The Ten Years since 911: How Osama Bin Laden Made the World a Worse Place

Published September 8th, 2011 - 21:58 GMT

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Criminalization of Islam: Bush's war against terror, was mistaken 
as a war against Islam. Reading a Koran in public might 
as well be brandishing a gun.  Sporting facial hair marked you as a terror suspect.  Genuflection (God is Great)
was tantamount to assault. Terrorism was a Muslim crime, right up until the 'Norwegian' reminded us otherwise.
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Image 1 of 12: Criminalization of Islam: Bush's war against terror, was mistaken as a war against Islam. Reading a Koran in public might as well be brandishing a gun. Sporting facial hair marked you as a terror suspect. Genuflection (God is Great) was tantamount to assault. Terrorism was a Muslim crime, right up until the 'Norwegian' reminded us otherwise.

The world re-discovered its fascination with an old form of punishment--torture, which grew to become an unexpected arena for global
cooperation, with countries comparing notes on how to torture detainees. This became such a craze that British journalists started
volunteering to be waterboarded.
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Image 1 of 12: The world re-discovered its fascination with an old form of punishment--torture, which grew to become an unexpected arena for global cooperation, with countries comparing notes on how to torture detainees. This became such a craze that British journalists started volunteering to be waterboarded.

The US gave itself a green light to invade or intervene all over the globe: although Iraq manifestly had nothing at all to do with 9/11, 
George W Bush believed it did--and now many have been left dead, and still, no Uranium.
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Image 1 of 12: The US gave itself a green light to invade or intervene all over the globe: although Iraq manifestly had nothing at all to do with 9/11, George W Bush believed it did--and now many have been left dead, and still, no Uranium.

The Israelis constantly tried to capitalise on the world's growing distaste for 'terrorism'--with many pointing out that those fighting to 
free their country are not the same as nihilists blowing up buses. In the meantime, the Peace Process looks stalled as ever--the only 
thing moving forward being Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
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Image 1 of 12: The Israelis constantly tried to capitalise on the world's growing distaste for "terrorism"--with many pointing out that those fighting to free their country are not the same as nihilists blowing up buses. In the meantime, the Peace Process looks stalled as ever--the only thing moving forward being Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

 Towards the end of this decade, the masses of the Arab public proved that they had they had their own voice--not based on terrorism, 
not in tow to the United States: their people power was stronger than Al Qaeda's suicide bombings.
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Image 1 of 12:  Towards the end of this decade, the masses of the Arab public proved that they had they had their own voice--not based on terrorism, not in tow to the United States: their people power was stronger than Al Qaeda's suicide bombings.

Breaking with centuries of tradition, Salafi Muslims became their own governments' worst enemies; wearing a beard became a minimalist 
way to identify with the oppressed--or, more maliciously, a badge of honour for terrorists.
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Image 1 of 12: Breaking with centuries of tradition, Salafi Muslims became their own governments' worst enemies; wearing a beard became a minimalist way to identify with the oppressed--or, more maliciously, a badge of honour for terrorists.

The age of ultra security: We could fear bags, phones, pc's and even liquids. International travel 
was cumbersome & less glamorous. Tighter security extended beyond the airport- hotels, restaurants & malls. Malls deploy security measures including car bomb screening, 
and hotels particularly in once-targeted areas as Jordan upped the ante.
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Image 1 of 12: The age of ultra security: We could fear bags, phones, pc's and even liquids. International travel was cumbersome & less glamorous. Tighter security extended beyond the airport- hotels, restaurants & malls. Malls deploy security measures including car bomb screening, and hotels particularly in once-targeted areas as Jordan upped the ante.

Osama Bin Laden may as well have been a character dreamed up by George Orwell: Plenty of people throughout the world have come
to accept increased surveillance of their activities and a reduction in their civil liberties; tagging and keeping records of biometric data, 
as well as no-fly lists, are now mainstays of our lives.
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Image 1 of 12: Osama Bin Laden may as well have been a character dreamed up by George Orwell: Plenty of people throughout the world have come to accept increased surveillance of their activities and a reduction in their civil liberties; tagging and keeping records of biometric data, as well as no-fly lists, are now mainstays of our lives.

Few of us seem to notice it, but: Al Qaeda's reign of terror has been marked by Muslim-on-Muslim violence. In Pakistan and Iraq, thousands upon thousands
of Muslims--to say nothing of those countries' Christian communities--found themselves killed by their own co-religionists.
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Image 1 of 12: Few of us seem to notice it, but: Al Qaeda's reign of terror has been marked by Muslim-on-Muslim violence. In Pakistan and Iraq, thousands upon thousands of Muslims--to say nothing of those countries' Christian communities--found themselves killed by their own co-religionists.

Arab dictators--with whom the West was once quite happy to cooperate in their out-sourcing of torture--still use the Al Qaeda bogeyman--but for how long?
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Image 1 of 12: Arab dictators--with whom the West was once quite happy to cooperate in their out-sourcing of torture--still use the Al Qaeda bogeyman--but for how long?

In the end, Osama Bin Laden died in a house where he would order in his meals and watch TV--kind of like the
 people who he wanted dead. Having become a non-story by the end of it all, few expect the far less charismatic Ayman Al Zawahiri to lead the Al Qaeda organization 
in any serious manner--not for him the sensationalist style of Bin Laden.
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Image 1 of 12: In the end, Osama Bin Laden died in a house where he would order in his meals and watch TV--kind of like the people who he wanted dead. Having become a non-story by the end of it all, few expect the far less charismatic Ayman Al Zawahiri to lead the Al Qaeda organization in any serious manner--not for him the sensationalist style of Bin Laden.

The US Treasury has pioneered new, invasive ways to watch bank transactions in Arab countries--but in the end, it might be the US' own spending habits, and the country's massive budget, which could undo America more decidedly than Al Qaeda.
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Image 1 of 12: The US Treasury has pioneered new, invasive ways to watch bank transactions in Arab countries--but in the end, it might be the US' own spending habits, and the country's massive budget, which could undo America more decidedly than Al Qaeda.

As we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of September 11 and remember the tragic victims who expected to start another day of work, only to end up victim to one of history's most dramatic human-made acts of destruction, we can survey the new altered reaity we inhabit - all of which seems to be a result of that incident.

We cannot board an aeroplane, wire money internationally or watch the news without being reminded of that fateful day 10 years ago.  In some countries, the idea of introducing ID cards has taken off for the first time. In others, terror suspects are received from abroad to be tortured.  In the meantime, being a Muslim has become a completely different experience.

The religion of Islam has been forced to look at itself in the mirror. Salafi Muslims no longer respect their leaders, and being a Muslim woman wearing hijab in the West is a challenge.  Even after a Norwegian mad-man proved otherwise, many throughout the world will continue to suspect Muslims of being terrorists.

 

 

 

 

 

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