Sep 11, 2019

Remembering September 11 After 18 Years

It is 18 years after the September 11 attacks happened. I was in Dubai working for a used car company as an accountant. It was getting dark and we were about to close the gates to the garage. I walked inside the office, as usual, looking around what needs to be done at the last minute. The TV was on and it was on Al Jazeera Arabic channel. Back then, that was the only widely watched channel in the entire Arab world. I saw a plane hit the facade of big tower and about 15 minutes later another plane hit the facade of another tower. I thought it was part of a movie. The clip was shown over and over and suddenly I saw from the upper part of the building smoke rises and later both towers collapse.

I switched channels to check what is going on. Up to this point I was befuddled. The Arabic channels and their commentators were speculating Japan has attacked the United States to take a revenge of 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some commentators were pointing fingers at Jews, saying Jews have attacked the United States. I then searched other channels and finally I found BBC. Back then, my English was not that good but I could get a sense of what was in the news. What eventually I got was that the United States is attacked but up that point, it wasn't clear who did it. I thought it is not a big deal and I went to bed.

The next day when I got up. It wasn't a normal day. The local Arabs and the workers gathered in the circle, just outside of our garage. They were happy and their utterances were "Subhanallah" (glory be to Allah) and Allahu Akbar (God is great).
It was rumored that some Muslim freedom fighters crashed the planes to the twin towers. Two days later, I heard from the news that al-Qaeda whose base is in Afghanistan is behind the attacks. Once again, everyone was happy because of the attacks. Arabs and other Muslims were celebrating and rejoicing over the death of nearly three thousand humans in the United States. To them all those who died in the attacks were infidels, but the perpetrators were called martyrs.

Among the cheers of jubilance, you could hear some Afghan voices too, however, they were not happy over the death of three thousand people, their elation was at regaining hope for survival, they were hoping that these attacks would trigger the United States to strike and destroy the Taliban and free the country. They were individuals who escaped the Taliban's systematic massacre of the Hazaras in Mazar-e Sharif and Bamiyan. They were the Hazaras who were hoping for their country to be liberated.

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