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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
A week on: How is the world coping?
Seven days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, thousands of families are still searching for news of those missing. Photographs of them line the walls of buildings in New York and Washington.
This week has been a time of immense soul-searching and sadness as images of the attacks and the families trying to cope with their grief are shown across the world.
Many people, even those many miles from America, have sought counselling as they try to cope with the emotions raised by the tragedy.
What has these past seven days been like for you? What will the long-term effects be? How are you coping with the aftermath of September 11 2001?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I'm still in shock at the atrocities these evil people caused. There are over 6000 people still unaccounted for. We have towns here with less citizens then that. The lives of the American people have changed forever. September 11, 2001 will be a day none of us will ever forget. Pray for the injured, the families who lost loved ones, the rescue workers who won't give up the hope of finding just one person alive. Pray for the people of the US because we need your prayers right now more then ever.
It's like if Athens and the Parthenon was hit by terrorists. Greeks talk about the incredible act as if it happened in their yard. Silent and shocked by the act.
Roxanne, Seattle, USA
Is it right that the media should continue to use the terms 'Islamic militants' and 'Muslim extremists' to describe the actions of callous individuals who are working to their own agenda? What has religion got to do with the actions of last week?
Suicide is a sin in Islam. Violence is a sin in Islam. Murder is a sin in Islam. Why not remove the word Islamic before each of these inciteful words? Islam is a faith very similar to Judaism and Christianity. The Koran is full of verses describing how one should always respect others, to live in peace with others, to build communities, to help the needy, to respect your parents and your children, and to respect nature. Isn't there a clear distinction between the actions of about 100 or 200 mad individuals to those of approximately two billion followers of this faith?
The repercussions of this reporting are now becoming evident with the number of physical and verbal attacks against innocent Muslims. All religions are based on peace and belief in God. God is described in all religions as the creator of human life, nature and beauty. Islam means 'submission to God', ie submission to creation not to destruction. Within the West and amongst the Muslim community there is a clear lack of understanding of what is in the Koran.
For the sake of our safety, and for the sake of a peaceful religion please use the media to create harmony and peace between all.
Don't get me wrong and think that we are moving past this, we are not, we are still in the middle of it, but I honestly believe that it does not do any of us any good to constantly dwell on what happened, that is what these animals would want. I would ask that if the people here in NYC can strive for normality, and to be positive in the face of this enormous adversity, then I would implore people around the world to be of the same mindset. Personally, 4 of my co-workers lost siblings, and I feel so bad for them being that their bodies may never be found and that there may be no closure.
I have to believe that if the devil were to appear on earth, he would have the face the whoever masterminded this atrocity, be it Osama Bin Laden or someone else. In total there are around 6000 broken families as a result of this, and if I live to be a 1000 I will not understand what it has achieved.
Still appalled and disbelieving that anyone could do such a thing. There have been many programmes and articles devoted to just how this hatred of the West has come about. To some extent, these programmes have made me see things in a different light. For example, it is true that the West's intervention in the Gulf was more to do with protecting our self-interests than a sense of morality.
The poorer countries of the world desperately need the West's development aid and technology to fight crippling diseases and famine. I think we need to review how this aid is given, and how we interact with the third world in general.
I feel depressed by what has happened. The world is a sadder and more cynical place now. It will get easier with time, but the realisation of our vulnerability will never disappear.
Gregory Alan Gross, San Diego, USA
On the radio this past week, a woman said it was time for us to behave like "mothers protecting our children". The time for a war against those who would kill so indiscriminately has arrived. The children of the future have nothing good to look forward to if we don't solve this now. US policy has not always been fair or just, but nothing excuses this horrific attack. We must be prepared to act in a manner that will be neither quick nor kind.
There are a great many people in the US who do NOT want the President to meet violence with violence. I have already written a letter to the White House and signed up to be a part of the protests here. I found that, for me, that small action made me feel less helpless and more a part of the solution.
Michael Prins, Utrecht, Netherlands
So what next, attack more people, cause more deaths, find one man and then things will be fine? I don't think so! We attack the Afghan people who unfortunately have this man in their country, and let others off: UAE and Saudi - both of whom are known to give finance to his cause, but they are useful countries, they have oil and they are powerful. So I ask the world not to start attacking these poor, poor people who have been through 12 years of war and starvation. Instead lets help them, lets bring them into the talks, support the people - and give peace a chance.
