Posts Tagged ‘2001’

9/11: A 10th Anniversary Interview – Pt 03/11

September 3, 2011



September 11th, 2001.

The events of that day affected the daily lives of not just those in the US but also of countless people all over the world, in both subtle & not so subtle ways.

10 years later, the repercussions are still being felt but in all this time no voice has been given to the average moderate Muslim.

What follows is a transcript from an interview with a friend of mine, who has a Muslim background, on this broad topic of 9/11.

It was held on Saturday, June 11th, 2011.

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Question #03:

Shortly after 9/11, a backlash against Muslims & those having a Middle-Eastern or South Asian appearance began in the form of hate crimes like verbal abuse, threats & vandalism.

In the days, weeks, months & years following the events of 9/11 what have you yourself encountered, either positive or negative, in the behaviour of people towards you ?

Was there for example a sudden change in the way people talked to you or treated you despite your of because of your background ?



Friend: Well, I’m not really sure about their motivation to behave differently. But yeah, you did notice a certain change in behaviour because at a certain point I had to do an internship as part of the study.

My middle name is Muhammad, so that’s what I proudly put on my resume.

X-Mer: You went “full disclosure” ?

Friend: Yeah, sure. What the heck, I am who I am.

There were a few… well, maybe it was all in my head, you never can tell for sure… but there were a few incidents where I thought: “well, maybe my name is working against me actually”.

So, it was very remarkable to see that when I decided to just put an “M”, suddenly I got a lot more offers. So, that kinda felt… I don’t know, I don’t think I would have had a problem before [9/11]. Sure there’ll always be racists, so… can’t stop that but I think…

X-Mer: …it was remarkable ?

Friend: It was quite remarkable, I actually didn’t want to remove my name but I talked to my father & he said: “Well, you know sometimes we have to make compromises & it’s still your future & you can’t change everybody’s mind… thoughts“.

X-Mer: But still, I mean you said you were proud but if you look back how does it make you feel that apparently leaving out part of who you are, even though it’s your middle name, it’s apparently “better” ?

Friend: I think it’s… first impressions are very important I guess but it’s also the mindset of some people. Some people like to… I don’t know if it’s laziness or “experience” but they like to find stuff in your resume that isn’t really there.

X-Mer: They read between the lines ?

Friend: Even though there’s nothing there to read between the lines. I was kind of disappointed because… it’s happening “over there” so, even though the impact was worldwide, you’d stil like to think that… I mean, I tried to understand it even though it comes across as very stupid.

X-Mer: Right.

I think, & I may be mistaken so correct me if I am, you mentioned something several years ago in passing, something like… that people, I guess in your class or maybe friends, came up to you & started asking you questions about 9/11, terrorists or Islam ?

Friend: Oh, yeah yeah. That was something that was also, yeah… well, before they were like “oh, he’s a Muslim but he’s a good guy” or, not even that you know…

X-Mer: “He’s just a guy” ?

Friend: “He’s just a good guy” & now suddenly I’m “a Muslim guy” & that’s ok, that’s who I am. Nothing wrong with that.

But then on television you have these “specialists” & “knowledgeable” people that bring up all these theories & stories about Islam & some of these aren’t so nice.

So, then you have people who you think are… who didn’t make a big deal of you being Muslim then they suddenly say: “oh, I heard this & this about Muslims. Is that true, do you do that ?”. Like we all meet up & decide whose head we’re gonna chop off next time or something like that.

These were also people that came to my house or they knew what was going on, so…

X-Mer: So, it wasn’t like you were unknown to them ?

Friend: Well, some of them.

X-Mer: Some knew you.

Friend: Yeah, so I think: “you should know better. You know me, you were present when we prayed”. Was there anything hostile about it ? I don’t think so.

X-Mer: For the people reading this, is your house filled with anti-Western propaganda or are there bombs lying everywhere ?

Friend: No, no.

X-Mer: How did these visitors get these ideas ?

Friend: Because of what they saw on television. They said: “all Muslims are like this & like that & they have traditions like this” & you know some part of it is true… but you know, it’s not…

I was never taught to hate the Western man or the Western woman.

X-Mer: So, this was some sort of a generalisation on their part ?

Friend: Yeah, sure. It’s more like they were thinking of history, about the past when people came up to you with a sword & said: “you’ll be a Muslim or I’ll chop your head off” kinda like that idea.

