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Friday, September 19th, 2003

Yesterday evening my wife and I saw Senegal musician, singer-songwriter, Youssou N'Dour play at the intimate Byham Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.

Youssou and has band (about 10 other musicians), played for an hour and 45 minutes, (give or take.) I wish I understood the language, but regardless it was a fun and lively concert. Youssou put on a very good show, and before the performance was over the audience was standing and clapping in time. Some devoted fans danced in the aisle, and even climbed the stage to dance. The band took it in stride and seemed as amused as everyone else as the women shook their 'booties'.

The night closed with only Youssou, a drummer, and an organist on the stage. Youssou said that too often when people think of Africa, they only think of three things: aids, poverty and war. He said the song that they were about to play was about the beauty and joy of Africa. The lights went down, and the organ thrummed through the crowd, vibrating our chests as Youssou sang with great emotion.

I'd definitely recommend seeing him.

Thursday, September 11th, 2003

The homicidal events of September 11th, 2001 are still raw and painful in the memories of Americans; as well they should be.These days I find that I advert my eyes from the TV reruns of the towers succumbing into stormy gray shadows of debris and death. The memory of some 3,000 people crushed and burned on live television still curdles my stomach. The images: slow-motion reruns of murder, neatly captured between commercials... And then there are the deaths of those on United Airlines flights 93, 77 and the Pentagon: too often forgotten.

I wonder how time will dilute the pain and the memories. Even now there is a generation alive that are too young to remember that day. As early as a decade and a half some of them will be old enough to vote, and although they'll have grown up in a country and a world changed by those horrors, they won't 'feel' the difference. The before, the after, the hollow space in the skyline will for them always be, 'as it always has been'.

This realization makes me think of the calamities my parents witnessed. The memories of the before and after of their lives. I may intellectually know about the events of their lives, but I can't feel the difference like they must.

Times have changed. We can do everything bigger, and faster now.
Humanity had better figure out solutions to our problems soon, or I really doubt that humans will survive for many more generations.

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This page was last modified: 1/9/2004
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