Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Interview on the September 11 Attacks

A week ago I had an interview with Maria, 23 years old, a student of my course. I’ve asked her about  a recent historical event that impressed or even frightened her strongly. Maria decided to talk about  The Twin Towers Attack of September 11, 2001 in the United States. So, following the topic, I would like to focus on the part of interview.

I: Which is a recent historical event that scared you most?
M: Undoubtedly,  the event that scared me the most was the Twin Towers Attack of the World Trade Center in New York City.

I: Could you tell me about it?
M: Yes, of course. There was a series of four suicide attacks upon the United States, particularly in New York City and in Washington, on September 11, 2001. 19 terrorists, from the Islamist militant group, hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers, intentionally, crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours. Then they crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and into a field near Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 died in the attacks!!!

I: Which are the reasons that caused this terrible attack?
M: The main motives of that attack were the U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and the American sanctions against Iraq. Bin Laden used Islamic texts to exhort Muslims to attack Americans. Muslim legal scholars have, throughout Islamic history, agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries.

I: Did you watch some documentaries about it and what are the scientists saying?
M: Yes, I saw a lot of documentaries. There were many about  Bin Laden, who orchestrated the attacks and who initially denied, but later admitted his involvement. Some documentaries reported, in the days following the 9/11 attacks, numerous incidents of hate crimes such as vandalism, arson, assault, shootings, harassment, and threats against Muslims and South Asians. Some passengers and crew members, who were able to make phone calls from the aircraft using the mobile phones, provided details that there were several hijackers aboard each plane; they used tear gas, or pepper spray and some people aboard had been stabbed. Many people have been estimated to have developed illnesses as a result of the toxic dust. There is also a scientific speculation that exposure to various toxic products in the air may have negative effects on fetal development.

I: Can you compare this attack to some other historical event that is similar in the reaction?
M:There are so many incidents and attacks investigated as possible cases of "terrorism" each month, so it  is very difficult for me to compare them.  The recent one that shocked me was a suicide bomber attack in Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport which  killed many people and wounded more, the same at a metro station in Minsk or that at the city centre of Oslo. No mentioning those in Iraq, Turkey, Afganistan, Pakistan.

I:Do you think that from 2001 to 2011 something has changed in the minds of American people?
M: Yes, I think so! An American study found an increase in hate against people who may have been perceived as Muslims, Arabs and others thought to be of Middle Eastern origin. As a result of the attacks, the USA passed a legislation to combat terrorism; to monitor telephone communications, e-mail, and Internet use by terror suspects, and to prosecute suspected terrorists.

I:How about the relationship between American and Muslim world? Do you note something different toward each other?
M:The situation is increasingly tense between the two cultures. The fact that a terror plots still occurs shows how the relations between them are not entirely improved. I’ve heard, a week ago on BBC One, that two men from Iran have been arrested over a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and to bomb the Saudi embassy of the city. Later in that day, the US government issued a worldwide alert in anticipation of other attacks. Muslim people  consider Americans as a provocation to the entire Muslim world. So.. the facts speak for themselves!

I: So you are Italian, what are Italian people thinking about this event?
M: The attacks created widespread confusion among  Italian news organizations and air traffic controllers. The attacks were denounced by mass media and governments worldwide. Italy offered support and solidarity to America and officially condemned the attacks.

I:Do you think that religion is an important factor which can impact the political actions?
M: Yes definitely! The history has already been marked by events.

I: Why do you consider Twin Tower Attack so important for history?
M: This event is so important because it shows the causes of human hatred. More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The destruction caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant impact on global markets.

I: Do you have anything to add?
M: Mmm... I think, that politics and religion are two important factors that governments should always protect and respect as a purpose of creating a peaceful and better world.

Maria has decided to tell me about this event because she had seen many documentaries about it and was 13 years old when it has happened. She didn’t know yet that hate can lead to death and this event permitted her to see the world from another point of view which was obscure and little known.
Magdalena Seget

No comments: