The Malta Independent 24 September 2018, Monday

TMID Editorial: Post-9/11 world almost comes of age - The world marks a grim anniversary

Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 10:58 Last update: about 11 days ago

The world joined the United States yesterday to mark a grim milestone in commemorating the 17th year since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, Washington D.C., and in that field in Pennsylvania where flight 93 crashed after crew and passengers tried to storm the cockpit when they realised what was actually happening.

And in so doing one cannot but also mark the fact that few are the ways in which the atrocity has not affected our lives and changed the world forever. This is evidenced well enough by the simple fact that anyone old enough on that day to have known what was happening will recall exactly where they were when those two planes tore in the World Trade Center's twin towers.

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The post-9/11 world has now nearly come of age, and next year it will have reached full-blown adulthood - a sombre reminder of how far we have come, or nor come, since that fateful day.

Not only was the heinous attack an attack on the United States, nor was it just an attack on the Western world - it was an attack on the entire world. Terrorism was no novelty back in 2001 but the sheer magnitude of the death toll of innocents, some 3,000 people, indelibly changed the global mindset forever.

The way in which we travel, for starters, to the basic way in which many view the world and trust one another will never be the same after the events of that pivotal and terrible day. Terrorism in the post-9/11 world has taken on not so much a new meaning but, rather, an enhanced meaning.

The multiple memories of that tragic day have left a stain on our collective memory. Utterly reprehensible in every way, those heinous acts represent a condemnable and twisted view of one of the world's great religions, and the perpetrators through their despicable actions rendered a great disservice to its followers.

The sad fact is that those Muslims who do not subscribe to extremists' warped interpretation of their religion have borne and suffered the many consequences of their actions. Since then, with the rise of al-Qaeda and later the Islamic State, that burden which they bear has become all the heavier.

The ramifications of that fateful day 17 years ago have reshaped the very parameters of the world in which we live. The attack's perpetrator, Osama bin Laden, was slain after a 10-year manhunt but the minions that sprouted up in the wake of 9/11 and his death, are still very much alive and kicking...and killing.

And apart from the immediately discernible ramifications of that day, there is still no telling how this new world order will affect the upcoming generations in this world forever changed.

A 9/11 victim's son, who was just six-years-old at the time of the attack, was quoted yesterday as saying, 'I get very worried for the state of society. ... It's part of what it means to be human in the 21st century, a fear for public safety.'  Closer to home, this editorialist's child recently awoke in the middle of the night after a nightmare that he was in 'some kind of 9/11 tragedy'.

What have we come to, and how do we combat the insidiousness of fear, hate and bigotry?

Short of sparing a moment of silence for the thousands of victims and their families, it is difficult to commemorate such a terrible day with anything but a deep sense of poignancy and, for many, tears.

But in a number of countries, in the United States and elsewhere thousands of people - prompted by the '9/11 Day' group - marked yesterday's anniversary by carrying out good deeds, and in so doing they, each in their small individual way, fought back against the evil that was perpetrated that day 17 years ago.

And, perhaps, most poignantly, we should take a page out of the book of the New York Police Department's Midtown North Precinct, who lost so many officers that day, when they urged people yesterday to: 'Never miss a chance to let those held dearest know your love for them'.


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