Morning View: Attitudes towards Terrorism Have Changed Forever

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), September 19, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Morning View: Attitudes towards Terrorism Have Changed Forever


PEOPLE everywhere are wondering how they will be personally affected by the audacious and calamitous terrorist assault on the United States of America.

They are being told repeatedly that the world changed forever in the hour when hijacked aeroplanes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Most obviously, America and the United Kingdom have been placed on a war footing, and there is a real danger of an escalation towards a Holy War which could encompass half the planet. The implications would be enormous. If the world did not change last Tuesday, it most certainly will should the terrorist attacks precipitate an international conflict with boundaries defined not by borders and territory, but by religion.

Nor is it a war which will be fought solely by conventional means, since a number of terrorist groups have access to chemical and biological weapons, capable of causing indiscriminate loss of life on a far greater scale than the carnage witnessed in America last week.

Less frightening, but of great concern none-the-less, is the growing threat to the world's economy, which was already in trouble.

In smaller ways, heightened security will affect us all, particularly those who travel by air, and relationships between east and west are under an enormous strain, with many people who arrived in the UK from Muslim countries feeling decidedly uneasy - just as Britons and Americans living in the Middle East must be concerned about their personal safety should events take a sudden turn for the worse.

The worst-case scenarios will certainly change the world forever.

The best hope is that America can respond to its crisis in a manner befitting its status as the leader of the free and democratic world: that it acts quickly and decisively, satisfying honour while dealing specifically and strategically with the problem.

The stakes for all of humanity are enormous. For us, it is impossible to consider terrorism on any scale, anywhere in the world, without contemplating how it has affected our own lives.

The people of this small corner of the world have suffered grievously from its hideous consequences, yet have shown great vision and, at times, immense courage in trying to create a new environment in which terror becomes a thing of the past.

The loss of more than 3,500 people to terrorism came not as the result of a single dramatic event, but over a period of more than 30 years .

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