We do know that the US is hated by many people around the world, and in particular in Arabic countries. Therefore we need to review American policies in this region. Unfortunately Americans tend to be very ignorant of the rest of the world and I do not expect much wisdom to come from US politicians or the press.
Terrorists will continue to have strong support with Arab masses as long as the US supports corrupt and brutal regimes, against the needs and the wishes of the population. Maybe it is time to discuss whether the West is really on the right side in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. It seems that we follow narrow economic interests ("cheap petrol for my SUV"), instead of promoting justice and social development. I am also afraid that George W. Bush and his advisers are lacking the intellectual depth to understand this.
To Mary Murphy
From all Americans, thank you. When I saw the British play the Star Spangled Banner during the changing of the guards, I wept and my heart was glad to know we are not alone. Is not the world a strange place? To think that a song composed by an American held hostage on board a British ship is now played by our closest friends--and you are our closest friends. Please pray for us and yourselves and the world, and please let not our fear cause us to shrink from our responsibilities. WWIII is here. It will not be fought in the same way, but it must be fought. Certainly their actions prove the serious intent, and I fear that more such attacks are currently in the works. I cannot sleep.
There is no doubt that the tragedies in America are on a horrific scale, and my sympathies go out to all the victims and families, but I object to the incessant media coverage that has now reached saturation point. I do not recall this amount of coverage for other such terrible events, such as the genocide in Rwanda. Is this a case that in the media's eyes, an American life is worth more than an African life? Or an Asian life?
The West, and in particular America, has been forcing their opinions and judgements upon the rest of the world for the past fifty years and though this does not excuse the horrific events of seven days ago, it does go some way towards explaining them. I hope the long-term result of this catastrophe will be the re-addressing by the Western powers of exactly why they are perceived with such animosity throughout the Middle East. The average Afghan lives for just 45 years and earns £2.50 a month. They live under oppression and servitude. How can America, or anybody else, see indiscriminate bombings of a Third World Country as a viable and reasonable solution to this problem? Terrorism must be dealt will: but the world will have to find another way.
How can we take a thousand steps backwards and think that violence will fight violence? That peace will not come unless there is war first? With all of our abilities to save lives why is the US administration's only answer WAR? I for one do not believe that decision should be the US's only, for this is to be a world war and affect the entire planet. God please have mercy on us ..all of us on this earth!
Mazhar, London, UK
Living and working in Manhattan has been difficult, emotional and stressful. I am, however dismayed at the reaction of one of my co-workers who sent an email around my office urging us to boycott Arab businesses here in America since they could be supplying money to terrorist causes. What a disgusting, racist generalisation. I told him that if he were to do that, he should also boycott Irish businesses, which is just as deplorable and stupidly prejudiced. People obviously feel the need to react without thinking here.
Shock and disbelief as the tragic events unfolded. Shock and disbelief as revenge in the form of bombing Afghanistan, a country that is barely distinguishable from a pile of rubble, became a serious option. Shock and disbelief as people totally unconnected with these terrorist acts are beaten up, just because of their race and religion.
As an American citizen I was devastated by what has happened. But at the same time I refuse the idea of bombing innocent civilians who are struggling to find food to stay alive. Also I am against the idea of using this sad event to destroy Afghanistan because of their style of life or their religious beliefs. I think the US is obligated to submit evidence to Taleban against Osama Bin Laden and demand them to hand him over before bombing a poor country like Afghanistan. Another solution is to negotiate with the Taleban to hand him over to a third country court or United Nations court for a trial. US government lawyers should be able to submit the evidence against him in a fair trial.
Dani Holtby, Dallas, Tx USA
Jennifer Flaherty, Chicago, USA
As an American citizen I must say that we were very lax in the security measures at our airports. The people hired to do the security checks are only paid minimum wage and there's a high turnover in personnel. Sometimes their equipment wasn't working so they would just wave people through.
After our so-called "cold war" with the Soviets ended we became complacent about being attacked. We perceived the threat of terrorism to be a problem for Europe and the Middle East only. Last Tuesday September 11 was our wake-up call that we are not invincible and we were as we say over here "like sitting ducks".
I have had a rush of emotions the past week. The mental place I am at now tells me it is important that we have all thought-out opinions/understanding as to what is happening. We must move cautiously and listen to those who think differently than us so we may keep ourselves in check. Talk with your friends about this as much as possible. I now understand why parents and grandparents were the way they were. I know what it is to feel completely united to a people and a cause. Unfortunately, I feel the terrorists have also come to this same thinking at a different time and a much different way. Are we underestimating them, or are they underestimating us?
