9/11 eight years on…

By Emma Brooks

Eight years down the road from September 11th 2001, it is hard to imagine that all that time has gone by. I’m sure we all remember that day vividly, how we found out what had happened, and then spending quite a few hours in front of the TV. It was indeed a shocking moment for most of us, and particularly for the inhabitants of New York City. And I also think that for a lot of people across the world, in whatever different ways, September 11th 2001 marked a turning point.

What is the aftermath of this unprecedented terrorist attack on the US, the political giant and leader? Well, to name but a few, a double mandate for George W. Bush, two wars: one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, an increase in security measures (for example in airports), and many much broader and much wider spanning consequences that would be hard to list, so numerous they are.

I think it is fair to say that since these attacks, perpetrated by Al Qaeda, there has been a rift created between the Arab world and the Western world, that has only been increasing. There has been tension between the two, finger pointing, and general misunderstanding of cultures. I think the war in Iraq in particular, is an illustration of this misunderstanding. A lot of people felt that the war in Iraq was a sort of revenge for what happened in 2001, believing that it was a just war and that it would rid the world of terrorism. In reality it had nothing to do with it, or in any case was only partly related, but people remained misinformed. It is also a shame because now a lot of people will jump to conclusions about Muslims and Arabs, claiming they are all terrorists and putting them in the same bag, confusing Islamic fundamentalists with regular Islam.

With the increase in security measures and controls, there is also a lot of racial profiling going on which targets Arabs in particular. Although I can understand why people might feel the need to do this, I also find it unfortunate because it continues to perpetrate the false conception that all Arabs/ Muslims are terrorists, and because it continues to aggravate them and make them feel that they are being done wrong by. It seems just as possible to me that non-Arab people could also be part of a terrorist network and be planning attacks, so why not stop them too? Paranoia has increased tenfold, leading to tighter and sometimes ridiculous security measures, making everyone wary of one another and encouraged to spy on one another, and incidentally also making everyone a lot more scared than they possibly should be.

But on the other hand, there is some good to be said for the aftermath of 9/11. For a start, with the increase in security measures there has also been an increase of cooperation between countries, being a driving force behind a closer union and network of these countries. There have also been at least a few occasions on which we can say potential attacks have successfully been thwarted, and it seems as though the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not completely fruitless.

But really, it is sad to say that most of the consequences of these attacks have been disastrous. Not least the loss of thousands of lives that day, but also the political tensions that arose over the Iraq war in 2003, the deterioration of the relations between Arab countries and the west, not forgetting the most important being the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggesting that the US was indeed aware of the plans for these attacks and yet did nothing to stop them. Overall, 9/11 has definitely given us a lot to think about, and has dramatically changed the political scene for good.

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