Willy Drieux, Belgium

Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.


WILLY DRIEUX
Brussels, Belgium

Willy Drieux, 31, was born in France and today lives in Brussels, Belgium, where he works as a computer specialist in the European Parliament. This kindhearted and thoughtful man is single and describes himself as a “lonely heart.” Willy was at work when he first heard about the Sept. 11 attack. He sent his letter Sept. 24.

J’ai failli te retourner un “e-mail” complètement vide (blanc). Car les mots ne sont que des mots et expriment difficilement les sentiments et la réelle pensée des choses. Un silence, un sourire dans la rue, une poignée de mains sont plus riches que de longs discours.

J’ai préféré malgré tout rédiger quelques lignes car je pense que tu n’aurais pas saisi l’intention: un message de compassion, d’amitié, de soutien et d’espoir exprimé sans artifice (sans aucun mot).

Il est vrai que tu viens de retrouver le stylo que je t’avais offert lors de ton départ. Il est à déplorer que tu ne l’utilise que dans un si tragique moment. J’espère que tu en feras bon usage pour la suite. Si ma mémoire est bonne, tu voulais devenir journaliste. J’espère que c’est le cas. Tu es alors une ambassadrice pour la paix pour tous les peuples de toutes les religions. Même si à mes yeux, le silence est plus significatif que les mots, les mots sont bien plus forts que les armes.

Comment ne pas avoir une pensée pour toutes les victimes innocentes, pour leurs familles, leurs amis et leur pays. A l’aide de ton intermédiaire, présente leurs toutes mes condoléances et ma sympathie. Que mon soutien les accompagne dans leur désarroi et leur profonde tristesse.

Je comprends néanmoins le sentiment de vengeance et de justice qui habitent toutes les personnes touchées pas cette ignominie.

Médite seulement cette citation de Jean-Paul Sartre: “Il suffit qu’un seul homme en haïsse un autre pour que la haine gagne de proche en proche l’humanité entière.”

English translation:

I nearly sent you back a completely blank e-mail. For words are only words and cannot express feelings and people’s real thoughts. Silence, a smile in the street, a handshake are richer than long speech.

However, I preferred to write some lines, as I think you wouldn’t have understood my intention: a message of compassion, friendship, support and hope expressed without any artifice (without any words).

It’s true that you have re-found the pen I gave you when you left. It is a shame that you only use it now, in such a tragic moment. I hope you will use it well from now on. If my memory is correct, you wished to become a journalist. I hope this is the case. You are, thus, an ambassadress of peace for all the people, of all religions. Even though, to my eyes, silence is more significant than words, words are stronger than weapons.

How can one not have thoughts for all the innocent victims, for their families, their friends and their countries. With your help – through this project – I present to them all my condolences and sympathies. May my support accompany them in their confusion and profound sadness.

I understand, nevertheless, the feeling of revenge and justice held by all of the living people concerned about this shameful act.

Think only of this quote by Jean-Paul Sartre: “It only takes one man to hate another for hate to spread from one to another to humanity as a whole.”

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