9/11 and the Peace it Brought

I remember 9/11. My mom called me from another country and told me to turn on the TV. Turn on the TV? She didn’t have the same stations I did, so I was confused. What station, I asked? Any. Doesn’t matter, she replied.

The image appeared on the screen just in time to see the first tower collapse. Then the other. I saw them coming down more often than I care to remember. Endless replays of the collapse of western civilisation. I didn’t understand why, but I did understand that the world would never be the same again.

Afghanistan was attacked shortly afterwards. Nobody was surprised, nobody saw anything wrong with it. What happened next surprised everyone.

The president called for a worldwide summit on peace. Every nation on earth was invited. Religious and humanitarian organisations were represented. As thousands of delegates arrived in New York in the summer of 2003, we didn’t expect much. We’d seen too many peace talks go wrong. There was the Israel/Palestine thing, the Al-Queda thing. Clashes of civilisations and religions. Surely, this would fail like any previous attempts at world peace. But it didn’t.

It succeeded because we had seen the horrors of war and hatred.

A massive plan of redistributing wealth, basic healthcare worldwide and clean water was laid out. It was a huge undertaking, but the effects are clear. With world hunger almost eradicated, we have managed to remove the reasons for people to radicalise. The world isn’t perfect, there are still clashes here and there, but there are no wars between nations. No civil wars.

The road to global prosperity is long and winding, but we are on the right path. Thanks to politicians that chose peace in the early weeks of 2003. Just imagine what the world would be like if 9/11 had been used to justify endless wars, like some conspiracy theorists were predicting at the time.

The text above is wishful thinking after the fact. Naive, some may say. But if we stop dreaming of peace, we’ll never have it. Let’s hope that the ultimate legacy of 9/11 will indeed be peace and understanding, not endless wars.

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