Twelve years after the fact, America is still mourning the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. More than 3,000 people were killed in an event that shook the nation, an unfathomable evil of which we as a country could not make sense.
Considering America is the world’s most powerful nation, most of its citizens’ initial reaction was simple: go after the people that did this to us. Though arguably understandable, this reaction helped push forward the Iraq War in which even more innocent people were killed.
With the anniversary of Sept. 11 still fresh in our minds, I am somewhat confused by how much less the outrage is when it comes to discussing equally as tragic events, such as the Syrian revolution.
The fact that CNN ran Miley Cyrus’ twerking performance as headline news on its website in lieu of John Kerry’s position on how the United States should act in regards to the Syrian civil war should indicate how little 9/11 taught us as Americans.
Many people, myself included, felt a horrible sense of vulnerability after we were attacked. No one seemed to know where these attacks came from or whether or not we’d be hit again. This rage we felt when we realized that some fringe group had the audacity to make us feel this way literally sent us spiraling onto a warpath.
And yet interestingly enough, when it comes to dropping drones in Afghanistan, killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and most, recently, talking military tactics in Syria, the United States seems to be more than willing to exercise its military force into another country.
I cannot stress enough how horrific 9/11 was. Any act that takes the life of even a single innocent person should be seen as a gross violation of humanity.
However, when we ask ourselves why the rest of the world sees America as a brute of a nation, one that seems more gung-ho about war than North Korea, we should not be surprised by the answer.
For millions of Iraqis, Afghans and now possibly Syrians, America has been the perpetrators of their own 9/11 for years.
However, instead of it being marked as one day a year that offers solidarity to its victims, 9/11 in these countries is a 24/7 kind of deal, one that continues to terrorize the lives of those living in regions where politics seems to take precedent over basic human rights.
People might consider me unpatriotic for voicing these views, but it is quite the opposite. I am a proud American, one who loves her country enough to criticize the policies that take away from its underlying foundation of American principles.
If we pride ourselves on being a nation that was founded on the backs of a people who fled the persecution of their own oppressive government, how can we then turn around and behave in the same way toward another country?
Being patriotic should extend to why we are so proud of our country in the first place.
Sumaya Attia is majoring in Mass Communication and Journalism