In the battle that ensued the day after September 11, 2001, did the people of the Western World lose something essential about themselves? Claus Hecking of Germany’s Financial Times Deutschland writes that due to a largely conjured-up fear of terror, ‘we are dismantling the foundations of our liberal society.’
For the Financial Times Deutschland, Claus Hecking writes in part:
In the United States and throughout the Western world, freedom has gone to ruin in the nine years since 9/11. This will delight the string-pullers behind the brutal attacks on the World Trade Center. They have managed to destabilize their enemies in the West. Yes, we are playing along in this clash of cultures they instigated. And even worse: For sheer fear of terror, we are dismantling the foundations of our liberal society.
Terrorists are terrorists because they’re too weak to seize power directly. Instead, they carry out attacks: a calculated move to frighten and provoke people to panic, setting in motion events that will bring them closer to their goal. Prime examples are the assassination in 1914 of Austria’s heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. After it triggered World War I, this led to a sovereign, Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia. Or the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995: it was the beginning of the end of the Middle East peace process.
Osama bin Laden is an idol for tens of thousands of angry young Muslim men, especially in countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia – all old allies of the United States. Many people in the developing world no longer see the Western way of life as a model. And why should they, when we doubt our own basic principles?
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