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.
You yourself, while not overtly, had your problems with then President George W Bush…
Friend: Yeah, sure. Who didn’t ? [LOL]
X-Mer: Questions were raised when he, to combat terrorism on US soil, signed into law what is now known as the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting (&) Strengthening America (By) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (To) Intercept (&) Obstruct Terrorism Act).
This made it possible for the government to look into personal things like your telephone & medical records with greater ease. Which, according to critics, went against civil liberties & was therefore unconstitutional.
Did you happen to hear that last May President Obama signed an extension of that very same act & thereby renewed it for 4 more years ?
Friend: I was not aware of that.
X-Mer: Now, let’s check some facts here…
– The Guantanamo Bay detention camp was opened in 2002 under the Bush administration & is presently still open under the Obama administration.
– The War On Terror as a term isn’t used anymore but the conflict is still going on.
– There are currently still US troops present in Iraq.
– As ordered by Obama, Afghanistan will get additional US troops.
– & under the Obama administration there’ve been more unmanned drone attacks in & around the border region of Pakistan than ever occured under the Bush adminstration.
With all these things, even though Obama is a likeable guy, would you really say things are different now then when Bush was president ?
Friend: Better… I did say that, didn’t I ?
X-Mer: Did you ?
Friend: I think it was implied. & I did say I thought the… that it was going towards the situation before 9/11.
They are the world police, so… I think a lot of acceptance is gained in how you present yourself & now you have Obama & he presents himself like: “we’re going to work together to achieve this goal, make the world better for everybody” & when you sum up those facts you could think “maybe it’s even worse but nobody’s getting the story out there”.
It’s really something to think about. Is it really better ? It certainly… seems better & it seems less hostile, maybe that’s… those drone attacks, I can’t imagine innocent lives not being lost.
X-Mer: Probably impossible.
Friend: I’m a bit surprised actually.
X-Mer: Because you, for example, didn’t know about him renewing the Patriot Act ?
Friend: Yeah ! For example. I didn’t know about Guantanamo Bay while it was his intention to shut it down.
X-Mer: He hasn’t succeeded in that & I’m not saying people are still being tortured there, just the fact that it’s still open.
Friend: You mentioned “24” before, so it’s a bit… it’s very important who’s at command of the world police like when in “24” you had David Palmer who was a genuine good guy.
X-Mer: Like Obama ?
Friend: Like Obama but he also had certain… tools to his disposal which he only used in certain situations when it was appropriate & when it was necessary.
& then you had President Logan for example…
Friend: I see a lot of similarities between fiction & reality.
You can also wonder how much influence the media really has because under President Bush, like I said I felt more hostility among the people & now it seems to be… well, there’s still some of course but it’s a lot less, I think. That’s how I experience it, so…
…I don’t think I really answered your question.
X-Mer: Well, what do you think the answer is ? Are things similar under his presidency or is it generally better ?
Friend: I think there are more… positive developments under his administration than there were under the Bush administration.
X-Mer: He’s trying ?
Friend: He’s trying, I think. A lot of things got blamed on Bush but think… I’m not saying he’s not to blame for the things that did occur but I do believe there were powers even bigger than Bush at play.
X-Mer: He wasn’t the puppetmaster but… at least some of the time, the puppet ?
Friend: Yeah sure & with Obama it’s hard to think of him as the puppet. You really get a feeling he has to struggle to achieve the things he wants to achieve. With Bush it all seemed to go very easily & you know, it probably wasn’t very hard for Obama to get that extension because I can’t imagine Republicans being against that.
So, again I don’t think I answered your question but… I do believe it’s better in my experience.
That’s it for part 10 but please check back tomorrow for the 11th & final part of the interview, where I ask my friend about what the future might bring us.