Abdulateef Al-Mulhim | SUSRISblog
I have hesitated to write about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US because thousands of writers had offered their comments about this tragic event that changed the lives of millions of people around the world.
It is the saddest event in modern times. It complicated relations between peoples, countries and different faiths.
I was very sad because of this event. Days after the attack, I was informed by the Alumni Association of my old school (The State University of New York, Maritime College) that there were two of my schoolmates among the dead in the World Trade Center when the twin towers collapsed.
Why the attack on innocent people? Why a human kills another human? Why humans have no respect for others? We had wars that were supposed to end all wars. We had anti-terrorism wars to stop all forms of terrorism. But, we never had a sincere look at our Planet Earth, which was generous to the human race. We never appreciated what we have.
My story with our Planet Earth started when I was 12 years old. To be exact, it was on July 21, 1969. It was the day when the American “Eagle” had landed. And it landed in the lunar Sea of Tranquility. This was the day that I learned how to love people and respect them, no matter what color of skin they have or what they believed in. When astronaut Neil Armstrong set a foot on the Moon, he said this is a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind. He didn’t say a giant leap for America.
When man was on the Moon, the whole world acknowledged that America was on top of the world. America was the undisputed world leader. Then the whole world knew that mankind was so advanced in science and technology beyond any imagination. But the most touching view for me at that age was when I saw our Planet Earth from the moon side. It was very small. I started to wonder why fight over it. The astronauts were wearing special suits. For a 12-year-old, I came to know that Planet Earth is the only place that a human being can live in and be able to sustain life. On that day, I learned how to respect our planet. We humans have to live in harmony, because, we can’t send whites to Mars, blacks to Venus and yellow people to Jupiter. Humans killing humans will not solve any conflicts.
Now, it is ten years after the worst terrorist attack in the history of mankind. I will not point fingers at anyone. There were so many fingers that have been pointed after the attack. As for the families of the victims, the scars may not disappear. They may not forget or forgive. But, there are hundreds of thousands of victims thousands of miles from Ground Zero. There were innocent victims in Iraq and Afghanistan because of this attack. It wasn’t only America that was attacked. It was not America that was hurt, it was the whole world. The whole world needs to be united, not divided. There is enough food and water for every human being, so why fight?
Mankind came a long way in technology in the past few years. Now, we have the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. We can send men to space and do the most complicated medical operations. But, we still kill each other because of differences in faith, color and beliefs.
The United States is still the most powerful country on earth. They can do a lot like they did in the past. They rebuilt Japan and Europe. They helped mankind achieve things that were only read about in science fictions. America made life easier for all humans with its advanced technology. Now we have Google and GPS. Now we can speak to each other in any part of the world, but we fail to communicate.
It will take America a long time to forget. But, America can do a lot to fight terrorism without more killings. We need to see the American drones drop chocolate bars to children in Waziristan instead of guided bombs. America will win the hearts of people just the way they did during the siege of Berlin. The Americans have to use its power to implement justice between Palestinians and the Israelis. Not solving these conflicts will produce radicals. American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will produce radicalism.
The Islamic and Arab countries also have an obligation to fight terrorism, not by dictators’ methods. Muslim countries have to rebuild their schools, hospitals and roads. The Arab and Muslim countries have to learn how to respect their people. Sept. 11 was not aimed at America. It was aimed against humanity.
This op-ed was published in Arab News on September 10, 2011
Also by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim:
- Airline Diplomacy – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – Jul 17, 2011
- President Ahmadinejad: Iran Doesn’t Need Enemies – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – Jun 8, 2011
- Expats and Loytalty – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – May 29, 2011
- Improving Saudi Tourism Prospects – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – April 14, 2011
- What if Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948? – Adulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – April 5, 2011
- Reflections on the Foundations of US-Saudi Relations – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – Jan 22, 2011
- Is there a larger role for Saudi Aramco? – Abdulateef Al-Mulhim – SUSRISblog – Jan 12, 2011