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We learned the stories behind the figures on Sept. 11. The next evening I walked from my office to the Armory on Lexington Avenue, which was acting as a clearinghouse for emergency supplies, and jotted down the names of the missing whose pictures had been posted on the nearby walls. There they were: Garcia, Munoz, Kuo, Lee, Srinivasan, Khan, Kampour... Nobody has an accurate count of how many foreign nationals died in the World Trade Center--some of the dead held dual nationality, and some undoubtedly were illegal immigrants--but the number was certainly substantial. David Usborne, a reporter for the Independent of London who has made a careful study of the casualty lists, reckons that about 150 Muslims died in the Twin Towers. Not all the victims were from nations whose people are tired and poor. Between 80 and 100 Britons were killed, and so were 22 Japanese. Niall O'Dowd, publisher of the Irish Voice, a weekly based in New York, is writing a book on the hundreds of Irish Americans, many of them brave cops and fire fighters, who died on that late-summer morning. (Irish America's tragedy on Sept. 11 was so profound that three days later, Ireland held a national day of mourning.)
For the Davos-in-New York crowd, there are two lessons to be drawn from our city's mosaic. The first is that globalization, the great theme of our time, is driven not just by technology, economics or trade in goods and services but also by a restless movement of people--millions of them--on a scale the world has never seen before. The second is that with good humor, sound institutions and tolerance, that swirl of humanity can create a vibrant culture and an unparalleled opportunity for people to dream of a better life for themselves and their families. New York isn't perfect, but an hour spent in the liberating mess of Canal Street should convince the most jaundiced observer that it doesn't do too badly.
Visitors inspired to make the trip downtown this week might make one more stop. At Varick and North Moore, a minute from Canal and just 12 blocks north of where the Trade Center once stood, is the firehouse of N.Y.F.D. Ladder Co. 8. You can stand outside, with the candles and damp flowers, and see the picture of a fire fighter missing since Sept. 11. Then turn south to look at the now unscraped sky and wonder when the rest of the world will be touched by the magic with which New Yorkers live each day.