Today I reflect, as do many, where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Tower. Like my parents generation’s remembrance of where they were and what they were doing when Kennedy was assassinated and their parents remembrance of the news of V-Day this was a moment in time that is burned in the minds of those of us who were old enough to remember.
I was asleep. Our son Noah was just 2 weeks old and the phone rang at about 4am. I recall angrily thinking ‘who in their right minds phones parents of a 2 week old in the middle of the night’ as Matt stumbled to the phone. His father was ringing from overseas and his first words were “I’m alright.” Matt says it took him a few minutes to work out that it wasn’t that he’d missed something his father had said in sleepy stupor but that when he’d woken up an hour earlier hearing Christian, then aged 6, moving around and had found him in the lounge watching ‘some war movie about New York’ that it wasn’t a war movie that he’d turned off when he sent Christian back to bed.
When Matt came into the room and turned the lights on he didn’t give me time to throw anything at him for being woken me up for the 5th time that night because what he was saying just didn’t make any sense. I went from sleep-deprived-anger to what is he on about? Something about the World Trade Towers? Some business thing his father was doing? Hang on, hijacked planes? What? Why do I have to get up right now? He had to pull me out of bed and take me to the television to get it to sink in. Then I was wide awake and it was some time before I wanted to sleep again.
When I reflect on that day eight years later one thing that never fails to stun me is the way some leftists seem to back radical Islam and excuse their actions as that of victims, minimising the role of their religious ideology. Frequently I hear Matt inform said lefties that secular media often fail to understand religion or religious history. This failure to take religion seriously as a motivating force in peoples lives, coupled with Marxist critiques of religion, mistakenly reduces religion to economics. This thoroughly discredited error leads otherwise intelligent people to explain away religious terrorism as simply the “sigh of the oppressed creature.”
The evil we saw on this day eight years ago should have shaken everyone from this naivety. I am not buying into the Hitchens-Dawkins, ‘religion-is-evil secular-is-beneficent myth;’ secular ideologies also lead people to commit atrocities. However, 9/11 reminded us that there are people out there who want to engage in the random killing of innocent men women and children and believe it a religious duty to do so; this is scary and those who don’t get it need to wake up.