How does the saying go? When two locusts fight, it is always the crow that feasts.'Is that a Luo expression?' I asked. Sayid's face broke into a bashful smile. We have a similar expression in Luo,' he said, 'but actually I must admit that I read this particular expression in a book by Chinua Achebe. The Nigerian writer. I like his books very much. He speaks the truth about Africa's predicament. The Nigerian, the Kenya - it is the same. We share more than divides us.
He was an American character, one typical of men of his generation, men who embraced the notion of freedom and individualism and the open road without always knowing its price, and whose enthusiasms could as easily lead to the cowardice of McCarthyism as to the heroics of World War II. Men who were both dangerous and promising precisely because of their fundamental innocence; men prone, in the end, to disappointment.
And then, on September 11, the world fractured. It's beyond my skill as a writer to capture that day and the days that would follow--the planes, like specters, vanishing into steel and glass; the slow-motion cascade of the towers crumbling into themselves; the ash-covered figures wandering the streets; the anguish and the fear. Nor do I pretend to understand the stark nihilism that drove the terrorists that day and that drives their brethren still. My powers of empathy, my ability to reach into another's heart, cannot penetrate the blank stares of those would murder innocents with abstract, serene satisfaction.