But it’s not like we had the crusades or something, so there’s nothing… but I believe the periods were very close together, so you don’t see me saying: “well, you did that so many thousands of years ago, so you probably still do that, don’t you ?”.

X-Mer: Sins of our forefathers.

Friend: Yeah, true. The sad part is that people don’t seem to learn from those events. They’re just like: “all in the past”.

You used to have the Russians & they were “evil”…

X-Mer: The commies ?

Friend: The commies & at the time you believed it. You know, it’s all propaganda you know. & knowing that, I mean whenever a group of people is attacked for whatever reason could be the Jews, Muslims or the commies, there always seems to be, in any particular timeperiod, a group of people to blame.

& I think a lot of it’s to shift the attention away from things. Like men & women on the job market, they get a fair chance but when it comes to the salary there’s still quite a difference. & I think it’s very convenient to say: “well, look at those Muslims, how they treat their women”…

X-Mer: [LOL]

Friend: …so, if you put all the attention on how Muslims treat their women…

X-Mer: …the West doesn’t look so bad in comparison ?

Friend: Yeah, it doesn’t look that bad, so why complain about pay when you’re not a Muslim wife & have it “so much better” ?

X-Mer: Going back to how leaving out your middle name from your resume helped in getting more internship offers & people who knew you & of your situation still came up to you with those questions, looking back would you say it was Islamophobia ?

Friend: I think it was. & it’s not so bad now because it’s been so many years, so it’s not as bad, to me at least, as it was before but it still lingers on a bit.

There’s always going to be a group that’s going to be targeted & that’s a shame because the victims are mostly young people who are at a certain age when they’re still developing [into adulthood] & when they’re experiencing things like that, it’s going to… well, it grows a lot of hatred & resentment, you know ?



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That’s it for part 3 but please check back tomorrow for part 4 of the interview, where I ask my friend about the rising scrutiny of Islam after 9/11.


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9/11: A 10th Anniversary Interview – Pt 01/11

September 1, 2011



September 11th, 2001.

The events of that day affected the daily lives of not just those in the US but also of countless people all over the world, in both subtle & not so subtle ways.

10 years later, the repercussions are still being felt but in all this time no voice has been given to the average moderate Muslim.

What follows is a transcript from an interview with a friend of mine, who has a Muslim background, on this broad topic of 9/11.

It was held on Saturday, June 11th, 2011.

—————————————————————



X-Mer: Just to make it clear for the people reading this, did you or did you not get to see any of the questions that I’m about to ask you ?

Friend: No, I’m completely clueless about the questions.

X-Mer: Ok, so it’s all new & there’s been no rehearsal or anything.

How are you feeling now ? Nervous or anything ?

Friend: Well, it’s not so much nervous as I’m very anxious to know what the questions are [LOL].

X-Mer: Ohhh, of course. Well, there’s 11 questions & I’ll try to get to them ASAP.

Friend: Sure, take your time.

X-Mer: I’d like to start the actual interview by first saying “thank you” for being here today.



Question #01:

When disaster strikes, people tend to remember where they were or what they were doing just before they heard the bad news.

Looking back, could you tell us what was going on in your life back in 2001 around the events of 9/11 ? What you were actually doing & how you found out ?



Friend: Where do you want me to start ? With what I was doing before or the actual moment ?

X-Mer: Where you were at the time in your life. Were you working ?

Friend: I was studying at the time & think it was the 1st year of my latest study.

It was an Information Technology study, it was very broad.

X-Mer: How was that going ? You were just beginning ?

Friend: Just beginning, I started in September. & I was in the university cafeteria actually with a lot of people & then suddenly they announced it over the PA system, so that’s how I found out.

X-Mer: With a lot of people at the same time.

Friend: Yeah, but that’s the funny part because I didn’t really know those people. So, there wasn’t any… someone that I could talk about it right away.

X-Mer: You couldn’t turn to anyone like a familiar face or someone you had a deeper bond with ?

Friend: Yeah, strangers. & also I don’t think there was anyone from my class at the cafeteria because it was a free period, so I happened to be there with a lot of other people.

X-Mer: Do you have an idea when this was announced over the PA system, how long it had been going on or what the extent of the situation was at that point ?

Friend: No, absolutely no idea.

X-Mer: What happened afterwards ? Did people all suddenly leave to go home or did the day go on there ?

Friend: The day went on & as it went on you heard more & people went on-line because we had a classroom full of computers.

