September 21, 2001

Before and After

Stories in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001.


Ira talks with two New Yorkers on their reactions to seeing something they could never have believed possible. They acted in ways that they never had before, just ran around and around in circles. (4 minutes)
Act Two

Watching From The River's Edge

David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again. (9 minutes)


“100 Years from Now” by Wilco
Act Three

Notes From The Underground

In our search for events that might illuminate what we've seen in New York this week, we hear interviews with survivors of a terrorist attack that happened in a crowded city, during rush hour, just six years ago. On March 20, 1995, the Aum cult dropped plastic bags of poison gas on the Tokyo subway. Haruki Murakami interviewed dozens of survivors about what happened, and how they got on with their lives afterwards. The English edition of the book of interviews is called Underground: the Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, and he gave us permission to read portions of it here. (12 minutes)

Act Five

U.s.a., Me-s.a.

Ira talks with Chicago Public Radio reporter Shirley Jahad about white Chicagoans and Arab-American Chicagoans facing off, each side waving American flags and shouting "U.S.A."...and how each means very different things when they do it. (6 minutes)