Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Best Tribute to 9/11 Dead Is to Keep Calm and Carry On

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Best Tribute to 9/11 Dead Is to Keep Calm and Carry On

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Jenkins

[bar] ONDON remembered Britain's 9/11 deaths at the weekend with due dignity. That was as it should be. These are moments when the public city collects itself to console private grief. It also happens when London remembers past wars. It will happen when the Tube bombs of 2005 are likewise memorialised.

But we need to be careful to remember what we are remembering, and perhaps what we should not remember.

The 9/11 memorials in both London and New York were massive. Apart from the parades and ceremonies, there have been television specials, newspaper supplements, photographic exhibitions, essays and concerts. Variously, 9/11 was said to have been "a declaration of war", "a day that never ended", a "moment that changed the world". Tony Blair's claim that the attack "rewrote the rules of the game" was repeated endlessly in the cliche that "nothing will be the same again".

While for the bereaved these words are understandably true, for the recalled event as such they could hardly be in greater contrast to the brave plea of New York's then mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, within hours of the 9/11 attack. He told his citizens to "continue with your normal lives", go to the park, see a show, buy a pizza, show respect for Muslims. Above all, deny the terrorist what he most wants, proof that he has shattered America's way of life and induced it to declare war on Islam.

Sometimes we might therefore stop and ask what, in any circumstance, the enemy most wants us to do. That especially applies to terrorism, whose potency lies not in the act itself but in the victim's reaction to it. The terror lies in the response. Osama bin Laden's objective was to elevate the craft of terror into a spectacular criminal act and then rely on America so to over-react as to turn his deed into a war between nations, religions and civilisations.

He did not initially succeed. It is worth recalling that in the aftermath of 9/11 virtually the entire Muslim world expressed shock and sympathy for America. The PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, publicly gave blood for the people of New York.

That was before George Bush and Tony Blair victimised Bin Laden in Muslim eyes and promoted al Qaeda's cause by doing just what he wanted -- and declared war on him. The outcome was the invasion and occupation of two states, thousands more Western deaths and tens of thousands of Muslim ones, and billions of dollars taxed from the pockets of the infidel. The West unquestionably feels less safe now than it did before 9/11.

Were he alive today, Osama bin Laden would have delighted at the 9/11 memorials.

What to New Yorkers may have been a commemoration, to al Qaeda must have seemed a magnification and celebration of all their deeds. New York at the weekend was reported to be in "total lockdown", for fear of a terrorist attack, while VIPs were forced to stand behind bullet-proof screens lest an undiscovered sniper took a shot at them. …

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