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"They killed my husband"

Published Sep 11, 2011 06:20am


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David and Cindy Barkway - Source: The Toronto Star

David Barkway’s remains were never recovered. The site of former World Trade Centre in New York became his entombment where he died in the North Tower on September 11, 2001.

David and I worked on the trading floor of BMO Nesbitt Burns. David was one of the traders on the fixed income derivatives desk where I served as a data analyst. For more than a year, I sat across from David with a row of computer monitors between us.

I joined Nesbitt Burns in 1995. There were four traders on the desk of which three were oddly named David. With a shy smile and a polite demeanour, David Barkway was unlike any other trader on the then Canada’s largest trading floor. Whereas most traders were self-centered egotists, David, on the other hand, was the humble, caring, gentleman type with thoughtful brown eyes partially obscured by his glasses.

On the fateful morning of September 11, 2001, David went for a meeting with a bond trading firm, Cantor Fitzgerald, whose offices were located between the 101 and 105 floors in the North Tower. Cantor Fitzgerald’s employees got stuck in the building after the plane struck at a lower floor. The firm lost 658 employees on September 11.

David’s wife, Cindy, accompanied him on the three-day trip to New York. She was five-months pregnant with their second child, David Junior, who never got to meet his father.

I met David for the first time on the trading floor. He walked over from his side of the desk and asked me what I knew about derivatives. I had no prior training in finance let alone Futures and Options. I was however proficient in analysing databases, which put me on the trading floor.

Over the next few months I struggled to find my own way on the floor where hundreds of men, and some women, were busy generating wealth by trading millions of dollars in stocks, bonds, currency swaps and the like. Everyone seemed to be an expert in the art of making money. Everyone appeared to be a futurist.

The trading floor was an intimidating place. David was, however, the friendly face around; always willing to help, always willing to teach. He would very proudly demonstrate his expertise with the HP Finance Calculator, which could do complex financial calculations in a jiffy. Whereas others hid their trade secrets, he would openly share his strategies on the floor.

In October 2001, a few weeks after 9/11, my wife and I relocated to New York where she started her new job with an investment firm. We had been to New York many times in the past. But this was our first trip to the City after the tragedy had struck.

As we stepped out of the airplane into the terminal we were shocked to see soldiers with guns drawn staring at every passenger that was coming off the planes. The airport resembled a crime scene with literally hundreds of police officers and other law enforcement agents keeping a close watch on anything that moved.

We took a cab from LaGuardia Airport to midtown Manhattan. As we drove over the Triboro Bridge, our eyes were fixed on downtown Manhattan. We had visited the Twin Towers numerous times in the past. It was heart wrenching to see the towers missing from the Manhattan skyline.

New York lost almost 3,000 civilians on 9/11 in an attack orchestrated mostly by Saudis. However, its fallout had to be borne by all Muslims, especially Pakistanis. Our cab driver appeared to be from the sub-continent. I asked him where he was from. He replied Bangladesh. I told the driver that I was from Pakistan. He turned around, smiled, and confessed that he was also from Pakistan and that he did not disclose his origin as a precaution.

I asked the cab driver if he was scared to be in New York. He admitted to some fear but then asked me what would have happened to a minority group in Pakistan had it been found responsible for killing 3,000 Pakistanis. “Not a single Muslim has been killed in New York in the weeks after 9/11. You cannot expect the same civility in Pakistan under similar circumstances,” he observed.*

We found the City in mourning. Fewer than 300 intact bodies were recovered from the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers. The loved ones of the thousands whose remains remained buried in the rubble refused to let go of hope. Weeks later, the family members were still posting notices about the missing in the hope that someone reading the sign may know of their missing friend or relative. The Grand Central train station had become a makeshift memorial with numerous isles of notice-boards with pictures of those who had not returned since the morning of September 11.

Flowers, wreaths, and candles adorned every fire station in Manhattan and its neighbouring boroughs. Almost 350 firefighters and paramedics and 37 police officers also perished as they rushed to rescue those trapped in the burning towers.

Most of those who died on 9/11 in New York, however, were those who worked in the Twin Towers. They came from all over the world. Twenty-six Canadians also died that day. Another 114 countries lost their citizens in the attack. Included among the dead were Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and others. No fewer than 3,000 children lost a parent on 9/11.

Cindy with sons Jamie and David Jr. - Source: The Toronto Star

Back in Canada, Cindy Barkway is building a life with her two sons, Jamie and David Jr. As a single mother, she strives to raise her sons without their father.  She is not alone in wondering what drove the 9/11 hijackers to murder innocent men and women.

“They killed my husband for no good reason,” Cindy recently told a newspaper.

