September 11th

It’s been fourteen years since that day.

It was one of those moments in life where everyone knows where they were when they heard about it and not just in America.

I live in Scotland, in the UK and I remember I was ten years old and was walking home from school with my mum. We knew something had happened but we didn’t know what so we got home and turned the TV on. I almost wish we hadn’t, I wish we’d been ignorant to the whole thing and went about our lives unaware of this horror. Of course, that’s not only unrealistic but selfish too but everything changed that day.

As a ten year old I wasn’t really aware of what was going on out there in the big wide world. We learnt about world wars in history and that’s where that kind of fighting and genocide stayed. I was nearing the age of going to high school and it seemed that the whole world had simultaneously started pulling back the curtain to reveal the true world. Before it, nothing was perfect, but it wasn’t evil. At least I wasn’t aware that it was.

And suddenly everything seeped into reality – death, suffering, extremism, fear, mistrust, weapons…

As I got older everything just got worse. Death became murder, suicide, execution, illness, accidents. Even those got scarier – murder suicide, suicide bombings, beheading, childhood illness, the spread of disease, sometimes on purpose, elegance.

It never seemed to stop – explosions, gun fights, rape, paedophilia, robbery, kidnap, suicide, mass shootings, war zones, terrorists, murder suicides, suicide bombings, child abuse, oppression, gender inequality, LGBT+ persecution, homelessness, austerity, animal cruelty.

The list goes on and on and I find it harder to get out of bed the more I think about it.

This morning my sister shared a video on facebook, from another page, of a man dancing around his kitchen, picking up his child and singing, the child laughing and dancing too. The caption said that the man was a fire-fighter who died trying to save people from the burning World Trade Centers. The video was their last Christmas together. He was so happy.

I will never understand why you would want to hurt anyone. Me and my family talk about this a lot, in general, usually when we see a sad story on the news, such as an infant murdered or an elderly person physically abused in their carehome. We all don’t see how you could do that to an innocent person, we even agree that we couldn’t hurt a guilty person.

How could you purposely terrify hundreds of people on planes and then fly them into buildings, causing the buildings to start to fall apart, go on fire, killing so many people? How can you actually do that? I will never understand it. Never. I can’t even say any more on that, I have no words for it. People try to explain it by saying “their extremists”. I know that, but they’re also people and they’re supposed to have empathy and morals.

I remember seeing the worst picture of the whole thing. It was a scene from the tragedy, I think, and someone had written on it. “Everything I need to know about Islam I learnt on 9/11”. I was disgusted. Islam did not do it, extremists did, terrorists did.

On this day please keep every victim and every family member in your mind. Everyone who was on the plane, phoning their families knowing they were about to die; every person who woke up that morning and went to work in the World Trade Center; every firefighter; every EMT; every other person that I’m not even aware played a crucial part in the rescue effort.

But I also urge you to remember that saying Islam did this is like saying the Western World deserves to die. Fear can do many horrible things, like start wars. Please don’t let fear and anger make you into something you’re not.

Terrorists planned and carried out the terrorist attacks on the 9th of September 2011, killing (according to google, I have no official figures) 3,000 people. Islam and its believers did not. Terrorists continue to kill people and destroy lives. Islam and its believers do not.

RIP to all of the victims, it shouldn’t have happened and we will never forget you.

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