• The 9/11 Memorial in New York | Photo: Unsplash

Twenty Years Since 9/11

Bryce Turner - 7 September 2021

11 September 2021 marks twenty years since the tragedy of what has come to be known simply as 9/11. It is hard to comprehend that the event that so radically changed the world took place before many of the current generation of university students were even born. This attack on America and the ideals of western democracy changed the world forever.

A month after the attack a US-led military force entered Afghanistan, beginning a 20-year ‘war on terror’. The first target? The location and capture of Osama bin Laden – the crazed despot heading up al Qaeda, the organisation responsible for the 9/11 attacks. There is an infinite range of opinions as to the effectiveness of this ‘war on terror’, but if nothing else it has brought awareness directly to the minds of countries who would never have thought such an attack on US soil was even possible.

Bin Laden had announced his war on the US in 1996, supposedly in retaliation for America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War, and its continued military presence in the Middle East. The 9/11 attacks struck a blow to the heart of populations far wider than the USA however. For billions, life changed forever. Emergency travel security restrictions became standard practice, an atmosphere of suspicion enveloped peaceful neighbourhoods, families who had lived next door to each other for decades suddenly looked through shaded windows for signs of terrorist activity. Whilst a gross over- simplification, it has often been suggested that 9/11 was really the price America paid for its support of Israel. If nothing else, this should serve as a warning to the world, undisputable proof of the insane level of anti-Israel hatred still being promulgated in many countries, and apparently escalating; bin Laden being just one of a long line of murdering haters of Israel and the Jews.

The 9/11 attack has become one of the most significant events in history, one of the most studied, and one of the most contentious. At the time commentators were predicting a massive escalation of terrorism worldwide, a return to ‘cold war’ conditions, even the pending end of humanity itself.

20 years on, however, America has suffered many more tragedies. The current Covid19 pandemic has claimed some 150 times more lives in the US alone than the 9/11 attacks. Those who lost their lives in New York, at the Pentagon, or at the heroic demise of United Airlines flight 93 in a field in western Pennsylvania have become martyrs, however, their names carefully inscribed in the memorial at ‘Ground Zero’ forever. The predicted escalation into mass terrorism hasn’t eventuated, the world is (mostly) still alive and functioning. The violent, murderous Islamic jihadists are at least somewhat being managed, and many would argue that the next major Islamic threat to the western world is being waged through ‘wokeism’ – the manipulation of public opinion through the dogma of political correctness. Arguably those who would see the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews as a part of their war on the infidels, haven’t given up their all- consuming goal.

As we mark the passing of 20 years and pause to respect those who perished, it is essential that we take a moment to examine what we have learned. Just as important as the question “where were you at 9/11?”, is the next thought “where are we as a society 20 years later?”; closely followed by “where are we going to be in another 20 years?”.

Watching the vile filth of anti-Semitism expanding throughout the western world, one wonders if we have learned anything at all.

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