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Thoughts from the Netherlands

Since it happened, just before 3:00 in the afternoon our time, there has been a continuous program on television and radio about the disasters. Experts are trying to explain; interviews with all kinds of people, including a teacher of the American School in Wassenaar, near The Hague, are being broadcast. Dutch reporters (some on vacation in the US) are reporting their views.

A Dutch female journalist who lives near the World Trade Center said that one of her neighbours came driving home on the Brooklyn Bridge and that his car was being hit by body parts that were flying around. It is incredible.

I talked to a friend, who is a manager of a home furnishing store, and the minute she heard it she changed the radio channel and turned the volume up even though she would normally not have done this while there are clients in the store.

When I heard what happened, I was just getting into my car after my classes at the university and I just had to call my friend, Marlous. We both love New York, having been there together, and are planning another trip in the coming spring. When we were in last in New York, we had planned to go up the the World Trade Center to get something to eat in the restaurant, but we were too early and it had not yet opened (jetlag tends to wake you up early and make you go walk the streets of New York the same time the New Yorkers go to work).

Now we will never be able to go. I've have had a knot in my stomach ever since I heard about it, and seeing those magnificent towers go down, terrible. And all the people that have died. Really, I have no words for this.

Anyway, this is what I can tell you right now about what happens in my little country after the major disaster in the United States.

What amazes me is that it still has not been able to track down Osama Bin Laden who is said to be the brain and financer of this. It is clear however, that "normal" people do not have fools that are willing to sacrifice their life and the lives of many others for "a greater cause" and therefore, it seems a battle we cannot win when sticking to our -- if I may say so -- clean methods. It's like a guerilla-war, an off-balance situation where the "little" one is causing enormous damage to the "big" one but cannot be caught and figured out, its actions being unpredictable and so very cruel. They absolutely do not value life at all.

I heard that since the attack of 1993, the US government has been especially prepared for terrorist attacks, but that they were not expecting to have passenger planes being hijacked and sent to crash onto buildings.

Who could have imagined that something similar to what Tom Clancy wrote would become reality?

At the airport in Amsterdam there are about 5,000 people stranded, planning to go to the States. My parents are in Canada at the moment, now visiting Toronto, and there the streets are quiet too. People are said to be leaving the city center. The impact is just beyond my comprehension. I just cannot understand what has happened.

Anyway, this is what I can tell you right now about what happens in my little country after the major disaster in the United States. In the background, I hear constant reports about what happened on tv. Incredible and unbelievable what has happened.

by Caroline Verel