The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

TMID Editorial: Grim anniversary - The post-9/11 world comes of age

Thursday, 12 September 2019, 10:36 Last update: about 2 months ago

The post 9/11 world came of age yesterday and the 18th anniversary of what was arguably the most gruesome terrorist attack in history was commemorated yesterday in the United States, in New York, in Washington DC and in a Pennsylvania field.

It was a grim anniversary indeed and one that the world should never have been called to commemorate, but commemorate it we must.

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The fact that the post-9/11 world has now come of age and is a fully-fledged adult should give us reason to contemplate just how much the world has changed since the morning of 11 September 2001.

The fact that a full 18 years have now passed means that no child alive today will have lived through the horror that most of us watched through the safety of our television screens 18 years ago yesterday.

They will not know what it was like to visit an airplane captain in an airplane’s cockpit, they will not know what it was once like to pass through customs practically without harassment and they will not know a world in which multinational terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were the stuff of fictional nightmare, and not boots-on-the-ground realities. 

And they will not know a world in which the hostility towards Muslims has reached the heights that it has since.

The passage of 18 whole years is a sombre reminder of how far we have come, or nor come, since that fateful day.

And as we commemorated the tragic events yesterday, those of us who do remember them clearly, 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.

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, the Muslim world included for it could be safely argued that those who have suffered the most in 9/11’s aftermath are, ironically for Osama bin Laden, Muslims themselves.

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 became all the heavier.

The ramifications of that fateful day 18 years ago have reshaped the very parameters of the world in which we live. The attack’s mastermind may be dead and buried at sea but those who rose up in his stead are still very much alive and kicking…and killing.

The multiple memories of that tragic day have left an indelible 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.

9/11 is an event that everyone would like to forget, but forget it we must not if we are to eventually learn anything from it.

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