As the 20th anniversary of the horrific September 11 attacks approaches, there are still people who have questions about what happened the day that the world changed forever.
Filmmaker Spike Lee is one of them.
Speaking to The New York Times about his new documentary, NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½, Lee said that he doesn’t think we have the full story about what happened the day four planes were hijacked in the US.
“I hope that maybe the legacy of this documentary is that Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11,” Lee explained.
Elaborating further, the Do the Right Thing director said, “The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached. And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing.
“But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is: put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience.”
The events of September 11, 2001, have long been a source of speculation for conspiracy theorists, but also people who just simply felt there must be more to the story. Lee had opted to include members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth — a nonprofit organisation of architects, engineers, and affiliates dedicated to establishing the truth about that day — in the documentary, but has since re-edited the episode after receiving backlash.
“People are going to think what they think, regardless,” he said.
One of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 has always been that the Twin Towers were brought down by explosives that were detonated within the buildings, not as a result of the planes that struck them.
‘Truthers’ have argued that the way both buildings collapsed perfectly into their own footprint, and the fact that the fires did not burn for long enough to melt the steel framework of the buildings, as further evidence that the destruction was an inside job.
Other truthers are adamant that the government had prior knowledge of the impending attacks but chose not to stop them so they would have a viable excuse to invade the Middle East to secure oil interests.
The attacks of 9/11 left 2,977 people dead, 25,000 injured and scores of others suffering long term mental and physical health consequences.
“I think that we’re honouring the people who lost their lives, people who lost lives with 9/11 related illnesses,” Lee told The New York Times. “And also the more than 600,000 Americans who are no longer here because of COVID. More Americans have died of COVID-19 than Americans have died in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and ironically, Afghanistan. Combined.”
NYC Epicenters 9/11→ 2021½ explores the stories of “New Yorkers as they rebuild and rebound, from a devastating terrorist attack through the ongoing global pandemic” while also examining how New Yorkers survived a year of living in the face of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, of which the city of 8 million became the epicentre in 2020.
The city also experienced a heartbreaking intersection of isolation brought on by the city-wide lockdowns with the devastation of violence and destruction on the streets as peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were infiltrated by rioters who vented their frustrations on small businesses and other citizens.
In his interview with NYT, Lee — who interviewed 200 people for the docuseries — explained, “The most moving thing to me, not including archival footage, are the interviews with the people who lost loved ones. Those are hard interviews to do because they know why they’re there. And they know I got to ask tough questions.
“People just bare their souls. It was very, very emotional. For me, I can’t comprehend what they’re going through. But to see — it’s hard to ask questions where you know people are going to break down. That’s not easy; it’s not fun. But I got to ask those questions.”
NYC Epicenters 9/11→ 2021½ will premiere on FOXTEL Docos on September 1, 2021.