It's fifteen years since the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th 2001. I find it hard to believe it was so long ago. Could it really be so long since the world took that turn, a turn largely for the worse?
In the aftermath of the attacks it became very clear, very quickly, that a knee jerk reaction of violence and aggression was the worst possible course of action, and that this was precisely where the world was headed. The wars that followed 9/11, and the wars that have fed off them, seem no nearer to burning out.
Since 9/11, intolerance of different cultures has increased, terrorism has got worse, religious fundamentalism in its many guises has retrenched, and millions of people are on the road possibly never to return home. In my home country there have been many attacks on our way of life, both physically and in legislation - especially in terms of civil liberties that in some places are in open rout.
Within a day of the attacks I'd started to write about them - mostly not very well. My first effort was presented a year after the events and was truly awful. I feel quite ashamed of it, but I was only twenty at the time. It took me a few years to find what I needed to write about - and, since 2005, our failed response to terror as a society has been a major part of my work.
On this anniversary of those attacks I'm releasing as radio dramas two short plays I wrote around ten years ago - both are about how terror is a catch all excuse to take our rights away. The first is Fantasy Terrorist League, which is about the abuse of detainees, torture and internment. The follow up, Keynote Speaker, was a comic variation to the original story - about a man who wants to get interned so that he could sue the government for compensation. I had hoped these two plays would cease to be relevant after a few years, but both keep popping up. They are available to listen for free, for the first time, see below.
I have recorded a number of variations on this theme - a related but slightly different story is The Project After which another company recorded a few years ago and is linked below. It's a short comedy about censorship, often self censorship, in the modern world - I presented it with the first two plays as The Fantasy Terrorist Variations in 2012.
Lastly, there's the short drama, A Little Learning, based on accounts of the kidnapped school children in Nigeria, but which has been a repeated troupe throughout history. Whilst all the plays below have their moments, that is the only piece I would class as requiring a trigger warning - loath them though I do.
Despite the generally depressing nature of these events in the world, there is hope. Hope that if we treat people with decency and don't club innocents in with genuine 'evil doers', then we might get through the next few decades with our humanity intact. I'm currently planning a large scale account of the post 9/11 world. I fervently hope it will become swiftly irrelevant and that the audiences wonder what the fuss is about.
Fantasy Terrorist League - written and performed by Robert Crighton
Keynote Speaker - written by Robert Crighton
With Simon Nader as Sir John Spencer
The Project After - by Robert Crighton
External Link - http://www.frequencytheatre.co.uk/play/the-project-after/
A Little Learning - by Robert Crighton