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Behind the scenes of diplomatic protocol
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, 25 2001

ImageThe visit by our head of state coincided with the pleasant pre-Christmas difficulties. Thisyear, however, Americans will not celebrate Christmas in the customary manner. Usually on Christmas Eve Santa Clauses walk the streets, cheering passers-by with jokes, and giving gifts. Butthis year, according to Americans themselves, they are not in the mood for cheer. Onlytiny Christmas trees and garlands in the shop windows remind one of the approaching holidays. Allthis is no more than a nod to that most dear of American celebrations.

The absence of traditional merriment on the streets is, naturally, connected with the September 11th tragedy. People cannot cope with the shock of the experience. Inhabitants of buildings adjacent to Ground Zero, in front of whose eyes the WTC twins folded up like stacks of cards, even now shudder at the sound of popguns. Onthe site of the tragedy is now an enormous excavation, with bulldozers raking away the wreckage, heaps of glass, and heaps of steel and concrete.

Nearby are a number of buildings, which also suffered on Tuesday, September 11th. They are draped in black cloth. In the future, of course, something will be built on the site of the tragedy. But for now, they have not decided just what. There are several projects for restoring this region of Manhattan.

Some propose building exact copies of Twin Towers. Theyconsider the WTC, together with the Statue of Liberty, as a symbol of the state, and so they must always be there, just like America. Others believe that the WTC has become the sign of a great American tragedy, a symbol of mourning and grief. Torepeat this project means to forever connect New York City with the catastrophe of September 11th. Moreover, rebuilding the buildings will take a long time; constructing a single skyscraper similar to the WTC takes 7or 8years.

As a sign of solidarity with America, President Nazarbaev visited the scene of the tragedy. Onthe ruins of the World Trade Center there is a memorial wall with the names of all the countries whose citizens perished on the day of this act of terror. Among them is also Kazakhstan. ThePresident laid wreaths and made an inscription, which began with the words: The people of Kazakhstan grieve the victims of this tragedy, among whom there was a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Zhannetta Tsoy.

Here Nursultan Nazarbaev met with Zhannetta's husband, Vyacheslav Legay, and their five-year old daughter Alexandra. Zhannetta started work on Monday, September 10th. OnTuesday she was in a big hurry to get to the office, afraid to make a bad impression at a new place. Theyoung woman, who arrived in the United States on a Green Card, was happy to obtain work in for a respectable company. Shedid not have time to evacuate. Thehead of the company in which Mrs. Tsoyworked, after learning of the tragic fate of the Kazakhstan family, hired Vyacheslav. For the same job as his wife. President Nazarbaev expressed condolences To Mr. Legay, for whom the American tragedy has become a personal drama.

The father could not bear to tell his daughter how her mother perished three months ago. Little Sasha, a cheerful, sociable girl, speaks Russian and English equally well. She does not understand, though, why adults always pat her on the head and look at her in a somehow special way.

Zona.kz


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