And Below We Have The Jersey Evening Post's Deluded Think Tank....
ON Sunday the world will remember one of the most earth-shattering and appalling events not only of this young century but also of the post-war era. That event was the attack on and demolition of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York – the focal event of atrocities that are now universally known as 9/11.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 – which we must remember also involved carnage at the Pentagon in Washington and the death plunge of another airliner in open country after heroic resistance by passengers – many people spoke of the world having changed irrevocably. They were in many respects right to do so.
The horror of the collapsing towers and the associated outrages led to two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the realisation that no city is safe from attack by fanatics, stepped-up security in all walks of life, and, regrettably, the proliferation of the sad idea that all Muslims harbour dangerous extremist thoughts, desires and perhaps plans.
However, if 9/11 focused attention on a new category of peril, the hideous and absurdly misguided excesses of hard-core fundamentalists, it was also a reminder of the uncertainty and unpredictability of all human life.
The assault on the twin towers was significantly different from, and more horrific than, natural disasters such as the Japanese tsunami or floods in Pakistan only because it was no act of God but a calculated action perpetrated by human beings who put rationality and humanity to one side in favour of perverted ideology.
At a purely pragmatic level, the lesson that 9/11 teaches us is to be constantly vigilant. At a deeper level, it must teach us to be relentlessly suspicious of all forms of fanaticism that put supposedly religious, political or other doctrinaire goals above the value of human life, rights and happiness.
The sponsor of the 9/11 plan, Osama bin Laden, has been eliminated, and it is difficult to believe that had he been captured rather than killed, he could have been persuaded of the error of his ways.
That said, the long, hard route to avoiding future atrocities lies in demonstrating, through deeds rather than words, that the democratic west is not bent on a crusade against Islam or any other creed but rather seeks peaceful coexistence and, indeed, fruitful co-operation.