- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

'Like the pyramids'
As Hashem Makib watched the television coverage of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York, his first thought was of the massive loss of lives.
His second was of the loss of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Mr. Makib, the new press counselor at the Egyptian Embassy, said those "golden, shinning, beautiful buildings" were as much a part of the New York skyline as the pyramids are to Egypt.
He admired those buildings every day when he was a diplomat at the United Nations in 1989; he and his wife had their photograph taken with the towers in the background on their honeymoon in 1993.
"They were part of wonderful memories for me. The anguish, the pain I felt when I saw them coming down," he said, as his words trailed off.
He said all diplomats at the embassy were shocked at the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon and extended their sympathy to the relatives of the victims.
"We're all so very sorry. We feel for you," he said. "If there is anything the Egyptian people can do for the American people, we will do so."
Reactions such as those were common among diplomats throughout Washington, many from countries that also had suffered national traumas.
Shafeeq N. Ghabra, director of the Kuwait Information Office, was in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.
"It reminded me of some of the things that went on then," he said. "You wake up one morning, and it is a different reality."
Mr. Ghabra predicted the American people would not cower before the terrorist attacks.
"Whoever did this will not get what they wanted," he said. "America will be much stronger."
Peter Reid, the British Embassy spokesman, has seen terrorist attacks in his native Northern Ireland but nothing on the scale of the Tuesday attacks.
As he watched the television coverage, his first feelings were of "disbelief, horror and then feeling sick." Others gathered and drew the comparisons to Northern Ireland.
"I don't want to diminish this. I don't want to draw parallels," he said, calling the attacks "epoch-making" in their scale of death.

Witness to 'darkness'
Kuwait's ambassador called the terrorists attacks "darkness beyond description."
"Words cannot describe the horror inflicted on the American people," said Ambassador Salem Abdullah Jabr Sabah.
Tuesday "we witnessed darkness beyond description," he said. "In the tomorrows to come, we know that America will show its signature determination and resolve in rebuilding what it can, but [Tuesdays attacks] will always remain seared in the world's consciousness."
The South African Embassy, meanwhile, announced the opening of an Internet condolence book for South African citizens in the United States to express their sympathy. The site is https://usaembassy.southafrica.net.
At U.S. embassies, officials and ordinary citizens continued to display their shock and grief.
In Strasbourg, France, Walter Schwimmer, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, expressed his outrage on behalf of the European people.
"The terrorist attacks on innocent people during their every day work in New York and Washington have been attacks on civilization, democracy and fundamental human rights," he wrote in a condolence book at the U.S. consulate.
Citizens from Canada to Ukraine left flowers and cards at U.S. embassies.
Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Americans are grateful "for the outpouring of sympathy and support." He downplayed reports that some of the terrorists might have slipped through Canadian customs, saying "both countries have problems with criminals crossing the border."
In Moscow, U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow met with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to discuss joint measures against terrorism.
"This tragedy will hopefully give impetus to cooperation," he said.


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