This year on September 11, 2011, I plan to sit down with my two sons to honour the memory of those who died in New York ten years ago and all other victims of senselessviolence who have lost their lives since 9/11.

* The American military-industrial complex acted recklessly after 9/11 and is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of equally blameless civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. However, after September 11 the American people remained largely civil and restrained towards Muslim Americans. In the year after 9/11, the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported 1,714 hate crimes against Muslims throughout the United States. Again, an overwhelming majority of the incidents were that of harassment and not physical violence.

Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto.  He can be reached by email at

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (39) Closed

shafi Sep 11, 2011 12:32pm
These fanatics kill innocent people in the name of Islam. They( fanatics) should not be allowed to repeat the atrocities. My heart weeps for the families who lost their loved ones.
Muhib Sep 11, 2011 01:28pm
"You cannot expect the same civility in Pakistan under similar circumstances,” he observed." .... thts why we still love americans.
dv sikka Sep 11, 2011 01:48pm
Both India and Pakistan are obsessed with 9/11. Does anybody in these two countries remember the millions who lost their lives.
FKM Sep 11, 2011 01:48pm
hmm, I wonder when some 1 will write about those how have lost their lives by American terrorists. I didnt see the point of writing a sad story of one family while 1000s have similar story and even worse from Iraq and Afghan including a live call in a show from a father whose two kids were shot infront of his eye while he was made to watch it all helplessly and our sisters being raped by American soldiers and several other war crimes by so called defenders of peace. Yes i do have symphaty with Americans who lost their loved ones but i will never put anyones suffereing on top of some1 elses. Guess Muslims living abroad have to live with heads down like miserable helpless ppl and wait for a miracles to happen, rather than to be proactive and show the world what Islam really is.
FKM Sep 11, 2011 01:57pm
Speaking of minortiy group doing something wrong in Pak, well we all know what will happen. But portraying Americans as civilised give me a break bro, if half of them are true christians they should have offered their other cheek to terorists. Living abroad myself and a victim of hate crimes too i can clearly say that ppl live in a system and are brainwashed they are like kids u give them candy and they will obey u. Like wise US declared war and have killed millions of Muslims, so ppl in states have no reason to act like ppl in Pakistan. one word Super power.
Usman Sep 11, 2011 03:21pm
First off, please don't put blind faith in media propaganda machine of the USA. Secondly, let me just point out that while cowardly acts of 9/11 should be condemned regardless of whoever was ultimately behind it, USA has killed 1000s times more in the aftermath of that tragedy. I hope you would write about hundreds of thousands of widows, children who are asking the same question of US today.... "They killed my mother, father, son, daughter for no reason...." Not a sermon just a thought...
A. Khan Sep 11, 2011 04:20pm
"they killed my husband for no reason..." Very conveniently, Americans have a term for this. Its called "collateral damage".
tabassum Sep 11, 2011 06:06pm
god, pls ppl stop mentioning the few killed in 9/11, what about the scores that america killed in iraq and afghanistan
Sajid Sep 11, 2011 06:55pm
Are you still living abroad? If you are then I can only pity you
Sajid Sep 11, 2011 07:04pm
I believe the duty of a true Muslim is to be honest, what would have happened if a minority group had done that in Pakistan?
AHA Sep 11, 2011 07:14pm
Sir, what about the hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed by other Muslims. Like the vast majority of our fallow Pakistanis, you also seem to possess a rather selected memory.
AHA Sep 11, 2011 07:16pm
Hope you would also remember hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed by other Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Just a thought.
AHA Sep 11, 2011 07:21pm
While America has murdered thousand of innocent Muslims since 9/11, the millions (millions???) of Muslims that you refer to were murdered by other Muslims. You need to get your facts correct..
mohammad Sep 11, 2011 07:22pm
terrorism is in no way to be encouraged.we should apply this principle to all. not that we cause collateral damage and kill scores in afghanistan. the second point is that uno should be asked to investigate the cause and effect of 9/11 blasts.e do not know actual facts. BUT TERRORISM IS TO BE COUNTERED ON ALL FRONTS. PAKISTAN ZINDABAAD
AHA Sep 11, 2011 07:34pm
Would Murtaza Haider have written this blog, under his real name and identity, if he was living in Pakistan. Says a lot.
Naveed Sep 11, 2011 07:44pm
