Tales from Suburban Bohemia: Attacks Against America
This post originally appeared on Stumpy Moose on 13 September, 2001, and was migrated to PraguePig.com on 1 December, 2018.
Needless to say, I’m not going to write anything very lighthearted or humorous this week.
We were lolling around at home on Tuesday afternoon, playing on the PlayStation.
The first we heard about the terrorist attacks on the USA was a phone call from our friend Mike Jones. He was at his parents’ home in Dorset watching CNN and told us to switch the news on. Two planes had collided with the World Trade Center.
We tried BBC World Service radio and there was only a documentary about Francis Ford Coppola. Czech television was showing the usual daytime dross. CT1, the main state channel, was showing “Doctor Quinn – Medicine Woman” (“Doktorka Quinnova” in Czech). There was no indication that anything terrible had happened.
Then the World Service interrupted its usual broadcast and the news began to filter through.
We have quite a few friends in New York, and a couple of them — Amery and Phil — were in Prague just a week ago. Phil works for Deutsche Bank on Liberty Street, very close to the World Trade Center.
The scale of the incidents became more obvious. By now the two main Czech commercial TV stations, Nova and Prima, had broadcast news-flashes showing the plane hitting the second tower.
We tried to call Phil’s mobile but the line was busy. At first we thought this was a good sign — maybe he was talking to friends and family, letting them know he was OK. Then we heard that the phone system was down in New York and began to worry again.
By now CT2 had switched to live Euronews pictures of the World Trade Center and it was showing those pictures when the second tower collapsed.
A couple of friends came round and we carried on watching TV and listening to the BBC. Finally, we managed to get through to Amery at home. Phil had taken the day off.
Later my Dad phoned to let me know that my old friends Marcus and Simon Benjamin (My bandmates in The Candyshrimps) and their wives were all OK. It was unlikely that they would have been in the area at the time but it was a relief nonetheless.
Over here, the reaction has been as strong as anywhere else in Europe.
There was a gathering yesterday (September 12th) on Prague’s Wenceslas Square to show solidarity with the victims and the biggest mobile phone operator is offering free calls to the USA.
Blood bags are on stand-by in case they’re needed, and the Czech Republic’s emergency rescue team — who normally help out with earthquakes — are waiting for the call.
A hell of a week.