Like anyone else coming back from NYC, I noticed how reinforced were the security checks: random searches, heavily armed cops, humiliating procedures at the airports, etc.
But before I go on, I will just put it this way: there won’t be any attack in the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
First of all, Muslim terrorists don’t care about the kind of September. These guys work through a lunar calendar that goes by Arabic names like Shaaban and Zu Al Hajja, changing along the years; they’d better act according to a Muslim date rather than a solar Christian-Pagan one. When Libyans decided to free Tripoli, they took the date of a Muslim victory to do it. But this was an exception, and I can bet that a French or an Arab secular Orientalist brought the idea to the table.
Plus symbolism isn’t a real Muslim tradition, but mainly a Christian and western one. We don’t have coats of arms, but white or green flags. Flags with motives were a “Renaissance times” addition, and Salafist fighters (Salafists are the radical wing of Islamism, something like the Jewish Zealots, who think they live the way the ancestors lived) do not recognize these. Therefore I don’t see any reason why these crazy suicide-bombers would take that exact date to remake their deed.
In Muslim tradition, on the other hand, “War is trickery”. You hit when you can, not when you want. So if any Al-Qaeda or whoever anti-American fighter wanted to bomb a store or a street, he would have done it a while ago, and not when the fat or model-like NYPD men are frisking every trash bin. Take the example of the two times when Muslim terrorists wanted to detonate their bodies after 9/11 (the shoe-bomber and the Nigerian kid); they were going to common places in times where they knew security was less tightened.
Let’s forget about all this, and let’s say that a jumbo jet strikes the Empire State Building. So what? How many Americans die each year with cancer because of American made non-organic food and American made cigarettes? Do the black people fighting for their daily food in Louisiana really care about this chauvinist story and the Patriot Act?
A friend of mine, Fulbright Scholar in an American university in Chicago, told me once that Blacks will revolt one of these days. And he’s right. It’s beautiful to walk on Broadway, but remember to stop at 125th. Chicago is such a nice city, as long as you don’t go to its southern part. The best country on earth cannot make half of its population happy, and you call it the American Dream?
I usually don’t take Thomas Friedman seriously when it comes to politics, and I am definitely not a fan of his Village-People mustache. But his last article bore some wise comments, and I quote: “We used 9/11 to create better body scanners and more T.S.A. agents. It will be remembered as one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency — ever”.
He continues to say that the event should have been used for patriotic things and the Friedman Facts followed. My agreement with Mr. Three-Pulitzers stops there.
But I think that Americans should have learned from 9/11 that they are not popular in the region where they get their oil and where they waged a large number of their wars for freedom. They should have kicked out of their embassies the local informers who are present in every party to kiss their asses. They should have started recruiting more intellectual minds in their foreign offices rather than the usual rednecks.
In the midst of the Arab Spring, the staff in Tunisia’s Embassy is being replaced, and most of the new recruits come from Iraq. Will these individuals give the example needed to build a new Tunisia? Are we going toward an Iraqi-style American reform? Does the newly freed Tunisian nation need a bunch of young men and women who lived clustered in a walled zone for the last two or three years?
America has a problem in the way it deals with Israel and the Arabs, and the Department of State should hire those who profess a different opinion than the orthodox one to see its image changing.
However, the biggest problem of the US is not about foreign policy, as the country can survive without the world. It’s essentially social. As poor people grow in number, this problem will grow bigger, and as segregation continues, the country will keep sinking. Why not begin by hiring some leftist fresh graduates? They can help the collapsing capitalist system to survive, just like capitalists helped to reshape the collapsing socialist parties in Europe a few decades ago.
Youssef Cherif is a Fulbright Alumni who Attended Columbia University in New York City. He holds a Masters in History and Archaeology and currently manages the blog Fayla. He is interested in Foreign Affairs and Politics. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Tunisia Live.