An ode to America
Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one another even
if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an
astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct,
others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious
beliefs, not even God can count how many they are.
Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people
into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House,
the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers.
Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets
nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to
give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the
flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the
colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as
if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was
On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: "God
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on
Saturday once, twice, three times, on different TV channels. There were
Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius
Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stalone, James Wood,
and many others whom no film or producers could ever bring together.
The American's solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually,
choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of
the American soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor
Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words
and sounds, was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this
I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of
America didn't sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made you
green with envy because you weren't able to sing for your country
without running the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or
suspected of who-knows-what mean interests.
I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours
listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with
a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the
Californian hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented
the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other
hundreds or thousands of people. How on earth were they able to bow
before a fellow human?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some
turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call,
millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at
rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which nothing can buy.
What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land?
Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours
to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of
sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only
Only freedom can work such miracles!