'People say we should go about our normal lives. How can we?'


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

'People say we should go about our normal lives. How can we?'

David Teather in New York
Tuesday August 3, 2004
The Guardian

For the four anxious-looking women taking a cigarette break yesterday morning on the corner of 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue, there was only one topic of conversation.
Unlike former terror threats, the warnings from the department of homeland security on Sunday were remarkably specific and the Citigroup building they were in front of was one of five potential targets named in the financial sector.
One of the women, of Asian origin, said she had been stared at on the subway on the way into the office. Another had made sure she was wearing trainers, in case she needed to run. "If I've got to go, I'm out." The women, who asked not to be named, were especially concerned that they worked on one of the 59-storey building's top floors.
"It's scary," said one. "I've never felt this unsafe. People are saying we should go about our normal lives, but how can we? I am worried that I am so high up. They ran through fire drills and reminded us of the exits, but it's hard to be here. The cops with the guns are great, but if a car comes flying across the street, what are they going to do?"
Mercedes Castiel, a doctor with a practice on 53rd Street, was on her way into the Citigroup building. "I am surprised there haven't been suicide bombers here," she said. "They've used those tactics everywhere else. Hopefully it won't happen, but the most important thing we can do is stay calm and carry on with our lives."
The design of the building - which belongs to the biggest banking group in the world - sitting on a narrow central column and then on cement columns that act as stilts, has also raised concerns that it could be vulnerable to attack. The usual entrance was closed yesterday, as was a public atrium, and workers were forced to wait in line while their bags were checked. Police cars prevented vehicles from parking outside the building and officers with machine guns patrolled the perimeter.
It was a similar picture at another target, the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, draped in a huge US flag. Black iron barricades and gun-toting police surrounded the building, although in the case of the exchange both are now a familiar sight.
The most obvious sign of a new threat level was the media presence. Workers weaving through the security sounded a mixture of defiance, nervousness and resignation.
Jacob Ross, a clerk on the trading floor, said the warning had "absolutely" made him nervous.
"There are a lot of guys on the floor who are saying if something happens, they are out of here, even if something happens down the street. We are at breaking point for a lot of people."
Jay Purushotham, a paralegal in the arbitration department at the exchange, said: "You are always coming in knowing that the exchange is a target. You feel safer than other places in New York because of all the security. I am a little worried, but there is nothing I can do about it."
He said it had crossed his mind that political motives could be behind the terror alerts, but it was "hard to believe it's completely for political reasons". He said the government was "in a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation".
Sharona Robinson, a compliance examiner, was more phlegmatic: "We are pretty safe down here ... it's business as usual. You can't live your life in fear."

alert – alarm
anxious-looking – wyglądający na zdenerwowanego
breaking point – granica wytrzymałości
clerk – urzędnik
concerned – zaniepokojony
defiance – opór
to drape – drapować
fire drills – ćwiczenia pożarowe
gun-toting – uzbrojony
remarkably – nadzwyczajnie
paralegal – niewykwalifikowany pracownik kancelarii adwokackiej
perimeter – obwód, granice
phlegmatic – flegmatyczny
to prevent – zapobiegać
to raise concerns – wzbudzać obawy
stilt – pal, podpora, szczudło
Stock Exchange – giełda papierów wartościowych
suicide bombers – zamachowcy samobójcy
trainers – buty sportowe
vulnerable – podatny
to weave – kluczyć


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