It is now 21 years since the Islamic extremist network, known as al-Qaeda, hijacked the US passenger jets and crashed them into the two New York skyscrapers. The act killed thousands of people with others nursing injuries in various medical facilities. The attack was the most traumatic event in the century, with many political analysts asking how the world will remember the date a century later.
With so many controversies surrounding the attack, the main questions are, was 9/11 a global warning of what was to come in 2021? Was it a turning point that altered the United States and the trajectory of world politics in significant ways? Will the future generations see it as a catalyst for a series of catastrophic international blunders? Or is it just a one-off event with modest impacts?
Of course, the interpretation of the meaning attached to 9/11 will vary depending on who narrates it. While the attack left a historic dent to Americans, Afghans, Iraqis, Saudis, and Europeans, people from other parts of the world may not feel the impact as those with first-hand experience. Besides, these memories may fade away from our consciousness following a series of recent events that need our attention.
The Historic 9/11
Talking of how 9/11 will be remembered, it is wise to also highlight some of the major events that went down on that day.
On Tuesday 11th September 2001, four US passenger planes were seized by a team of 19 hijackers. The planes were then used as guided missiles to crash into two buildings in New York and Washington. Two planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, with the first crashing into the North Tower at 13:46 GMT and the second one crashing into the South Tower at 14:03 GMT. Hundreds of people were trapped on the upper floors as the city wreathed in smoke. Within two hours, the two 110-story towers collapsed in the dust.
At 14:37 GMT, the third plane crashed into the western face of the Pentagon, which is the giant headquarters of the US military just outside the nation’s capital, Washington DC. The fourth plane landed in a field in Pennsylvania at 15:03 GMT. The attackers were said to target the Capitol Building in Washington DC before passengers fought back.
The Islamic network, al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden planned the attacks after blaming the US and its allies for conflicts in Muslim World. A total of 2,977 people, excluding the 19 hijackers, died in the terror attack. According to the statistics, all 246 passengers on the four planes and crew, 2,606 people at the Twin Towers, and 125 people at the Pentagon were killed. 77 countries lost their citizens in the horrific event with New York City losing 441 first responders.
The 9/11 Aftermath
The truth is that 9/11 was not just a one-off event from a clear blue sky. It was a global warning that the next decades would not bring boundless peace and prosperity. Of course, al-Qaeda was less primitive in those days than an augury of the anti-liberal politics that would soon reach the whole world, including America. And as 9/11 still plunges in our minds, we can significantly link it to the series of historic events that have followed this major one. As such here are some shreds of evidence that remind the world of 9/11:
The Iraq War with its early arrogance and prolonged agony.
The use of torture to terrorist which undermined Bush’s every high-flown phrase.
The financial crisis, which undermined American's wealth and trust.
The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the rise of right-wing populism in America.
(Written and edited by The Decision Maker - International Relations editors)