Today is the 14th anniversary of the horrific attacks on the world trade centre in New York. Without doubt the largest world changing event since the world wars. For the first time the USA was attacked on home soil, finding its nose bloodied and we are still reeling from its retaliation.
I’ve often pondered on this event and what it means for the world. We have been living inside the war on terror since it occurred and are affected by its impact almost every day. Does anyone remember what it was like to go through airport security before we had to almost strip off the privilege?
Now, like everything else in the world, once things start happening they won’t ever stop happening. So these security measures will be with us forever. Or maybe until the end of the war on terror. But what will signify the end of the war on terror? The end of Christianity, the end of Islam? Both of these are terrifying concepts, as they inherently mean the end of whole civilisations. The war on terror isn’t a war between two countries. It is a war between two complete ideologies and one of those ideologies defines its enemies as anyone that does not believe in its own peculiar brand of religious fundamentalism. Even Hitler got along with other fascists with slightly different beliefs.
We have recently seen the rise of the Islamic State. We can’t quite fathom in the west how they have managed to achieve what they have achieved. We are shocked at the footage of executions and unbridled destruction of historic monuments they deem to be against their chosen world view. It hurts my heart to know that irretrievable records of human history are being erased. There is no way to get this history back. To lose it in the name of religion is just awful, horrendous and deeply saddening.
So how do we combat this new threat? Well let’s take a look. Option one, a military response. We have proven time and time again that a military response does not work. In fact it simply adds more martyrs to the cause, driving new recruits to the Islamic state. It seems our leaders are beginning to understand this and we now support local troops via airstrikes, training and intelligence. Our troops stay at home. Option two, we do nothing. This actually may be a good idea. Unfortunately we require oil and most of our oil comes from the middle east, which is where most of the Islamic countries are. So we won’t be leaving the region any time soon. This western impingement on traditionally Islamic countries will be seen as an occupation that needs to be defeated and will continue to irritate the Islamic State. Option three, we respond with peace and love. I like this response. But unfortunately this means that the western world will have to suck it up and take whatever is thrown at it, and I am not sure that we are mature enough as a society to be able to pull together and do this. The desire for retaliation is still too strong.
I will finish on this. We in the west may be thinking that this period of our existence has been going on for long enough now and hope that both sides may forget this whole thing. In the west this may be possible, but for those who choose to fight for Islamic State this is simply not going to happen. The Islamic timeline is far longer than that of Christianity. Islam talks of the Christian crusades of the 11th to 13th century as recent history, whereas this is ancient history to Christianity. Many of those leading the Islamic State see this conflict as a continuation of the battles started during those crusades.
We’re in for a long ride.