It’s been twenty-one years since the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11 and the occasion was marked in America this week by a number of ceremonies commemorating the nearly three thousand people killed.   The attack itself was a message for North Americans who, up until then, were remarkably insulated from the radical ideologies that spawn global terrorism.  If the attacks had been carried out in the Middle East, they likely would have captured the news headlines for a few days and then been forgotten. 

Three thousand people killed is a heavy price to pay for a reminder about the global inequalities that fuel radical ideology.  We know there are all too many on this planet that dedicate themselves to violence, whatever the cause.  But it’s also true that the number of lives lost in 9/11 pales in comparison to the toll of lives lost in the rest of the world to radical ideologies. 

The Ukraine serves as only the latest in an endless parade of countries beset by violence.  If we were to view Putin’s as a terrorist attack, it dwarfs 9/11 – displacing upwards of twelve million people, causing tens of thousands of deaths and driving a worldwide surge in inflation created by fuel and food shortages. 

So, while we commemorate 9/11 and vow to remain vigilant in the defense of democracy, let’s also not burrow into our North American cocoon, forgetting those countries whose citizens endure exposure to violence and terrorism daily – a routine part of their lives.

TL:DR – Three thousand killed in the 9/11 attack.  45,222 Americans killed by gun violence in 2020 – food for thought.

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