An attack that changed contemporary world politics: 9/11 looking back 18 years

Nepali Reporter: While we in the East slept, the US was subjected to one of the most ghastly attacks in its entire history. 9/11 changed the course of contemporary world history and began a permanent war that would be fought over a large scale destabilizing the middle-east. A well-planned attack by the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda, 2996 souls perished in a single day, with multiple strikes through hijacked airplanes in various parts of the United States. The deadliest of these attacks were at the World Trade Center in New York where shocking video footages showed the entire collapse of the buildings instantly killing all the occupants. The heart of US defense the Pentagon was also attacked in 9/11 creating complete panic among the people.

We look back at this atrocious incident and observe in silence the insanity of terrorism which had many innocent lives lost for an undesirable cause. The mastermind of the attack Osama Bin Laden wrote a letter dated 24th November 2002 titled “letter to America”. While his arguments were mainly historic and religiously inclined supporting the cause of Islam and its people, the fact that any terrorist activity toward innocent people cannot be justified by non-state actors toward the actions of nations protecting its sovereignty and security.

What can be seen 18 years on has had an immense repercussion to various parts of the world, where the effect is still being felt, and terrorism continues to exist with atrocities committed to the common masses. We look back today after all these years to those brave passengers who boarded United Airlines flight 93, where they took control and foiled an attack crashing the plane in a field. We honor the lives of those innocent civilians and their families whose lives changed forever.

(World Trade Center Attack, Photo: Wikipedia) 

This was just the beginning of the longest war that the United States was going to wage. Known as the US war in Afghanistan, it aimed at eliminating terrorist groups of the Al-Qaeda. Operation Enduring Freedom was launched under the leadership of President George W. Bush after the Taliban refused to shut down the terrorist camps and hand over Osama Bin Laden the mastermind behind the attacks. The United States was supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The attack on September 11 changed contemporary politics, Muslims were subjected to various hate crimes, and continuous wars would be fought in Iraq spreading over to Syria, and other Middle East nations. This war based on the principles of acting against terrorism and fringe groups would successfully overthrow dictators like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.

The global politics of the world has been shaped primarily after the attack of September 11. We haven’t come to terms yet. Nepal faced a ripple too where 12 workers were kidnapped and later killed in the most gruesome manner with video footage available in Iraq.

The attack on the US was no wonder the deadliest in modern times, but our reflection of the day should be with the people who lost their lives for a cause that would vaguely matter to the innocent civilians. They were just going about their daily lives. Human civilization has always been marred with violence and confrontations, either for access to more land and resources or to expand power. We now are at a point of time where we have transcended toward creating a society of peace and harmony, where issues that are in place can be discussed. Media has expanded, and with the development of technology and the use of the internet, information is much more accessible. We cannot look back with prejudice against one another but learn from the disastrous mistakes that we can make that can change the course of the lives of millions all over the world.

Lives lost cannot be accounted for, and nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one. What we can do is remember, honor the lives, and integrate a universal message of peace where there is no space for terrorism or radical thought. Our fulfillment for our lives should keep in mind the countless lives that have been lost as a result of the wars that followed. 9/11 brought the world at the brink of a major catastrophic war engineered and designed by non-state actors. Its aftermath is being felt among firefighters who worked at Ground Zero in Manhattan, being diagnosed with cancer. Innocent families in millions have felt the wrath from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria to Libya. Lives have changed forever, families displaced, yet we ponder upon now on how we move forward together without holding the prejudices of the past. Let us just remember and honor the lives lost.