Connectivity and the global impact of 9/11
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 21:09
I hold a lot of minority opinions. Many of which are easily misunderstood or just extremely unpopular. For example: the Middle Ages were more advanced than most of the other ages in human history. See? You’re probably thinking “Church repression,” “dark ages,” “lack of science,” and all that. But I’m not talking about that. I want to briefly discuss “9/11,” “America,” and “fault,” and most importantly, “connectivity.”
First, I want to explain that in no way am I saying that the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, the families of those victims, or our soldiers overseas have in any way, brought the tragedy upon themselves. Rather, I am humbly asking the reader to step outside the protective bubble of American-exceptionalism and into the realm of history.
As an International Relations teacher once told me, it all began in 1979. Before 1979, America and the Soviet Union were vying for allies in the Middle East. America had the Shah in Iran, Russia had the king in Iraq, and the Afghani were neutral in between. Any account of Iran pre-1979 shows a country plagued with fear. The Shah ruled with an iron fist, not unlike the Ayatollahs today. When the revolution finally came (in 1979) America was kicked out of Iran, quickly found a new ally (Saddam Hussein) to put in power in Iraq, and the Soviets were free to invade Afghanistan without any repercussions from America’s once-ally, Iran. Check the Internet, the Middle East fell into chaos within a few months like country-sized dominoes.
As you probably know, Osama bin Laden was an “American freedom fighter.” The CIA armed him to fight the Soviets during the war. But after the dust settled, the Soviets were gone and the Taliban ruled. Osama bin Laden would later turn our own weapons back on us starting as early as the ‘90s with his first attempt on the World Trade Center.
The history they don’t want you to know is that prior to the September 11th attack, another Afghani freedom fighter going by the English-friendly name “Lion of Panjshir” (after his daring attack on the Soviets in the region of Panjshir) was warning the CIA that “Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia” were planning an attack on America. In Belgium, the Lion gave a speech declaring that Afghanistan’s problems would soon become the World’s problem if something wasn’t done to stabilize the region. On September 9, 2001, two men with fake passports claiming to be reporters walked into the Lion’s camp for an interview, and assassinated the Lion with a bomb disguised as recording equipment. Two days later, we all know what happened.
In less than 30 years, America turned its allies into enemies by forcing an oppressor onto them (the Shah in Iran, Saddam in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan). It’s easy to see how Islamic Radicalism could become a favorable ideology to secular dictators like Hussein, Mubarak, and Qaddafi. After all, that was the exact same excuse those men used when meeting with our Presidents, “If you don’t help me, give me weapons, give me funds, the Islamists will be in power, and you will lose an ally.” They meant it as a threat. We should have instead made allies with the temperate force of Islam before it had time to boil over.
Case in point: our greatest ally in Afghanistan – the Lion of Panjshir – was known to be a devout, but just Muslim. He was religiously tolerant, and fond of democracy. And he is dead.
Again, in no way am I saying the victims of New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington deserved what happened on that dark day years ago. They deserve it no more than the families in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. When we mourn on 9/11 and say “Never Forget,” we shouldn’t forget a majority of the victims – Muslims who are affected by the war every single day, half a world away. The truth of the matter is that war hurts us all, and it takes two to tango. Let us never forget that simple fact.