Western aggression after 9/11 has resulted in thousands being killed and maimed who mostly remain nameless and faceless.. just collateral damage. The way America reacted has made it lose the goodwill and sympathy it enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of those attacks.
Abdullah Hussain Sep 11, 2011 08:49pm
Very sad Cindy lost her husband by unknown attacker. The humanity knows for sure that America killed thousands like Cindy's husband, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers & scores of children. What is the difference between unknown killers & known killer?
Ahsan Ali Sep 11, 2011 09:26pm
A very touching article.
Akhlesh Sep 11, 2011 11:23pm
FKM: If America (and Europe) are so bad for muslims, please go back to pakistan tomorrow.
Silence Sep 12, 2011 12:20am
I just want to say R.I.P 2.976 american people that lost their lives on 11/09/01 and R.I.P 48.644 afghans,1.690.903 Iraqis and 2.600 Pakistani that paid the ultimate price for the crime they did not commit........
farhat Sep 12, 2011 05:48am
In response to some of these posts, thank God I dont live in Pakistan
Y Khan Sep 12, 2011 06:55am
I am really sorry for the loss suffered by the Barkway family. What these terrorists did was horrific and should be condemned. These terrorists have inflicted countless atrocities on Pakistanis where people have lost count of the people who dies and the many more who are living with the scars. The resulting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq further resulted in more than a million innocent dead. Today, it would be decent to remember not just the people who were killed on 9/11 but also the thousands who have died subsequently
Ramsha Sep 12, 2011 07:39am
‎10 years! I am not a conspiracy theorist of who is wrong/right/responsible....but RIP all the innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks and its repercussions world over!
AS Sep 12, 2011 07:50am
I work for BMO and know about the gentleman killed in this attack. However, I am not sure if this article is at all relevant to Pakistani audience, who are wounded far more than any one here in North America. They are being punished on daily basis because of a war that has nothing to do with Pakistan. Pakistan was bullied into this war by the USA.
righteouslyRight Sep 12, 2011 08:27am
Well said!
Pravin Sep 12, 2011 10:16am
Pakistan paid the price for helping Talibana nd Osama. Ultimately Osama was found in Pakistan. How can Pakistan pretend to be innocent!!
Sunil Tambey Sep 12, 2011 12:36pm
As I read in the papers - the Pakistani parliament was shown pictures of torture chambers and knives used to cut limbs and drill holes in bodies in Karachi. Isnt it surprising that the same people become so emotional when it comes to Kashmiris / Palestinians / Iraqis. Why ? Because it is easy to sympathize with a co-religionist sitting far from you but very hard to do so with one living in your city ! More muslims have been killed by muslims be it Afghanistan/ Iran/ Iraq / Pakistan and it is no use blaming the Americans/Jews/Indians.
Hassan Sep 12, 2011 12:59pm
Hassan Sep 12, 2011 01:00pm
Could not agree more....
arbab yaser Sep 12, 2011 01:02pm
R.I.P. the 2,976 American people that lost their lives on 9/11 and R.I.P. the 48,644 Afghan and 1,690,903 Iraqi people that paid the ultimate price for a crime they did not commit
Greg Sep 12, 2011 01:02pm
Farhat, I feel Pakistanis would be saying, "Thank Allah that you don't live in Pakistan too".
pramod Kumar Sep 12, 2011 01:12pm
Any war which is waged from pakistan soil is pakistan' s war. First Pakistan should get rid of all the terrorist groups operating from its soil. then u can say that.
girish Sep 12, 2011 02:25pm
Collateral Damage is what the Taliban calls the civilians killed in their bomb blasts.
mehmoona Sep 12, 2011 09:37pm
in todays world anything can be outsourced and who would know that better than your country men?!
CM Sep 13, 2011 05:48pm
My sympathies are with the families of victims, whichever nation they belong to or whichever religion they belong to. We must strongly condemn any kind of attack on innocent lives by whichever element it is. In this we must use our soul and mind not to ignite hate among ourselves, instead spread love and brotherhood all over the world.
Solomon2 Sep 13, 2011 08:45pm
"I believe the duty of a true Muslim is to be honest" If you can't bring yourself to say publicly without qualification, "Jews have every right to exist in Israel unmolested by Arabs or Muslims" then you are either dishonest or ignorant, is that not so?
Solomon2 Sep 13, 2011 08:48pm
"They( fanatics) should not be allowed to repeat the atrocities. " How many Muslims are willing to risk their lives to stop terrorists who plot and carry out attacks against foreigners? If you aren't willing to do that then you are condoning their actions; if you are willing to do that then you must find inner strength from somewhere to do so. What is that source?
Awais Khan Sep 14, 2011 10:56am
So many innocent lives were lost in the terrorist attack and ten years later the war still continues.
pramod Kumar Sep 14, 2011 11:34am
yea, it depends on the discretion of one that what is being outsourced and whether to allow it or not. We allowed jobs outsourcing.