The irony is that what happened last Tuesday is likely to cause even more xenophobia against asylum seekers. The people fleeing countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, seeking asylum in the Western world are often intelligent, educated people fleeing for their lives under oppressive regimes who do not wish people to have freedom of expression. The hate these regimes show against the West is the hate of that freedom. They use the veil of a holy war to brainwash people into thinking they will become martyrs for the cause.
Simon Harris, Cardiff UK
I lived in New York from 1998-99, and am currently in NYC on what started out as a business trip, but has ended up as a horrible nightmare. I am lucky that neither I nor my friends and family were hurt, and I am hoping to come home to London on Saturday. In all of the horror of the past week, the only thing that has made sense and given me hope is the grace and positivity of New Yorkers in the face of it all. Strange as it sounds, I will be sad to leave.
I do not pretend to think that we in the West have it right, on the contrary I am sure we do not. However, to be hated so much by so many fanatics is terrifying for the future of the human race. This colossal incident has to be very carefully studied and everyone in the world must learn something from this. No rash response should be taken; only lessons learnt and a larger understanding of different beliefs can have any hope for the future of mankind and the planet.
From the 11 Sep 01 on, the lives of everyone in the world will never be the same, of that I have no doubt. I just pray that one day some good will come of all this, the greatest warning we have ever had of the fragility of world peace and understanding.
Let us face the fact that some people are very angry at the West - and the US in particular - to commit such an insanity, which means there are fences to be mended so that there will not be a repetition. A cowboy style 'dead or alive' approach will not solve problems - it will rather generate more, with more collateral damage of innocent people.
Heather Stone, Indiana, USA
The two walls still standing at WTC remind me of two hands praying. Prayer is what the whole world needs now.
Formerly from the NY City area, but a long-term overseas resident, last Tuesday-Wednesday was one of the worst of my life. I felt emotionally ill for 24+ hours.
Trying to be optimistic, but having doubts about the apparent upcoming clash between 2 great cultures which are employing their self-righteous excesses most negatively.
We need another Mahatma Ghandi to teach tolerance to religious fundamentalists, (Islamic, in this case), while simultaneously reminding the USA and western capitalists "to live simply so others may simply live." Whatever we do as individuals and societies DOES have an effect on others.
Daniel Ford, London, UK
I am saddened as I am hearing so frequently about these backlash attacks. I am lucky, I was born in this wonderful country. My grandparents came here from Italy to have a better life. They worked hard, abided by our laws,
and served our country, just as many of our Arab-American friends have. That is what makes us brothers and sisters. We are Americans. How dare we, as a society of free people, judge an entire group on the actions of unstable radicals?
Islam is a beautiful faith and does not condone murder in any way. It is such a shame that ignorance is still running rampant in our society, especially after this tragedy. It is time for all of us to come together.
All of us!
John Ryan, Wiesbaden, Germany
Working in a bank has been very sad and very unnerving. The situation will get worse before it gets any better. Let's hope that in a few weeks time, we are not targeted in the UK. I guess life is cheap to these people and there will be more causalities. May God help us all.
We are trying to act normal, trying to remember yet returning to our normal activities. We have jobs, bills to pay, we have work . . . but then you catch the eye of a stranger or the look of a co-worker and it is there. That knowing look. You find yourself humming the national anthem and the tears flow. I am still in shock, I watch my son playing with his friends and long for their innocence. So many levels has this touched my soul I do not know how I will recover, I know simply that I must. How do you move forward when you are not certain of the world's next move? How do you go on from this?
In a response to Joseph from Gibraltar. How can you possibly directly blame the West for this, when billions of dollars from our own countries are used every year to help so many of these countries. When help is called upon it is the Western governments that answer. We are not dealing with democratic societies - you only have to look at the persecution of women by the Taliban to see that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but they should know the full facts beforehand. Maybe if you were to help the clean up process in New York you wouldn't be so quick to condemn.
Ron Cartmale, Stoke on Trent, UK
I'm enlisting - that's how I'm coping.
I am sick of hearing from all these liberals who seem to hate their own country so much. I am sickened by the terrorist outrage in New York and I want revenge.
Yes we do have to ask why all these countries are so poor. Is it because they have religions which prevent their citizens from achieving the maximum for their societies? Do they lose all their best people to the West (asylum seekers economic immigrants etc?)? The Third World should learn from their richer neighbours and stop telling us to live like backward peasants in a mediaeval society. I do not share their values and do not want to have them imposed upon me and my family.
