Sunday, 11 September 2011
Ten years ago, on this very day, terrorists, working for al-Qaeda, hijacked planes and flew them into buildings on American soil. Over 2,000 people in New York, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania died as a result.
In the after-math of 9/11, the Bush and Blair administration responded to the attacks in the exact way al-Qaeda wanted…fighting fire with fire.
The decision to take down the Taliban by invading Afghanistan and targeting civilians gave al-Qaeda the motivation to further expand and recruit for their cause. As Chris Hedges, former al-Qaeda correspondent for the New York Times points out:
‘‘The language of violence, the language of occupation—the occupation of the Middle East, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—has been the best recruiting tool al-Qaeda has been handed.’’
Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups have always used western intervention as a justification for their actions. Invading Iraq only built that momentum as al-Qaeda tried to establish an ‘America Hates Muslims’ message to those under attack.
While we remember with great sadness, those 2,982 victims who died on September 11th 2001, we must also remember the silent victims of 9/11.
The Silent Victims of 9/11
Since the United States commenced military action in Iraq, over one million Iraqis have been killed and over 4, 000 (officially acknowledged) U.S military personnel have been sacrificed. Over 5,000 Iraqis have been killed in terrorist attacks alone. This is more than those killed in the United States on September 11th 2001.
While it is impossible to determine the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, it is estimated that this figure could also be well into the millions and thousands for military personnel. These figures are increasing everyday.
The cost of revenging 9/11, believe it or not, has now reached an estimated $1,247,603,518,251 USD.
We must also remember the victims of the ‘war on terror.’ People like Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot by British police for ‘looking’ like a suicide bomber; those who were awaken in the early hours of the morning by police searching their homes and the hundreds of others across the world who have been innocently accused of being involved in terrorism.
Let’s also not forget the hundreds of innocent inmates who were and are still held, some tortured, in Guantanamo Bay. A document published by Wikileaks showed that hundreds of Guantanamo detainees are merely innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, including drivers, farmers and chefs who were illegally charged for offences relating to terrorism and placed in Guantanamo Bay.
Victims of al-Qaeda
While the stereotype has always been that western countries are the only victims of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks, this is far from the case. Muslims are actually the main victims of al-Qaeda’s deadly terrorist attacks against the West. According to an article published in the Washington Times, in 2004 to 2008, only 15 percent of the 3,010 victims killed in al Qaeda-related attacks were Western. And in 2006 to 2008, only 2 percent (12 of 661 victims) were from the West, and the remaining 98 percent of those killed were inhabitants of countries with Muslim majorities.
While many of us around the world attend and watch memorial services or express our condolences to those who were killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, we too must remember those million plus who have also been victims of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks. They also deserve their two minutes of silence.
First Published by Suite101
Copyright Reyhana Patel. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.