Barely out of college, working my first post-college gig at WNBC-TV as a web developer, I was twenty-two years old when the attacks on 9/11 happened. Notwithstanding the overwhelming intelligence available to prevent these well-plotted attacks, the 9/11 plot went on as scheduled, precipitating the lost decade.
The attacks precipitated and accelerated two still ongoing wars in the Middle East, authoritarianism in the U.S. under two-term Dubya, the erosion of our civil liberties, islamophobia, xenophobia, zealous bigotry and anti-immigration animus, the violation of the Geneva Conventions through the use of torture, the erosion of economic opportunity, and the deepening of a polarized nation.
Ten years later and Americans are still staggeringly uninformed regarding U.S./Middle East relations.
Tens years later, immigrants, arabs, south asians, blacks, and latinos are far less safer.
Ten years later, the first black President is forced to show his papers.
First came the dot-com bubble, then the housing bubble and foreclosure crisis. Next up: the student loan bubble.
Ten years later, income inequity is higher than it ever was. Ten years later and the racial wealth gap has never been wider.
Ten years later, college and post-college graduates cannot find jobs. Unemployment rates are astronomically high, particularly so for people of color and black Americans.
Ten years later, with a presidential election 14 months away, Republicans are singing the same white supremacist tune.
Ten years later, notwithstanding Bush v. Gore, alleged Democrats are threatening to vote for Nader or to not vote at all.
Ten years later, some folks have some serious amnesia and repressed memories.
For my generation, this has been the lost decade. We will never know the economic opportunity and security that our parents knew.
So long as there is a plutocracy/oligarchy/corporate socialism and money to be made, American imperialism and xenophobia will continue — just as the racial wealth gap widens and unemployment continues to rise.
The rest of the world is watching and knows this. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Here are some of the headlines on this 10th anniversary since the 9/11 attacks:
America, your 9/11 is our 24/7 – Ten years of fighting state violence
In the immediate wake of the attacks of September 11th, the US government initiated devastating wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, killing and starving entire populations. Ten years later we can count US military bases and troops stationed not only in these two nations, but in a number of nations worldwide. Looking forward on the anniversary of 9/11 and the days after, we fear that the US government and the Right Wing may again use this anniversary as an occasion for their political, economic, and military gain.
Ten years on: still fighting Islamophobia
Ten years ago, I encountered a new strain of Islamophobia. Overnight, it mutated from an annoying virus to a bitter plague.
America’s new enemy?
It used to be the Nazis, the Soviet Union and then Osama and al-Qaeda. Now that he is dead, who will become the new enemy America focuses its energies on?
The new normal: Muslims reflect on life after 9/11
Amjad Taufique was twice called to the Islamic Center of Cartersville to find vandals had thrown rocks scrawled with words like “Muslim scum” and “Muslim death” through the windows. Before they left one time, they tossed in a container filled with a smelly liquid. Those incidents didn’t occur immediately after 9/11. They happened in March and April — nearly a decade later.
After the dust settled came a decade of decline
Ten years on, Muslim Americans reflect on the struggle their communities face in the US post 9/11.
‘There’s a growing Islamaphobia around the world’
Today, there is more anger and distrust in the world than before 9/11. The world has become a far more dangerous place and we are all more vulnerable to attack, uncertainty and upheaval. The saddest part of it all is that the world seems to be nowhere near resolving any of the issues and disputes that led to the horrific attacks in the first place. Ten years later, Osama Bin Laden is dead but the Taliban is still alive and kicking in Afghanistan; Saddam Hussein has been executed and Iraq continues to see growing violence everyday. Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, but its own civilians are being blown up by so-called jehadis.
How the road from 9/11 led to my door
For ten years, the tragic events of September 11, 2001, have been used as a pretext for endless war — tens of thousands dead in Afghanistan; more than a million killed in Iraq; and a campaign of repression at home, carried out against thousands of Arabs, Muslims, and now, even the peace movement. The road from 9/11 led the FBI to my door, with an early morning raid on my home, and a secret grand jury investigating two dozen peace activists on terrorism charges.
9/11 and the Future We’ve Built
The federal government now deploys an estimated—and unprecedented—15,000 informants across the land. As of 2008, the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guidelines permit “assessments,” where the agency can spy on anyone, without suspicion of criminal activity. Department of Justice data shows that in the first four months after the new rules were instituted in 2008, agents launched 11,667 “assessments.” “Sneak and peek” warrants under the USA PATRIOT Act were issued 2,332 times between 2006 and 2009, but only 1 percent of those were used in terrorism-related cases (most were for drug-related investigations). And even local agencies are overstepping their traditional and, arguably, legal confines, with the NYPD reportedly relying on CIA assistance in some of its local as well as its far-flung, extra-jurisdictional investigations. The price of these parapet-shattering measures should not be quantified solely in dollars. A far steeper price has been paid in liberty. It can be counted in the double-digit sentences and life-terms doled out to the defendants, and it can be measured in the devastating impact this approach has had on targeted communities’ sense of security and stability in their adoptive homeland.