The 9/11 Generation

With the events currently unfolding in London, It is our reaction to stop, pause, and think about the “whys” and the “hows” and react to the reactions from around the world. We also want to point to a singular thing and label it as “the problem” and fix it.

I feel like the Mass Shootings of America have no become the Terrorist Attack of the world: We are shocked, horrified, and dismayed, we argue for a few days, and move on, with the only action being taken is more security, more fear, and more policies that divide rather than tackle the situation.

Prime Minister Teresa May said in her address today,

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services, provide.” She continued: “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.”

– Prime Minister Teresa May

President Donald Trump said in his first Tweet in response to the attack:

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

– President Donald Trump

The first statement feels more like a power grab, similar to the U.S.’s Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11 (More on that in a moment), and the second statement flies in the face of the reality of Terror events that have unfolded in the West over the last couple of years, where in country Nationals, not immigrants, are the likely perpetrators of these actions.

“So, what is happening, and why??” we ask ourselves. Why now? When ISIS is losing what territory they have left… though, looking at the Philippines, things are getting dicey, when the Refugee crisis in Europe is creeping away from the headlines, and attention is becoming more focused on Russia, the US, and the rise of the extreme right.

I feel that what we are seeing is in part, the 9/11 Generation.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks, the assailants were born in 1980 and 1982.
The Port De Vincennes the assailant was born in 1982,
The November 2015 Paris Attacks the Assailants were between the ages of 20 and 31.
San Bernindino assailants were born in 1986 and 1987
Orlando Pulse Shooting – Perpetrator was born in 1986
Munich Shootings – Perpetrator born in 1998.
Ansbach Bombing – Perpetrator was 27.
Berlin Christmas Market Attack – Perpetrator was born in 1994
Westminister Attack – Perpetrator was 52 years old.
Manchester Arena Attack – Perpetrator was born in 1994

A few notes:

  • There were several Turkish incidents I wanted to add, but they never gave the name, nor the ages of the perpetrators
  • In almost all of these incidents (Ansbach, Berlin, and 2 of the 20+people involved in the November Paris attacks excepted) were citizens of the country they attacks.
  • Everyone except the Westminister attack where people born after 1980.

The question people will (and have) been asking is why?

The 9/11 Generation.

It is hard to believe that 9/11 happened 16 years ago… half a generation now, and the people who were impressionable, learning their way in the world, in school, entering college, are now in their 20;s and 30’s. 16 years of knee jerk reactions to Muslims. 16 years of fear mongering and alienation, and drum beats of war. For the Muslims and second generation immigrants in many western Countries, the anger, the xenophobia, and the unwillingness to separate world events with local people created the fertile ground for radicalisation. The post 9/11 era us shaped our world fundamentally. While the adults were busy implementing the Patriot Act, going into Iraq, bombing Afghanistan, and seeing how the Western World *now* treats Muslims, we created our current enemy.

The West radicalised its own second generation Muslim Immigrants, doing the job for those who hate our culture. With the exception of one of these perpetrators, each of them have lived most of their lives being looked at with fear, loathing, and contempt. Many of them couldn’t recall a time when they were not treated that way.

Teresa May and Donald Trump, in their statements today, follow that lead from Blair and Bush 15 years ago, “You are with us, or against us” and for many people, we made their choice for them through our policies.

A Travel Ban will not stop this radicalisation. These people are largely citizens of their home countries who have been alienated and radicalised by (partially) our own doing. Clamping down on the internet is not going to stop this either. Both moves are blunt objects that ignore the fact that our governments have help enabled this situation with their policies. The fact that the Westminister attack only happened a few months ago, and it followed, almost exactly, the attack in London this weekend means that what the May Government is doing is inadequate to meet the crisis.


I will often darkly joke that “9/11 changed everything”

… but it is true.

Prime Minister May said today that “Enough is enough.” Maybe it is time for us to say that to those who continue policies that enable radicalisation.

Of course, this is not meant to absolve these acts or these actions, but if we want to *stop* this from continuing, we need to stop the tactics of the last 16 years, because those tactics are pushing more people into fundamentalism, on both sides of the coin, and we are only making it worse by becoming more authoritarian and reactionary. We have a radicalised population, and it is our duty to defuse that bomb. We need to look at ways to deradicalise and, honestly, retrain our society a bit to approach this differently, or else we will continue to have these attacks, these issues, and be left with the same questions, and retrying the very things that caused the situation to begin with.

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