11 September 2001: War, Terror and Judgement

By Bulent Gokay; R. B.J.Walker | Go to book overview

2

Invisible Cities1
PATRICK THORNBERRY
INTRODUCTION
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 2001 as the Year of Dialogue among Civilisations. 2 In the wake of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings, the attack on America, and the attack on the cities, we have been treated to a jumble of discourses, 'dialogue' of a sort. Media favourites have included:
• War
• Just War
• Jihad
• Crusade
• Clash of Civilisations
• Western superiority and the inferiority of others
• Terrorism
• Islamic terrorism
• Triumphant Liberalism
• Intolerant Liberalism
• The defence of democracy
• Manichean discourses of good and evil

Some of these discourses were dropped, notably President Bush's deployment of 'Crusade', 3 a term capable of evoking the demons of history in the Middle East. 'Just war' and 'Jihad' appear to have endured, enjoying a complementary if not symbiotic relationship. 4 Statesmen have taken pains to avoid the hypothesis of wars of religion 5 and 'the clash of civilisations', 6 and even if the Prime Minister of Italy expressed confidence in the superiority of the West, he issued a (partial?) retraction soon afterwards. Triumphalism is to be avoided but remains a temptation for Western leaders and public. Legal analyses emerged rapidly in the present crisis in the face of the burgeoning discourse of 'security', 7 and the discourse of international law and human rights gained some ground. The paper briefly examines key

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