From 10 years ago today ….

THE thought of war absolutely terrifies me. I’m sure it does you too. And I was truly horrified to read that 71% of Scots actually felt a war against Osama bin Laden and those who harbour him was justified. Are we such a bloodthirsty nation that we are prepared to sacrifice further innocent victims to capture one evil man?

I can understand, in the aftermath of last week’s scenes of horror, that people across the world want revenge. But perhaps we should ask the families of Osama bin Laden’s victims whether they want revenge. Revenge against the mass murderers, yes. But would they want other innocent families to suffer the loss, the trauma and grieving that they are enduring? I would doubt it.

Maybe I’m wrong, but while the intelligence services are intent on tracking down bin Laden and his henchmen, surely the world’s focus right now should be on emotional and financial support for the families of the victims. And on emotional and physical support for the rescuers who are the true heroes of the piece and will undoubtedly suffer the rest of their lives, tormented by the things they saw on Tuesday, September 11 2001 and in the hours and days following.

Our focus should be on rebuilding the world’s most influential business centre, to be bigger and better than ever before in tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedy. Our leaders should be spending time offering words of comfort and encouragement to these people, rather than bellowing threats of war and revenge.

I was sad yesterday to hear the change in tone on the American news, talk of the rescue operation soon became talk of the recovery operation, the media have already decided that there can be no survivors in the wreckage. But volunteers still believe that there is hope: they need to. It can be the only thing that keeps them going throughout the horrors of their day-to-day task.

We need to capture some of the spirit of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly and meticulously to clear the wreckage, the human kindness of the volunteers who spend their days preparing meals for the rescue and recovery workers, and the hope of the onlookers who lined the streets leading to New York’s financial district, waving the American flag and cheering their encouragement to the rescue services.

And we need to sprinkle some of this spirit, human kindness and hope over the doom and gloom merchants who now predict that world recession is inevitable.

I don’t pretend to understand the intricate machinations of the Stock Market, but I do understand that a huge amount of money is won and lost on the basis of confidence. Lack of confidence leads to recession. But is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? I’ve heard about talking up the shares, so surely the opposite is talking down the sharesThe more we talk about it, warn of the dangers and consequences of it and predict the trends, the more likely it is to happen.

I understand how a terrible terrorist attack, like that waged on America last week, affects humanity, and how it affects the businesses directly impacted by the devastation at the World Trade Centre and the surrounding buildings. And I understand the direct impact on the travel industry.

But if the world’s business leaders, dealers and analysts had a fraction of the spirit and hope demonstrated by the workers at Ground Zero that self-fulfilling prophecy could have an entirely different result.