What Will 9/11 Ultimately Mean?

On this very solemn day in the US, the small aggravations of daily work and life recede as we ponder the toll exacted by hatred and violence throughout the world. The events of 9/11 in the US were global in their implications – not only did people from 60 countries die in the attacks on US soil, but untold thousands more people have died, and continue to die, in the wars that followed.

Violence begets violence, and the words of wisdom from Isaiah 2 (“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks…”) are heeded no better today than when written more than 2,700 years ago.

I’ve written extensively and recently about my fear and loathing of the nascent police states and unending wars spawned by 9/11, and the use of much of the great technology that our industry produces to maintain it. In the US, UK, and elsewhere, blanket use of the word “terrorism” to justify all manner of suppressive vigilance transcends political parties. This disease has permeated media coverage as well; every violent act by a crazed loner these days is first reported through the lens of possible terrorism.

As I was traveling through the US recently, I lost track of my laptop bag for a few seconds. Prior to 9/11, the fear would be that someone might steal it. Now, the fear is someone might report it, and it might be confiscated and destroyed. Be sure to analyze that contents in that bottle of Tums while you’re at it, folks. The truly sad thing is, if I ever space out and leave that bag in a mall somewhere, or on a city bench, or in a parking lot, the response will likely be the same.

September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten in the US as long as there is a US. It’s an iconic date, along with July 4 and December 7. My hope is some day its lesson will be a more positive one.

July 4 proved that the US can be a nation of one out of many. The post WWII aftermath of December 7 has proven that even the most horrific of wars can be reconciled among nations. When can September 11 come to symbolize a resolute strength in the face of terror, one that does not cower in fear and make suspected criminals of everyone, but dispenses justice to those deserving of it then carries on as before?

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