Terrorist atrocities don’t fall within the usual remit of blogs like mine, but due to the vicissitudes of the sleep patterns of young children I happened to be awake at three a.m. this morning. Having settled Charlie back to bed I did what I often do at such small hours moments and tuned in (with headphones) to the BBC World Service. I find having someone else’s thoughts pumped into my head instead of my own helps sleep return better than if I lie staring at the ‘soundless dark’. But at three a.m. this morning there was a play about George W.Bush and his administration’s response in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
I didn’t sleep; gripping, fascinating and horrifying in equal measure, the play painted a sympathetic portrait of Bush as he struggled first to comprehend then respond to the outrage. Here was a leader at once human, decisive, commanding and also (strangely) lucid. Only as the hawks gathered and talk of ‘retribution’ begin to appear of the agenda did the more familiar image of the former president and his men and women emerge.
It’s a powerful play. Try and catch it if you can in the next seven days on BBC iPlayer. It added a dimension to the horror that I hadn’t considered. It didn’t help me sleep any better, although I did drift off again eventually. When I woke it was with my family safe around me, unlike the many families affected by the 9/11 tragedy. A reason to be thankful, and to remember all those who lost loved ones ten years ago today.