Today is the ninth anniversary of the Al Qaeda-sponsored attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon. The physical targets were emblematic references, chosen for their relevance to America’s core identity. We think of ourselves as an economic and military superpower, and to many Americans, the audacity and the sheer actuality of these attacks was inconceivable. But in the decade since, American identity has become confounded. This is particularly true for those of us who didn’t witness the Great Depression and the country’s subsequent recovery and were too young to have had our patriotism shaken by Vietnam and covert Cold War scandals.
I grew up in the 1990’s. The dollar was strong, every adult I knew had a job, technology boomed and America’s military engagements were largely successful. But post 9/11 America—thus far, all of my adult life—seems bleak. We’re a broke and battle-weary nation with stubbornly high unemployment, Congressional stalemates, malfunctioning social programs and a distrustful and recession-laden constituency. We hastily invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, a cause that now seems hopeless, even as we gulp guilt to think so and secretly wonder when, how and if we’ll leave.
We’ve become fearful of the principles our country was founded upon—freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom to bear arms and an open-shore policy for immigrants. Despite the counter of both President Obama and former President Bush, September 11, 2001 indiscriminately made terrorism synonymous with Islam for many Americans, and as we approach this benchmark, the media is obsessed with our nation’s paranoia.
Continue reading at Pakistani paper The Express Tribune.