Today, Tuesday, September 11, 2012 is the eleventh anniversary of that dreadful day when Al Qaeda struck the United States.
Even many years after the event, its ramifications live on, many of them negative.
Because of September 11, both in New Zealand and internationally, we must take account of the fact that:
- 10 New Zealand soldiers and scores of others (mainly from the US and UK) have been killed in a futile war in Afghanistan.
- Many hundreds of ordinary Pakistanis and Arabs have been killed and injured in US drone strikes - they have struck not only the Al Qaeda guilty but also the innocent.
- That we live with onerous security check requirements at airports that are time consuming - even if they do keep us safe.
- That nearly 2 million people are dead (that's right, dead) as a result of the so-called War on Terror. We must remember that approximately 2900 people died on 9/11 but many more have perished in the war that was supposed to banish terrorism.
- And speaking of terrorism's banishment, what of the ongoing terror attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan? Has making Westerners feel slightly safer come at the cost of making Afghans and Iraqis less so?
- That some of our cherished freedoms, such as the right to absolute privacy, have gone - spy agencies can tap even our innocent communications with impunity.
- That the right of individuals and organisations to question US and other superpower (i.e. Russian, Chinese) dominance and their abuse of international law(s) without fear of adverse consequences has also gone - just ask Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- That the US Government's fiscal position has, in part, been dragged down by the cost of the War on Terror - this has had negative impacts on the wider US economy and, in turn, on our own and those of others.
- Made some Westerners feel more Islamophobic thereby creating tensions within communities.
I could go on.
It has been said that September 11 changed the world. It did to the extent that the US had a new number one enemy - Al Qaeda. It did to the extent that America and the West sought not justice but vengence. And it is the consequences of seeking that vengence which we are still living with.
I hope that we can all reflect on that today.