Hardly a surprise what first springs to mind when thinking of the year 2001.
I was in first year uni, still living at home, and I’d just gone to bed. My mum came in and said I needed to get up and see what was going on because it was ‘the start of world war 3’.
I got up, and when I got to the TV, the second plane hit. We sat and watched the TV in silence. There was nothing we could say.
I had a political science tutorial at uni the very next morning. The room was quiet. Everyone was tired from being up all night watching the news and again, we didn’t know what to say. One of the students walked in a bit late, apologising and babbling about what a morning she’d had. She looked around the room and asked what had happened. She hadn’t seen the news yet.
As a 18/19 year old, in first year uni and feeling very idealistic about just about everything, it was an emotional time. The event itself is beyond words in its horror and what it sparked with two wars and countless acts of racism all over the world is even worse.
Fallout from the towers and other 2001 events
Of course, the main flow-on-effect from the tower attack was the start of the War in Afghanistan, which is still going with no real signs of ending.
Also in America, Enron collapsed, which few people saw coming and fewer still seemed to know how to handle it and what it would mean for the way we do finance. As much of the world is still reeling from the Global Financial Crisis, it’s strange to think it kind of started over a decade ago.
In Australia, 2001 was a bad year of racism and backlash against people who have already suffered so much. In early 2001 there was the Tampa affair. The conservative government at the time refused a Norwegian ship from entering an Australian dock because the ship was carrying a bunch of rescued asylum seekers. It was such a low point in our collective history, and it’s far from the worst thing to be done that year.
Later in 2001, a boat known as SIEV X sank on its way to Australia. Hundreds of people died. The Howard Government used it as a political tool against asylum seekers, claiming the women on the boat were throwing their children overboard in a bid to get picked up by the Australian Navy. It was a dark time for Australia, and to be honest, we haven’t got better as a nation at being compassionate to asylum seekers.
Political me, music me
I did a few new things in 2001. I started uni, because I didn’t know what else to do with myself, and in Australia I could defer the fees and afford to go. I moved out of home into a share house towards the end of the year and I joined Amnesty and a couple of other social groups at uni in an attempt to get friends. Big moves for me.
Musically, I was listening to a bunch of old British punk stuff (The Clash), a bit of old English pop stuff (The Smiths) and some ‘alternative’ stuff (The Faint). I also started to listen to some heavier stuff, such as Rammstein, a fair bit in 2001, breaking my pattern of bands that start with ‘the’. I wasn’t listening to commercial radio at all any more, so the stuff in the music charts pretty much completely passed me by.