People, World Politics

9/11.

I was born in 2000, we were dubbed the ‘millennium babies’, a generation born into the new millennium, a millennium where the world had finally moved towards an era of relative peace and stability. The Cold war was over, the world was globalised and technology had made the world a smaller place. It was a millennium where there would be more opportunities, more interconnection and more hope. World Trade had reached record levels, communication was easier than ever, new inventions in the fields of medicine, transportation and science had made the world a better, a more inclusive, safer and a more beautiful place to live in. The sunshine of democracy had spread its rays far and wide, more countries now had governments based on rule of law and respect for human rights. It was an incredible time to be alive.

All of this sunshine was soon eclipsed by evil, on the 11th of September 2001. I was too young to remember anything, but the images of the Twin Towers in New York on fire is something that I grew up seeing. It was years later that I really understood what had happened on that fateful day. Unfortunately, the years to come would see more such attacks- London, Paris, Mumbai and even my home city of Bangalore were all attacked. I remember crying to sleep in 2008, after I had seen visuals of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on fire after a Terrorist attack. For many months, the visuals never left me.

I remember the terrible Paris bombings of 2015, I was in the same city exactly two years before that, on that exact date. It was the most beautiful city I had ever been to. To see it torn apart broke my heart. The lights of the Eiffel tower were perhaps not bright enough to shun darkness.

I remember how my home city of Bangalore suffered in 2008. The attacks were not very intense but it sent a shockwave across the city. A city which was known for its laid back and peaceful atmosphere was suddenly in panic. I remember how afraid I was, hoping that no one we knew was in any of the areas where the attacks happened. The closest bombing to my house was a 30 minute drive away.

I remember how a synagogue in Mumbai was attacked and many senior members of the family who stayed there had been killed. I remember seeing images of Leopold cafe in Mumbai, filled with bullet holes and blood. I visited this place a few years later, and I couldn’t help but think of how innocent people were killed- for absolutely nothing.

I remember how after 26/11, almost all the big shops and malls in my city had metal detectors. Airports became much more cautious. Even my school had a metal detector at the entrance. I remember how suddenly terms like ‘Security Check’, ‘IED’, ‘Crude Bomb’, ‘Knife attack’, ‘Hostage situation’ became a part and parcel of most conversations.

I remember the faces of the brave police and army personnel who stormed into the Taj Hotel to rescue hostages.I remember the football match between France and Germany during which Paris was bombed. I remember the cafe in Sydney which was attacked.

I remember our tour guide in Bali, telling us about the Bali bombings and how the swimming pools of hotels were used to treat those who had suffered from burn injuries. I remember texting my friends in Brussels after the city was the victim of a terrible terror attack.

I remember how Easter Sunday was a day of horror in Sri Lanka, as terrorist groups had planted bombs in many of the major Churches. I remember sitting in church that morning, while my phone’s news app updated me on what had happened. I remember the fear that came over me, each time we went to church after that.


I’m not a skeptic, in fact I believe we can eventually have peace. But each time I hear the word ‘millennium’, I am filled with pain, because it’s a stark reminder to me that we have failed in our endeavour to make this millennium a peaceful one. How have we allowed religious extremism and those with a vile ideology to take over? How have we allowed them to kill so many innocent people? All for the sake of ideology? It will never make sense to me.

Every year on 9/11, when people write and talk about where they were on that day and what they were doing, I think about all the millenium babies and what they were doing on that day. Were they aware that the world they were going to grow into was one filled with hatred and fear? What was I thinking at that time?

Every year on 9/11, we must not only remember those who we lost that day but we must also honour their memory by vowing to stand up against religious extremism and hateful ideological positions which lead to violence. We must vow to create a world where generations of kids don’t grow up seeing visuals of bloodshed and violence. Every year on 9/11, I will remember all those who we lost to terrorism, lives that didn’t have to be cut short. All for the sake of what?

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