A moment of silence

America has emphasized its unethical actions towards foreign countries and victimized its own country


Rachel Jiang

After 9/11, the U.S. killed hundreds and thousands of innocent Middle Easterners in the War on Terror.

Rachel Jiang

Nearly 3000 dead, thousands of devastated family members, 10,000 survivors who suffer from endless trauma.

On the day following 9/11, the U.S. declared war on terrorists in Afghanistan, then Syria, Iraq and other countries that were involved in international terrorism.

Let’s take a moment of silence for the 3,000 innocent civilians who died on September 11th, 2001. Their last words will forever haunt us and their last breaths will be heard across the world. Let’s take a moment of silence for the brave passengers on the four tragically hijacked planes who fought the terrorists on board.

I have met many people who directly connect terrorists to the Middle East. From personal experience, I have grown up in a community where people who were close to me believed that  9/11 was the worst terrorist attack in world history. 

I was 5 when my parents introduced me to the 9/11 incident. By watching documentaries and listening to my family explain the concept of terrorism,  I have been taught that these religious extremists from the Middle East gained the title of being terrorists, the enemies, while we were the heroes, the protagonists. 

Dear patriots, I applaud you.

I applaud you for forgiving our nation after it declared war on the Middle East and killed massive amounts of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Honestly, I don’t blame you for being complicit with U.S. actions because I was in your shoes about 2 years ago. Through months of research about the war on terror, I realized I had ignored the fact that the U.S. made foreign middle easterners pay the price of 9/11 through drone and military strikes, as well as bombs even though these people never contributed to the incident themselves. 

In addition to my research, I began noticing more things I had never considered. I read many headlines about how the middle eastern countries are at war, and how they killed U.S. troops stationed there. I rarely found any articles about foreign deaths related to the U.S. while even one U.S. death caused by them would make headlines on the most popular news sites. 

I participate in school debate, and our recent topic in January was: Resolved, the United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes. 

Because of this topic, I did a lot of research about post-9/11 in the Middle East because the U.S. was warring with that region in order to eliminate terrorism. I came across many scholarly articles that told stories about the relationship the U.S. has with Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen. It was at that time that I realized why this war was known as the ‘Forgotten War.” I have never heard or even read about the U.S. offering Saudi Arabia aid to strike Yemen, and being complicit with the worst humanitarian crisis they contributed to in which 13 million Yemeni civilians are starving to death. 

What disturbs me is the fact that the U.S. declared war on terrorists in the Middle East only, and nowhere else. This has led to Middle Easterners getting labeled as “terrorists,” and because of the resulting media bias, we can rarely see a glimpse of the true reality.

So what is the reality? From October 2001 to October 2018, there have been a total of 480,000 deaths directly caused by the war, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan alone, and more than 244,000 of them were innocent civilians. The number of indirect deaths, like disease, totaled up to the millions. The U.S. is far from innocent; drone strikes and bombs that were targeted on both military and civilians of “enemy” countries prove that they are deliberately inflicting harm upon those people. 

So for Sept. 11th, let us take a moment of silence not just for the 3,000 civilians whose tragic lives were lost, but also for the hundreds of thousands more who were undeservedly sacrificed and the millions who continue to live in starvation for the sake of the U.S. 

The next time you hear the word “terrorists,” are you still going to think of the Middle East? Maybe the finger should not be automatically pointed to them.

Maybe it is time to consider why our actions after that tragic day were also acts of terrorism.