’t been able to tear myself away from the TV screen. When Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York, announces information about the injured and dead on CNN, I listen carefully. First thing in the morning, I check The New York Times on the Internet. I certainly do not want to miss what the weather will be like in New York.

The towers are gone. My city has taken a beating, but I believe that it will rise again. And yet I am still crying for the thousands of New Yorkers who have perished.

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