So, that’s when they looked up videos & they saw images & footage.

X-Mer: What did you do regarding this… strange & almost… both horrific & amazing type of scenario playing out elsewhere ?

Friend: I’m not really sure what I did the exact day. I do remember being glad to finally get home & actually be with people I could talk about it.

& I felt very angry at a certain point because I had… footage on TV & it wasn’t about the planes crashing into the buildings, it was little children cheering on the street.

I believe they were Turkish or Moroccan children & I just thought it was a very stupid… I don’t know, it felt very inappropriate to do so. They… what frightened me a bit was that they were genuine in their behaviour, so…

X-Mer: So, these were little children who were demonstrating their… happiness about what had happened, that’s what the news was showing ?

Friend: Yeah, that’s what stuck with me from that day actually & of course the reaction at home. A feeling of disbelief, it was unreal, very unreal.

X-Mer: Yeah, that’s the reaction a lot of people had.

Friend: Yeah, sure. It was quite an event.

X-Mer: It was like something out of a movie… with many casualties.

Friend: Yeah, sure. Maybe that’s a good thing to mention because that’s how it felt, like it wasn’t real, it was a movie. Deep down you knew it was going to be different from that point on.

X-Mer: Right.

How, familiar were you with the WTC, the towers ? They’d been featured on things like TV & movies but did they register somehow in your conciousness ?

Friend: What was funny because a few weeks or months before you had a Spider-Man [movie] teaser I believe. That’s when the helicopter got caught between the towers & that was quite a powerful image.

X-Mer: Right & it zoomed out.

Friend: Yeah, so that was quite a powerful image & I remember, I believe he had the towers reflected in his eyes in 1 of the movie posters.

So, that’s… it was a coincidence of course but… that’s probably… I’d heard about the towers before but that was the most prominent image in my mind at the time.

X-Mer: Now, for the official 2nd question…

Friend: Was this the 1st question ? Because I feel I missed something… or not ?

X-Mer: No, no ?

Friend: Before, at the moment itself & after [9/11] ?

X-Mer: What do you mean “after” ?

Friend: Well, maybe it’s interesting to mention but stuck in my mind in the days after is that you had students that were… it was an IT study, so video editing was also part of it.

& what struck me as… I don’t know, it was a bit weird to see people already “playing” with the images of the plane going through the tower. I don’t know if it was just a reaction but they were being quite lighthearted about it.

X-Mer: That… could be seen as inappropriate because of all those deaths.

Friend: Yeah sure & it wasn’t just… unlike the happy children on the street who were of a certain group or certain people but this was like you had an Iranian, a Dutch guy, you had a…

X-Mer: The students you mean ?

Friend: Yeah, they were all mixed & they were older of course than the children on TV… I don’t know, maybe it was their way of dealing with it but it just felt inappropriate.

But maybe that’s how they saw it, like it was just a movie or something. Something to edit.

X-Mer: You didn’t broach the subject with them or… ?

Friend: No, because like I said it was… they were… I was new & they… for me it takes time to get to know people.

X-Mer: Yeah, most people don’t go up to some group of strangers & say: “Hey, what’s the deal here ?

Friend: That’s difficult.

That’s something I still remember to this day, it was quite weird to experience people’s reaction like that because over the news it was mostly outrage & people were angry & these guys were just lighthearted about it.

X-Mer: A big contrast.

Friend: Yeah.



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That’s it for part 1 but please check back tomorrow for part 2 of the interview, where I ask my friend about 9/11 conspiracies.


What Really Matters

September 11, 2010



September 11th ?

Hmmm, there’s something about that date.

Yeah, something… but I can’t quite put my…



Oh, I know !

Today is IBAK, “International Burn A Koran Day”.

Spelled iBAK by Mac users, no doubt.



Here we are, mere months after the brand new EDMD & already another annual holiday event ?

Wow.

2010 sure is rapidly turning into 1 festive year, isn’t it ?



I wonder what we’ll get to celebrate next ?

Maybe REWIS… “Rape Every Woman In Sight Day” ?

Or how about PAPA… “Pardon All Paedophilic Acts Day” ?



As some shamelessly celebrate these new disrespectful holidays, I’d rather reflect on what really matters.



Especially on a day like today…



Never forget the victims of 9/11


II

September 11, 2009

08:46



09:03



09:37



10:03



Never forget the victims of 9/11