Giovanni Savino Photography | A DIVIDED NATION
united |yoōˈnītid| |juˈnaɪd1d|

joined together politically, for a common purpose, or by common feelings

I had always thought I was a veteran, a hardened and at times even a bit cynical newsman, until that September eleven.

Years of travel to disaster areas and war zones did not prevent me to get deeply touched and traumatized by the events of nine years ago right in the heart of the city I call home.

When the twin towers were brought down I spent over four uninterrupted weeks in the area of what soon came to be known as “Ground Zero”, working for a television network.

We witnessed and reported the stupor, the incredulity and the sheer pain at first and later on, as the days passed by, the human strength, the heroism and civic values of the American people.

One of the things that helped me most in surviving emotionally such a horrible experience was the sense of togetherness and unity I could perceive around me, all the time.

On the morning of September 11 2010, nine years later, as I walked the streets around ground zero on a photo assignment, I witnessed two main events, a city block away from each other: a rally in favor of the controversial Mosque, which is to be built nearby, and a rally by radical anti-abortionists. I took a few shots of both events and, despite my absolute respect, unobtrusiveness and a police press pass around my neck, I managed to be shoved rather impolitely in my chest, while I was taking a shot, by a Lieutenant screaming “and next time I’ll take your camera from you”.

A lot of thoughts went through my mind while I pressed on with my assignment with a bitter taste in my mouth. I think I can say that my visit to ground zero didn’t allow me see much unity or civic values in my fellows Americans today. I think, had it not be for the massive police presence, most of the people there, some them screaming “Allah Akbar” in a megaphone, others kneeling to Jesus Christ in front of the poster depicting a dismembered fetus, would have gladly tried to slash each others throat.

Categories & Keywords
Category:City Scenes
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:911, Allah, American, Attack, Fundamentalism, Ground Zero, Jesus, Mosque, NYC, New York City, September 11, United States of America, anti abortion, anti abortionist, divider, people, pro choice, rally, streets, terrorism, unifier, united, unity, values