I feel different today, very different with emotions flooding through my mind. I remember 9/11 as though it was like yesterday. Unlike many who can, I cannot remember where I was, when the tragedy unfolded. I think I was at home, glued the television, believing that this was all just a dream.
I remember the initial reports that it was “just a horrible accident” with a private plane hitting one of the towers. Though I had never been to New York and seen the twin towers, it slowly dawned on me that the damage was too severe. When, some minutes later, another plane hit the South Tower, there was only one reason that this could have happened; terrorism.
My thoughts were initially on those lives that had been lost in both planes, as I had no idea as to how many lives were at risk in the towers. There death toll was, as I thought, in the hundreds as that was all that my brain could process, but we now know that just under 3,000 innocent lives were lost on that tragic day. Estimates range from 2,600 to just under 3,000 for the total number of lives lost that day, with the lower number be as a result of the collapse of the twin towers.
Even now, I cannot process that number of lost lives. They say that you can deal with the loss of up to a couple of hundred lives but, after that, it becomes a statistic as your brain cannot comprehend that number of lives being lost in a single day, from a single act.
I was listening intently to what Dr Kim Howells was saying this morning, when he was being interviewed. He was a cabinet secretary in the Blair government, when it happened. He made a very good point.
He said that we need to address as to why a few Muslims become radicalised in the first place and then why they feel it necessary to force the conversion of other people of other faiths. He pointed out that people do not like to talk about it, for fear of being accused to being Islamophobic.
But, we have to talk about it and the West must stop thinking that everyone has to be like “us”. A classic example is Afghanistan, where the West went into Afghanistan to destroy Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Our allied militaries achieved the former goal very quickly but Bin Laden had skulked away; it took years to find him.
Then “mission creep” started and we wanted to change the Afghans to not only be democratised but to become “more like the West”. If the people of a country do not want democracy, as we see it, then fine and they certainly do not want to become like The West, otherwise they would move there. This is when people of any country become radicalised as they are fighting against the status quo. The West must get out of the mindset of thinking that we are better than anyone else, we are not, but we are just different.
If people want to live under Sharia law, then let them. If they did not want that law, they would rise up and oppose it. Just because we do not understand Sharia law, does not make it wrong. We see it as brutal through “Western tinted” glasses but that is the law that they have chosen, the people of that country.
Just because a government consists entirely of men, we should not criticise, just because that in the West, we treat men and women equally. What we continually do is to try to compare Apples with Pears. If the people of a country do not like it, they will overthrow the government. Yes, the Taliban are brutal terrorists and they are taking a hard line with people but there will come a time when people will get fed up with being brutalised and there will be massive public disorder; no amount of armed gunman will be able to suppress the will of the people.
If radicalism of faith is going to stop, then we have to stop comparing us, the West, with them. Then, we will leave them alone and there will be no drive for radicals to hurt us.
Although China is not democratic by any description, they are already doing business with the Taliban government. If we had not been so “gung ho” in the first place, we could have done the same.
We have to now face the consequences of the West’s actions. Too many people have been radicalised already, due to what we have done, for there to be true peace in the Middle East.