9/11 – Ten Years On ~ by @Ammoun_

Kharabeesh weblog | September 14, 2011 by Ammoun

Thirteen years old.  Who would have thought back then that ten years on, I would be here commenting on the consequences of what is presented as an event that changed the world?

I had the opportunity to be on BBC World show World Have Your Say. There, I spoke with other youths who, just like me, were teens when the planes crashed on the Twin Towers. How could I imagine that my life would be affected by what happened on the other edge of the Atlantic? How could I understand from my parents’ grave faces that it was only the beginning of a series of tragedies that are still on going? While listening to those young people talking about the distress that rocked their childhood on that day as they suddenly “woke up to the real world”, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for our generation.

“Don’t Turn Tragedy Into War”

On 9/11, I had been thrown with all my fellow Muslims in the Evil’s side. The enemy had a name, a face, and a religion, hence all those looking like him were treated just the same way. Guantanamo Bay military basis started to fill up with bearded men and Bush Junior to swear retaliation.

Ten years on, more than a hundred “detainees” are still held in Guantanamo Bay, as “war prisoners”, without any charges, waiting for trial. While proudly claiming that “the world is safer now because of that detention center where Geneva Convention doesn’t apply”, and showing journalists how comfortably those “war prisoners” live, the American government fails to mention the hundreds of lives it destroyed, lives of men who didn’t have any connection with Al Qaeda, and lives of their families.

October 7th, 2011 will mark ten years since the beginning of the US war in Afghanistan. $1.26 Trillion is the total amount appropriated by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of September 30, 2011; $797.3 billion for Iraq and $459.8 billion for Afghanistan, making 48,644 Afghan and 1,690,903 Iraqi people pay the ultimate price for a crime they did not commit (See NPP’s “Cost of War” Counters and Unknown News’s Body Count). They bombed the hell out of innocents in the name of a supposed War on Terror, without anyone telling them anything. Americans even paid for it, and let their government crush all their civil liberties. And ten years on, what’s the result? How does it sound?

Islamophobia – “Same hate, new target”

Something that would affect every single Muslim on Earth was becoming clearer. In France, racism was not really oriented, directed to Arabs in general. After 9/11, it took a new shape, that of racism against Muslims. The veiled woman became an easy target to all the accumulated hatred, the CCIF (French Committee Against Islamophobia in France) reports that 40% of those committing islamophobic acts are people working for the State (policemen, school employees…), that every two weeks, a mosque or a Muslim school or cemetery is vandalized. And that’s only the official statistics.

Yet, the phenomenon is widely ignored. According to a Wikileaks cable (Fr), in December 2009, the UN’s Human Rights Council proposed a resolution condemning Islamophobia, immediately rejected by the USA. The American delegation pressured then other states – among them Muslim states like Morocco – to not vote for that resolution, claiming that they should “remain the voice of tolerance”. Even Microsoft Word’s dictionary doesn’t recognize the word “islamophobia”.

9/11 extremists personified Islam and Muslims for many people who knew very little about both before. It had been a violent introduction to a culture still alien to the Western society. I feel like I’m repeating myself, repeating what many Muslims and non Muslims have been saying for ten years now; how fair is it to generalize? Because people need an enemy?

American Muslims have been asked by the CAIR (Council on American-Islam Relations) for its 2010 report about Islamophobia; “On a scale of 1-10, with one being an America free of Islamophobia and 10 being the worst possible situation for Muslims in America, how would you rate the state of Islamophobia in America today?”. The average was 6.4. And ten years on, when a dialogue between cultures should have been the natural outcome, a coloring book is released to “teach kids the truth about 9/11”, associating “Muslim” to “terrorist” or “extremist”. Is that truth? Or have people forgotten that Muslim families have lost loved ones on 9/11 too, that the international Muslim community was among the first ones speaking up to condemn the criminals who perpetrated those atrocities in its name? How can you expect children who know nothing about Islam to discriminate between an extremist and a Muslim after reading such book? How can you expect to have a peaceful society when you feed hatred?

I realized how critical the situation ten years on was when on July 22, 2011 I watched the Oslo events unfold, praying hard that the terrorist wasn’t claiming to be Muslim, or even Arab. And even then, voices started rising across the European political landscape, stating that Oslo massacre was only a consequence of the Muslim invasion and that the only way to prevent such things from happening again was to fight Islam.

I ask again; do you really expect to reach peace?

Ammoun

Anti-war protesters march to the White House December 16, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Source & More at the great weblog of Ammoun ~ Kharabeesh

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