9/11 will always be a special date to me, and especially to my sister. When it happened ten years ago, we were celebrating my sister's 6th birthday. Yes, she will have to share her day forever with the terrible 9/11 attacks. I remember the day quite well: It was a Tuesday, and we were still in primary school, so after school we went to my grandpa until my parents came home from work. We ate some biscuits and did our homework, while my grandpa was watching the TV. Suddenly, there was a newsflash, and another one, and they kept talking about a plane who had flew into the WTC tower, they were speaking of terrorist attacks... At the moment, we thought in was only one plane. Then a few minutes later, we saw the second plane bombing the other tower. It was just so surreal, and we couldn't believe what was happening. We thought the world was coming to an end. Seeing all those people jump off the tower was just terrible, not to mention the innocent people on the plane. Then my father came to pick us up, and we watched the TV for several hours, rewatching the planes crashing into the towers. My father gave us a big hug and said "This may be the beginning of World War III. I hope nothing this terrible ever happens to you." My sister was crying, and said "But... it's my birthday! Now no one will remember my birthday, they will only think of these attacks!"
Now, 10 years later, watching parts of the memorial on Ground Zero, it makes me think. Over 2000 people have been killed, and even more have died because of the 'war against terrorism' Bush declared after the 9/11 attacks. And we've lost count of how many people were killed in Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libia, Egypt, Syria... A friend of mine said on facebook 'We could hold one minute of silence and memorial for those people everyday, but we don't... Is it because most people killed on 9/11 were Americans? And those others are just anonimous poor people?' It made me wonder. At the time of the drama at Pukkelpop festival, facebook was full of 'R.I.P. to all victims of Pukkelpop' pages, minutes after the storm attacked. And suddenly all Belgium was in mourn, showing respect and sympathy for the victims and organisors of the festival. Yes, 4 people were killed by the storm, and they have talked about it in the newspapers and on TV for over a week. But what about all the other people who died? The famine in Somalia? The Palestine-Israeli war that has been going on for decennia? No one has made a facebook page for those victims. Do we care less about them because they live on the other side of the country?
Studying Arabic and islamic culture has been an eye-opener to me, it made me realise the motives of Al-Quaeda and how it has come so far that they thought a terrorist attack was the only 'solution'. It's also interesting to talk with muslims how they feel about it, being targeted as terrorists, and their Islamic religion considered a religion of war and terrorism, only associated with Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and 9/11. Most of them don't agree with Al-Qaeda and their extreme conservative Islam, so they wonder why they, innocent people should be punished by the USA, declaring a war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why is it that a war always affects the innocent people and not the leaders who caused the war? It's something to think about...
Anyway, today is still my sister's day, so happy birthday, Fem! You'll always be my little sister ;)