Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 - Defining a Decade

9/11 Tribute Lights light up the Manhattan skyline.

It has been ten whole years since the world experienced one of the worst attacks on a nation in recorded history. It was an attack that painfully exposed the vulnerability of the world's lone superpower, and an attack that prompted two major wars and many more small-scale operations. It was an attack that affected the lives of virtually everyone, from policy makers to the average air traveler. It was 9/11, and akin to 12/7 (Pearl Harbor), it will forever be an event that can be summed up and remembered just from the date of its occurrence.

9/11 occurred when I was thirteen years old, in the first year of my secondary school. I remember watching it live on television, and as it unfolded, my young mind was understandably confused and scared at the same time. I grasped neither the impact nor the importance of this event at that time. Six years later, as I majored in International Relations, the 9/11 attacks virtually became the center of my academic life. As I wrote papers on national security, domestic and international policy-making, international law, and even international economics, 9/11 somehow, some way found itself in my work. It defined so many things that we are 'used to' now. Strict airport security measures? This stemmed from 9/11. "Terror" as a household word? Blame it on 9/11. Muslims around the world - radical and moderate alike - branded as "fundamentalists" or worse, "terrorists"? 9/11 played a big part. The attacks on America not only changed our experiences in the days that followed; lifestyles and mindsets changed as well.

Ten years on, the world is still experiencing two combat theaters, Iraq and Afghanistan. American involvement in these two countries - I have said this countless times on many academic papers - have strained the American (and in turn, global) economy and willpower to its limits. These wars have destroyed billions of dollars worth of property, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, alienated entire demographics, and claimed an appalling number of lives. Al-Qaeda, the group claiming responsibility for the attacks, has recently lost its mastermind, Osama bin Laden, after more than nine years of eluding international operatives. Has this changed anything, created an impact that can be felt? It still remains to be seen. What is important, perhaps, is that the world knows that threats can and may come from anywhere. A culture of paranoia has been created from 9/11.

9/11 represents, in my opinion, two sides of a coin. On one side, you have the United States and its allies, defending themselves and reacting to the terror attacks. On the other side, the radical religious groups, hellbent on bringing down democracy and everything Western. In the middle, much like the proverbial coin, is the very thin and small group of neutrals and fence-sitters, choosing neither side and risking the complete wrath of the other. Ten years on, this group division is still very much evident. Ten years on, we still remember, and we are still affected, whether we like it or not.


External Links:
25 Powerful Images of 9/11


  1. 9/11 is probably one of the saddest events that ever occurred on Earth. A great indication that nobody, even the strongest of them all, is exempted from the terrors evil minds can produce. It has been 10 years, and I'm pretty sure everyone knows about this event (or at least have heard of it). And yes, we should never forget. But I think that people should also be aware about the war still at hand, and the terrors that these war cause the people in it. Care more, give importance. A silent prayer for the victims of 9/11 ten years ago, and a fervent one for those people who up until this moment is at war.

    Sorry for the long comment. Haha. Great post!

  2. Ten years ago, I had none the slightest idea what a World Trade Center is. I never even actually kinda took it very seriously, `coz as long as it doesn't made class suspensions, I never could have cared less ... LOL! Of course, how old was I then? :D

  3. Cher: You have a point: everyone should still be aware that the US is fighting wars right now. They are 'controlled' very well, in that the conflict isn't radically spreading, but it is indeed important that efforts to end the wars are either going to be messy or going to be very expensive. I just pray these will not drag on another ten years.

    Thank you for the comment and visit to my blog!

  4. Michael: Haha that's understandable as we were children :)