After 9/11, I still feel hope

Published: September 11, 2011
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The world was never the same after the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001 PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The world was never the same after the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001
PHOTO: AFP/FILE The "Tribute in Lights" illuminates the sky over lower Manhattan days before the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, September 8, 2011. The organisers of The "Tribute in Lights" tested the lights for several hours ahead of the anniversary.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ANNIVERSARY)

“I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything. But still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything. I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Edward Everett

I don’t know who started this war or how it will end – I only know how it came to be. On September 11th 2001, I watched helplessly as the twin towers collapsed. Even a decade after this unfortunate day, the world is reeling from this tragic and needless loss.

I was a seventeen-year- old, aspiring to be a writer, mesmerized by big dreams. The world as I knew it changed during the fifty-minute Media Studies class I was attending during my A Levels. As the World Trade Centre came down, I left my class not know that my life would be forever changed.

In the months that followed, the words Taliban, Al-Qaeda and jihad were to become a part of normal every day vocabulary. This, however, was only the beginning of the post 9/11 world.

Pakistan is just one of the many countries to have suffered in the aftermath of the destruction of the twin towers. Unlike some countries, where explosions are extraordinary, tragic events, suicide attacks and bombings are not the cruelest part of daily life in Pakistan. The cruelest part of life here is that we have allowed this to happen.

As the memory of 9/11 continues to overshadow our world, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have become less than mere shadows of themselves.

Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are supposedly dead, but for so many people around the world, the ghosts of the past decade are still very much alive. They scream at us from the streets inundated with blood, from the graves of the countless victims of this global war, from the bombs that go off in busy city centers, from the stones that are thrown during strikes, and so on. We do our best to cover our ears and avert our eyes, in an attempt to escape. However, the blind continue to lead the blind and the war rages on.

The reality of our world can be seen in lines of pain etched in worn-out faces; it can be touched in the wounds of those who have been caught in this fire; it can be tasted in the tears of orphaned children; it can be smelt in blood-stained clothes of an innocent man who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Even though we all live day in and day out in this brutal reality, we feel helpless at the hands of those with higher authority. What we fail to realize is that we are more powerful than we think. We are strongly united in recession, in anger, in fear, in sadness, in loss and in apathy. United we watch what happens to our world and our agony flourishes because, collectively, we do nothing.

I’m not an idealist. Like most people living in Pakistan, I’ve been caught in riots and bomb blasts.  However, I count myself lucky enough to not know what real suffering is – it is this privilege which should enable us to help those who have been less fortunate than us.

One person can’t change the world – but he can make some kind of change.

Nelson Mandela did.

Martin Luther King did.

Mother Teresa did.

Mahatma Gandhi did.

I know that even if what I do only makes a profound difference to just one life, this would mean one less person who is suffering. If all of try to be more tolerant and compassionate, and do at least one good deed a day that could potentially help just a single person, imagine the difference we could collectively make.

It no longer matters who started this war – it is time for it to end. This end can be brought around collectively if we all stand up against it together. If we start now, maybe a post 9/11 world will be something worth being a part of, something worth bringing our children in to, something worth living for.

Sahar Aman

Sahar Aman

The author is the CEO & founder of Love To Eat It sharing behind the scenes of my startup journey! Also check out my blog, food and lifestyle titbits for glow getting lady bosses! She tweets as @sahar_aman (twitter.com/sahar_aman). Follow her on Instagram: sahar_aman (www.instagram.com/sahar_aman/) Follow her on Snapchat: Sahar_aman

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fahad Raza

    Lets keep it real….not to be pessimist its too naive to think war will end even after 10 years.Recommend

  • Parvez

    So you did go ahead and become a writer ? Nicely written, the optimism just oozes out.
    In the list of people who made a difference, was there any particular reason for leaving out Mohammad Ali Jinnah ? He changed the map, he carved out a country for us.Recommend

  • http://www.tarpley.net Moise

    Maybe people are waiting for Captain Obvious to tell them the truth.Recommend

  • http://www.pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    I am sorry its that 17 year old speaking sahar … the reality wont change … this war is meant to stay for all parties involved whether it be America or its allies, Pakistan or Talibans . Peace is a commodity which is the most expensive to afford.
    I just hope and pray 17 year olds are put to charge and these wars can be subsided else the future is bleak .Recommend

  • Nasir

    @ Parvez

    This is a dilemma that many of our educated youth dont know about the hardships that Muhammad Ali Jinnah had to face for changing the Map of the World. This may be because they dont want to read about our heroes or are not fascinated. Why not giving the true value they deserve?Recommend

  • MD

    @Parvez
    “………was there any particular reason for leaving out Mohammad Ali Jinnah ? He changed the map, he carved out a country for us”

    …….and made the life difficult for the rest of the world.Recommend

  • Phatty

    @MD:
    How did he make it difficult for the rest of the world?Recommend

  • A.

    @MD:
    “…….and made the life difficult for the rest of the world.”

    that’s a matter of opinion ;)Recommend

  • Shay

    What difference would you like us to make? It is easier to analyse the situation than provide a solution for it. In this war against terror, like no other in the past, on person alone cannot make a difference. This is not me being pessimistic, I would say it’s more about looking at the facts.Recommend

  • http://troll Call me Troll

    @A.:
    @Phatty:
    Does that really need explanation ?Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    This has been a decade of turmoil and 9/11 has affected perhaps Pakistan more than any other country.Recommend

  • Anthony

    Well written article conveniently hijacked by bigots once again.

    Instead of focusing on the article, you had to bring in ‘why no Jinnah?’

    If Jinnah had been mentioned, someone would have said ‘why no X’ or ‘why no Y’?

    We are just never satisfied, are we? The writer is ALWAYS wrong, and the reader is always right, and this is why we will never end these wars. Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Anthony:
    As you have referred to my asking about Jinnah in my comment. Please read the comment again. I have first appreciated the article and praised the writer. Then I have asked what I think is a relevant question. If you cann’t accept a simple attempt at a civil discussion and spout rubbish then as we used to say in school ‘ go suck an egg ‘.Recommend

  • Ibrar Ahmed

    Creator is in tense of his Creation, US the Creator and Taliban and Al-Qaida are there Creation. Its a bitter truth….Recommend

  • http://www.abdulsamad.net/ Abdul Samad

    In the midst of our quest to label right and wrong, enemy and foe, terrorist and savior, all of us-including you and me- fail to appreciate that the first infringement of the US soil since World War 2-even though Pearl Harbor was under US occupation, the surprise Japanese attack did not constitute a direct threat to the nation- has left Pakistan as the biggest loser in what was subsequently a global effort, spearheaded by the US, to purge extremism from the Taliban safe haven of Afghanistan. Fast forward 10 years, and observe where our nation stands, how each day newspapers are replete with stories of a nation bleeding without any respite whatsoever. And while I wont discount the three thousand lives lost on that fateful day, it bears telling that many more-more than hundred times- have been silenced with impunity. So, while we bemoan this egregious act, lets not forget how the fate of our country changed on the day the planes crashed into the twin towers.Recommend

  • Vajdaan Shah

    In love with your writing!

    “United we watch what happens to our world and our agony flourishes because, collectively, we do nothing”

    I hope we bring change within us, before its too late! It almost does seem that we have lost our humanity, somewhere along these past 64 years as Pakistanis. For us, these bomb blasts have become numbers, statistics that we see/read in breaking news. I hope to bring substantial change, at least within me and around me. Recommend