I can’t quite believe that the attacks on the World Trade Center happened a whole ten years ago. I had just turned 12 years old. I remember coming home from school and seeing the devestating pictures on TV, thinking it was a new action movie or something, then realising with horror that it was actually real. Living in England and not knowing anyone from America, we were detached from what was going on. It was kind of surreal, like we were voyeurs watching another country’s private pain.
I hadn’t a clue what was going on. Up until then, being a 12 year old who never watched the news or read the papers, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was. I was confused as to why people would want to cause so much destruction and I was sad for all the people who had lost their lives. I was also fascinated by the heroic rescue stories and the stories of people saved by fate, those who missed their flight or were late for work that day, narrowly avoiding the devestation. It made me suddenly aware of the fragility of life.
I didn’t know what this meant for the world. I was afraid that world war 3 was about to break out and at school I was constantly paranoid with illogical fears that bombs would be dropped on us. It suddenly seemed as if ‘terrorists’ were the root of all evil happening everywhere.
Now I am older I still can’t understand the politics behind it all. Those behind it achieved nothing positive. They only built themselves a stronger opposition of people who now hate and fear them and are determined to stop them because now they have something to fight for. They gave their religion a bad name and reinforced the misunderstanding of it, meaning that a lot of Muslims are subjected to even more prejudice, discrimination and abuse than they suffered before. If they wanted us to listen to their message, they went about it in the wrong way.
I strongly believe in the inherent value of people’s lives- whatever their race, age, gender, class, religion or ideology, and nothing, NOTHING, could be worth the loss of so many innocent people. The event is a huge tragedy that has changed the lives of so many, and there were no winners.
Today I will be thinking about all the innocent victims, the brave heroes and those they left behind. Let’s never forget them.