Sunday, September 11, 2005

Anniversary #4

So here we are again, September 11th, four years after the attacks. The tragedy is still fresh in my mind, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think. You see, I live in a neighborhood with a large population of Muslims, many of whom are immigrants. After the September 11th attacks, the Muslim residents of my neighborhood faced a lot of "problems" by non-Muslims.

One issue was the government. After 9/11/01, the government took a keen interest in all of the Muslim residents, both immigrants and American-born. I guess the government was justified, to a certain extent, because it believed that Muslim terrorists were responsible for the attacks that killed so many people. But the government never interrogated all the Irish-American residents after Timothy McVeigh was found to be responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. Now I know what you may be thinking, "But the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks were Muslims who lived and operated right here, out of America!" Well, Timothy McVeigh lived and operated out of America as well. As did "The Unabomber," Ted Kaczynski, but the government never targeted and interrogated an entire religion or ethnicity because of him. Only when a terrorist suspect is non-white, it seems, is an entire racial, religious, and/or ethnic group held responsible from the crimes of a select few.

Then there were the vigilantes, who made it their business to create problems for Muslims in "retaliation" of the terrorist attacks. One day, soon after the attacks had taken place, I was walking to the grocery store when I saw a group of four boys attack an old man. The boys looked to be young teenagers, maybe 14 to 16 years-old each, with fair hair and skin. They came up from behind the old man, dressed in "Middle Eastern garb," as he sat on a bench waiting for the bus. Just as the bus was approaching, the boys grabbed the old man and threw him into the bus's path. Luckily, the bus was able to stop in time, and the old man wasn't run over. The police came and arrested the four boys, but that was only one "incident" of many.

Now I am not trying to make light of the significance and horror of the attacks themselves, or their victims, so please don't misinterpret my writing in this post. I just think that there is even more tragedy than most people are aware of due to what took place on September 11th, 2001. In addition to those lives lost from the actual events, there were those affected in other ways. The families and friends who lost loved ones, for example; the victims of vigilante crimes, like that which I described above; and of course, the invasion and subsequent wars with both Afghanistan and Iraq, which produced (and in the case of Iraq, continues to produce) a large number casualties as well. Some people have already forgotten that the initial reasons we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq were because of the government's perceived notion that the people (or at least the countries' leaders) were somehow tied, either directly or indirectly, to the terrorists responsible of the destruction that occurred on 9/11/01.

When you take all of that into consideration -- the victims of the attacks themselves, the families and friends of those victims, the victims of the retaliation attacks and those victims' families and friends, the casualties of both the American soldiers and Afghani citizens and their friends and families (from the invasion of Afghanistan), and all the casualties (and, for the zillionth time, their friends and families) from both sides of the war with Iraq (which, by the way, continues to grow) -- it almost seems like September 11, 2001 never ended.


Blogger Papigiulio said...

There's alot of racism going on in this world. Muslims where the target after 11 september, and the black people after Katrina. I think we need at least 20 more generations to wear it all out to a minimum, from the western civilisation, cus lets not talk about the middle-east part!

5:56 PM  
Anonymous 'ka said...

i wish everybody can ignore all about religions and races and just pay attention to other stuff...

unfortunately it's been there as long as we live... :(

9:54 AM  
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