As a suffering Gulf War veteran I choose these words carefully. I trained like many others in the military believing that World War III would be a conventional war against Warsaw Pact forces. That idea is no longer a reality. The threat that exists today is terrorism. Individual countries have fought their separate wars against nationalistic terrorists, usually fighting for their perceived homelands. These terrorist groups have always found refuge and training in third party countries sympathetic to their cause.
What has changed is the scale of operations and the willingness to kill abroad.
I know what war is like and the sacrifices people must endure but I believe Great Britain should and will join with the USA to fight a war with those countries who will help terrorists. Make no mistake, this will be a World War. The roots of evil are not isolated to one country. People should stop worrying about innocent people dying because they have already started dying.
Cathryn Michael, South African in UK
I don't understand the response of some of the people of the UK when they say "We shouldn't get involved!" If we are to make this world a safe place to raise all of our children, everybody must be involved!! Our parents and grandparents sacrificed, fought and died to make this world a better and safer place for us. We can do no less for our own children, whatever their nationality.
I live not far from the Pentagon on an Army base. We are a military family and although we don't know anyone personally that died, we have friends that know people that were killed. One friend had just stepped out of her office when the plane hit. She is the only survivor from her office. I do not wish to get into the politics of why this happened and who's fault it is, I just wanted to say thank you. The UK is America's best friend in the world and sometimes we take our best friends for granted. I just wanted to tell you just how much we do appreciate you. Thank you.
To react with violence is only adding fuel to the fire and reducing our own sense of humanity to that of the psychopaths who conceived, funded and carried out this crime.
Instead, we should turn our attention to those more moderate and work with them to achieve a political and economic resolution to problems which, in the case of our selective blindness in respect of the plight of the Palestinian people, is of our own making.
As an American citizen, I was completely shocked and devastated over last Tuesday's events. Today, I am fearful of what action may be taken as a result of those events. The terrorist attacks were planned by a small group - how can there be planned retaliation against a nation? How can a country be attacked for the actions of a small group within that country?
Lee Hadley, London, UK
Terrorism is the symptom of underlying resentment towards the rich West, and the imposition on others of the belief that Western ways are the best. Just because we do not understand other cultures and religions does not make them wrong. Neither should we assume that citizens of such countries live in fear under oppressive governments. We are now witnessing just how devout such citizens are to the religions which their governments apply in their administrations. Tolerance and understanding is what we need, not do as we do or else!
I'll never take anything for granted again, this makes me realise how precious life is. And it's not over yet, who knows how many more times we will wake?
Darren, Basingstoke, England, UK
If the West stopped building a kind of wall to protect its living standard maybe such things will happen less frequently.
When the terror of what was happening last week started to sink in, all I wanted to do was to gather my friends and family, make sure they were ok, and tell them I loved them. God help those who have reached out for their loved ones and found they are not, and will never be there again.
The world will never be the same again. I wonder if our children will ever know the freedom we have always taken for granted.
Patrick Sheehan, USA
Kurt Weideling, Oxford, UK
100 miles from NYC. My flight was cancelled on 9/11. I am now trying to be brave as I reschedule my airline ticket for domestic flight.
Yesterday I wished it could be "last Monday" again. How naive I was then... If anybody would have told me that somebody would plan to and actually kill maybe 6000 people by means of using airplanes and their passengers as bombs, I would never believed him. Now, in the world after the 11th September 2001, we have to expect anything.
Paul, London, UK
Until people of all races realise that there is no God who tells them to kill, we shall be at each other for many years to come. Look at those poor lads who perished during the Iran/Iraq war because some Ayatollah said they would get a passport to heaven. Sorry to say but he is God to the good and the evil so do not waste your time thinking you will get to heaven faster - wherever that is.
7 days that shook the world ... September 11 2001 was my 48th birthday. Will we see a 49th - when does this insanity end?
Seven days after this tragedy, only 1% of the rubble removed, 200 bodies recovered.
Why doesn't the US Administration accept assistance from its allies in the search and rescue operations, especially if they have high expertise in these situations.
These countries are: Israel, U.K., France
I am still absolutely devastated by the attacks and for the first time in my life I actually fear for the future of the world. We must ask ourselves why do these people hate the West so much that they are prepared to commit such horrendous actions. Only by understanding this will we achieve a real peace in the world today.
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