September 17, 2007

Last night CBC aired the poignant documentary "9/11: The Falling Man". This unsettling photo was published word wide on September 12 but then disappered due to public anger. The print media's self-censorship contributed, the film argues, to the deliberate avoidance of a most gruesome thought: that people chose to jump to their deaths on that fateful morning. Instead the media specifically focused on presenting images of the heroic. The film reminds us that many peoples' loved ones were essentially erased from public discourse (and public grieving) simply because the jumpers had made this last act of free will.
It is impossible to watch the footage and not imagine oneself in this harrowing position. It is also impossible, it seems to me, to judge these doomed souls as they wrestled with a most horrible choice. And yet there's that iconic photo, like that of Phan Thị Kim Phúc 29 years earlier, a defining image full of grace and a strange peace amidst a cacophony of fire and terror.

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