My reaction to 9/11 didn’t turn into desire to murder Arabs

I was interviewed last week by Radio Farda, Iranian Branch of Radio Free Europe, on my attitudes toward 9/11 and the subsequent decade. My answers were translated into Farsi so my English responses are below:

1) Do you remember how and where you got the info on 9/11?

I was in Melbourne, Australia and I remember normal TV programming being interrupted with the news that a plane had crashed into New York’s Twin Towers. At first, like most people, I had no idea what was going on but this soon changed. From day one, the Australian Prime Minister, who happened to be in America at the time, mirrored the rhetoric coming from the Bush White House, namely we believe in a military solution to this “war on terror”. Little has changed practically since then, except the rhetoric.

2) Did you cover the news on your site, journal or blog?

I didn’t have a blog and nor was I journalist.

3) In your opinion, how did media cover this news in your country?

Back then, the internet was in its infancy and the Australian media largely copied the American perspective which was both in shock (a totally understandable response) and blood-thirsty (far more disturbing). I opposed the war against Afghanistan, believing it would achieve little apart from greater destruction and sadly ten years later I have been proven right.

4) 10 years ago there was no Facebook, Twitter. How did the cyber world/citizen media role cover 9/11?

I recall reading some blogs after 9/11 to get a different perspective but I was most interested to try and understand the perspective of Muslims in the Middle East and Afghanistan, a nation my country (along with many others) was bombing into “liberation”.

5) Any story that really hit your memory after 10 years?

I remember well a conversation with a number of male and female friends about the idea that my country might force able-bodied young men into war, like Australia did during the Vietnam War. My female friends said that they wouldn’t let their male friends leave and would bring food and supplies in jail, if we were placed there. I remember there being some talk in the media about the possibility of conscription for then undefined conflicts. I certainly had no intention of joining the army to fight countless illegitimate wars in the name of “freedom”.

6)…  After ten years, what is the 9/11 impact on the world?

9/11 has had a profoundly destructive effect on the world. America adopted the Israeli model of fighting terrorism – killing countless civilians in an attempt to prove superiority – and the effect has been a weakened West, militarily and morally, something I welcome. Over a million lives have been lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and countless other nations. There’s no doubt that extreme Islamism is a threat but our leaders seem determined to answer primarily with the use of the gun. Such responses almost deserve punishment. I hope the coming decade brings a greater understanding that fighting violence with violence and occupying Muslim lands will only bring one outcome, so we should stop it.

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