Shards of glass, splinters like rain
But you could only feel your own pain
October, talk getting nowhere
Remember we just started again ...
- U2, Please, released in 1997
One thing I have noticed is that unlike the last two years, there doesn't seem to have been as much hype leading up to the anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001. In fact, so little has been said that the date could have slipped me by. It's surprised me, really, considering the massive deal that is usually made over the attacks. I must say, it gets rather annoying sometimes when people act like it's the only terrorist attack that's ever occurred or that it's the only important thing that's happened in the world in the last three years. So I'm all the more surprised that very little fuss has been made over this anniversary.
I'm beginning to suspect people have become tired of it. I think that's best evidenced by that terror alert scale in the USA - I don't even live there and I'm sick of hearing about the bloody thing! Does anyone take heed of it at all? It's just a target of mockery here. I keep whining about apathy, and despite good intentions, I really don't think the government and the media are helping anyone. The news is initially filled with images of horror, but then people are reassurred, told that their world is a safe place and they should go about their business as usual. They aren't told to question injustice or dare to take a stand against it; they're told to keep living their lives as per normal. Essentially, the comfort zone is reinforced and people slide into a blissful state of apathy towards the world, thinking that everything's alright so they needn't even contemplate taking an interest.
Fact of the matter is, everything's NOT alright. The world's just as bad as it's always been, and the more apathetic Western society becomes, the less will be done about it. Here's some statistics to put things into perspective.
Deaths on 11 September 2001: 3,500
Deaths in Africa daily from AIDS: 6,500
Deaths in Darfur, Sudan, since February 2003: Conservative estimates are 50,000; some place the figure higher than 170,000
Deaths daily in Darfur, Sudan: approximately 1,000
Deaths in the Chechnya-Russia conflict over the last ten years: 100,000-150,000 (10,000-15,000 every year)
Number of countries in 2003 hosting conflicts involving over 100,000 deaths: 12
And yet does anything ever happen, besides mentioning 11 September with slightly decreasing frequency and waging the occasional war?
Well, here's what's happening!
Terrorist attacks in 2001: 124 (including 11 September)
Terrorist attacks in 2002: 138
Terrorist attacks in 2003: 175 - a twenty-one year high
Whoever said you could fight fire with fire was obviously wrong. But what's to be done? That's quite the stumper, and I acknowledge I have a stark lack of answers. But slipping into apathy and believing the worldwide situation is improving most certainly does not adequately address anything.
Three years on, there's a lot more to consider than just one day.