9/11: 20 years later
9/11 – the day still embedded in the memories of people as one of the most dreadful days in history. The whole world went numb watching the sight of the World Trade Center’s twin towers going down after being struck by two hijacked airplanes, on their televisions. In the United States, September 11 of each year is observed as Patriot Day in memory of the people killed in these attacks. 20 years have passed since then. How has the world changed after the 9/11 attacks? Well, we can see many stringent rules being enforced while travelling, but other than that, how successful have we been in combating terrorism?
A threadbare discussion of all the root causes of terrorism, and the possible solutions to it, may take us into many geopolitical technicalities, which may not be necessary to get into here. But as ordinary global citizens, how can we contribute to change?
The military solutions to countering terrorism, along with political measures, have undoubtedly yielded some results. But it is so important for us to realize that socio-economic factors, such as inequality, lack of access to education and poverty, play such a huge role in feeding terrorism too. This is why the military options will always fail to completely root out terrorism, as we have been so poignantly reminded by the recent events in Afghanistan. Keeping this in mind, one possible way in which we can be changemakers is by calibrating our personal lifestyles as well as influence to model a more socio-economically just and generous world.
Apart from all these dimensions, it is important to remember that terrorism, at its core, has a ‘heart’ dimension, for the victims as well as for the perpetrators.
In bringing healing to the deep wounds of victims of terrorism, empathy can go a long way. As author David Levithan said, “What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” The Bible, in its shortest verse, tells us that Jesus wept. In the face of the grief of people he loved and identified with, Jesus, God incarnate himself, mourned. This is such a comforting thought – that God weeps with us in our brokenness – as well as such a powerful example for us to imitate, in showing empathy.
With regard to the perpetrators, those we call terrorists, it may be helpful to dwell on another insight that the Bible gives us. It tells us that the human heart is a deep wellspring of evil and deceit, a fact many of us have probably encountered even within us in our worst moments. It is just that certain conditions, circumstances and influences can make the manifestations of this evil worse in some places. This is precisely why the Bible also says that the ultimate solution to evil can only lie in a transformation that God can bring about in our hearts, through a personal relationship with Jesus. Do DM us if you’d like to hear more about this.
Most often when faced with such pervasive global issues, we often feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale and intensity. While most of us may not be able to bring large-scale change, let us remind ourselves today that all big transformations begin with small changes that usually start within individuals. Would you like to be a participant in this ‘heart’ change?