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The Echoes of 9/11

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A sense of extreme sorrow overwhelmed the American people as Al Qaeda terrorists crashed two airplanes right into the famous skyscrapers of New York, leaving behind a world filled with prejudice and apprehension. It has been ten years since these horrendous events of September 11 took place, and we still remember that day because it was a “defining moment” of our nation. Not only have these attacks made us realize that we are highly vulnerable to terrorism but have also boosted our patriotism. As President Barack Obama remarked on the tenth anniversary of this tragic catastrophe, “We have also seen the strength of the United States—in cities that have refused to give in to fear; in communities that have persevered through hard economic times; and, above all, in our men and women in uniform and their families who have borne an extraordinary burden for our security and our values” (9/11 Unity). Indeed, the President’s words are true. 9/11 brought us together as a nation: we proudly displayed the American flag and comforted all those who had lost their loved ones. In fact, several Americans even volunteered to risk their lives in order to save the poor souls trapped in the towers. However, not everything turned out to be positive. Many Americans began to dislike Muslims, holding them responsible for everything bad that had taken place. This issue is yet a problem and it is in our hands to solve it. Although the events on September 11 pushed open the door to hatred against all the followers of Islam, we must unite as a nation, irrespective of our religion, to overcome the problems that we face.
After September 11, 2001, Arab and Muslim Americans increasingly felt targeted by negative media portrayals and became really concerned about racial profiling as they were often being associated to acts of terrorism. The challenge that most Muslims faced was their concern in the way they dressed or their name made them an easy target for stereotyping. A 2010 Hindi film, My Name is Khan, is one such example, which portrays the relationship between Islamic Americans and the Western world after 9/11. A young Muslim teenage boy, Sameer Khan, gets accidently involved in a racially motivated schoolyard fight and ends up losing his life because of the injuries that he receives. His mother, who is a Hindu, is completely shattered and blames her husband, who is a Muslim, for her son’s death, stating that “Sameer died only because his name was Khan” (My name is Khan). This film is of extreme relevance to our time as today, the unity of our nation is of paramount importance. Khan’s story teaches us that names do not matter, and that terrorism has no religion and will never have one. Therefore, all Americans must learn to forgive but not to forget for if we cannot, we turn into exactly what those terrorists were.
Furthermore, we must acknowledge the fact that not all Muslims are fanatics, wanting to impose their religion on others. Very recently, on the occasion of the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama justified that “The United States is not—and never will be—at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11 that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own” (White House). Following 9/11, religion just became a scapegoat for people to blame. In order to bring back the unity that once existed in our nation, we must put behind all our racist thoughts and love one another for this shall help us to reconcile our faith in our country and its people.
As much as it is important to empathize with our fellow Americans who lost their loved ones on this tragic day, we should also learn to remember this event as a part of our history and learn to move on. The first step towards restoring our lost self-confidence is by helping others deal with their problems and expecting nothing in return. Often we notice that our relatives or friends are feeling down, being bullied or being intimidated by others. These are times when we need to listen to their stories and provide a shoulder for them to cry upon. Although we may feel that these little efforts of ours do not really count against such big problems like terrorism, it can actually help us feel stronger and much better. As Mother Teresa often said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” (Quote DB). We are like the different colors that fill this earth. Without one of us, this world would be less colorful. Therefore, we should never underestimate ourselves and our efforts for who knows, in the next twenty years, we might turn out to be someone great.

Sources:
"Op-ed by President Obama in USA Today: Let's Reclaim the Post-9/11 Unity." The White House. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/09/op-ed-president-obama-usa-today-lets-reclaim-post-911-unity>.
"Osama Bin Laden Dead." The White House. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/05/02/osama-bin-laden-dead>.
"We Ourselves Feel That What We Are Doing Is Just a Drop in the Ocean. But the Ocean Would Be Less Because of That Missing Drop. by Mother Teresa." Famous Quotes at QuoteDB - Interactive Database of Famous Quotations. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/318>.





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