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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Perspective: 9/11

This segment was published by PenTales, an international story sharing site.

When the towers fell, we started falling. It suddenly became alright to suspect someone based on the way they looked. This sort of judgmental behaviour was actively encouraged in fact. All over the world, we were panicked, shaken and paranoid about the future. I was twelve at the time and swept up in the fear. Looking back as an adult, I can’t help but think that this sense of impending danger could have been used to create bonds. It should have been a moment where we all said ‘Yes, this was a breathtaking tragedy, but why did it happen?’ Instead of drawing black and white lines across the globe, defining enemies and allies, we should have stopped viewing ourselves as innocents and started to consider what inspired such hatred in the first place.

Now, the governments involved in the Iraq War have done nothing but perpetuate the losses of 9/11. When asked by a reporter to estimate the number who had died in the attacks, the then mayor of New York answered ‘More than we can bear’. That statement is still true, but when viewing the additional casualties of war, the magnitude is unspeakable. Ten years on and we’re still thinking about those who died that day, but on this day, we also need to think about the Iraqi civilians and the troops of all nationalities who have become additional victims.

It seems too often that we are the ones falling into a gaping oblivion. We can dismiss the 9/11 attacks as the work of terrorists, and no one can condone their crimes, but the fact is that we answered with violence.

The city I live in is leading a walk this evening, from the mosque to the cathedral, where the bell ringers will ring out John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ for the city to hear. I can hardly think of a more apt act of remembrance on the ten year anniversary of this tragedy.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I hope the next decade of the twenty-first century sees a little more tolerance, a little more peace. I hope this can be what we can rescue from the wreckage.

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