September 11th 2011: what effect(s) have changes in policy had on everyday people?
“It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same–everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same.”
George Orwell, 1984
Less than a month after the attacks on September 11th 2001, British and American forces invaded Afghanistan with the stated goal of dismantling the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base. The United States also said that it would remove the Taliban regime from power and create a viable democratic state. These people, we were told, were against our way of life and would stop at nothing to kill us all.
The majority of the American people were in favour of this war – revenge was necessary. The ones that paid the price were the innocent Afghan civilians who probably did not even know what happened on September 11th, never mind know who the perpetrators were. And then there were the attacks in London on July 7th 2005, which convinced even the British people that they were no safer than the Americans.
In an address to the Society of Editors in 2007, the Director General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans, insisted that the root of the problem was ‘ideological’. “It does not accept the legitimacy of other viewpoints,” he said of Al Qaeda. “It is intolerant, and it believes in a form of government which is explicitly anti-democratic.”
This type of fear mongering, ‘us’ vs. ‘them’, has been prevalent and consistent since 2001. Our governments re iterate this message that there are terrorists out there who want to kill us (and to be fair some do), hence all these wars we are fighting, and it does nothing to allay peoples fears when even the media jumps on the bandwagon, running headlines of radicals demanding Sharia in Britain.