On this day (Sept 11) 13 years ago, as many as 5000 innocent lives were lost. American might and power got a jolt. Terrorists’ mission was successful. They dealt a severe blow to the American pride.
Terrorists’ hatred for the Americans still continues today. Bin Laden and his followers come from a culture that reinforces their hostility, distrust and hatred of the West and of America in particular. This culture does not condemn terrorism and it fuels fanaticism.
If you read the Arab press following the WTC attacks, you will see a not-so-hidden admiration for bin Laden. Take a look at what appeared in Pakistani newspaper The Nation: “September 11 was not mindless terrorism for terrorism’s sake. It was reaction and revenge and even retribution.”
But why do they hate Americans? Fareed Zakaria rightly pointed out in his column in Washington Post that it is the political stagnation of the Arab world that produces jihad and fanaticism. It’s not an Islam problem, but an Arab problem.
“The Arab world was left with dictatorships on one hand and deeply illiberal opposition groups on the other — Hosni Mubarak or al-Qaeda. The more extreme the regime, the more violent the opposition. This cancer was deeper and more destructive than I realized. Despite the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and despite the Arab Spring, this dynamic between dictators and jihadis has not been broken,” said Zakaria.
Bin Laden’s right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri’s (his headquarters is based in Pakistan) recent call to recruit Indian Muslims is a cause for serious concern.
Samuel Huntington once explained that Americans never recognize that in the developing world the key is not the kind of government — communist, capitalist, democratic, dictatorial — but the degree of government.
That absence of government is what we watch these days, from Libya to Iraq to Syria.