Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” (King 320). Even though terrorism killed many innocent civilians, it has also affected all of us, as Americans, indirectly in some way throughout recent history. It has impacted the way we live, killed our people, and changed our views as a nation. It has changed our feelings as Americans, because now we fear terror and we are not as secure as we were prior to the existence of terror as a global issue. Terrorism is a form of human aggression towards something one or a group of people oppose. In today's society I believe that terrorism has occurred due to the significant differences that separate the West and the Islamic world into two entirely different worlds. Even though many problems have occurred due to the great division between the “two worlds,” it may only get worse if America reacts in a negative way. America should respond to terrorism in a very peaceful and safe manner, because by doing something extreme or violent it is only going to change the way our people think and the way rest of the world views us as a nation.
It is obvious that there is a separation between the West and the world of Islam. This division is one of the main reasons terrorist attacks have occurred in the last ten years. “We must understand that Islamic terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon” (Cohen and Kennedy 232). I think that this quote is significant because it proves that Islamic terrorism has an impact on many parts of the world, not just America. Since America is a super power, the rest of the world has great expectations of how we perform with global problems such as terrorism. Other parts of the world that have suffered from terrorist attacks in the last ten years include: London, Madrid, East Africa, Karachi, and Tunisia (Cohen and Kennedy 232). Terrorism has occurred in many countries that have much less power and security than the United States. I think that it is terrible that terrorism is spreading so rapidly like a global epidemic, but it is up to us, as Americans, to prevent it from spreading any further.
Instead of spending billions of dollars toward war in other countries, we should increase the amount of security that is in our country. If we increase all of the security and spend more money paying people to make sure that everything is safe, then it is less likely that terrorists will attempt an attack of any kind on our nation. I think that if we start increasing security, other nations in the west will follow and the amount of terrorist attacks will decrease in the next ten years. There is no reason why the next ten years should be anything like the last ten when we can do so much to stop terror.
Throughout this course we have learned that globalization has changed many things around the world. It has changed the way people communicate, dress, behave, and even eat. Globalization has impacted the West much more than the Islamic world because the beliefs of the people in each region are completely different. For example, Turkey is still not a part of the European Union because the way the Turks live is completely different than the ways the British or French live. Turkey also still does not have freedom of the press, which is an important right for those nations in the European Union. There are significant changes that have been caused by globalization that the Islamic world cannot adapt to, which keeps the separation there and creates more divisions each day.
When the Soviet Union fell apart, many hoped for a better world (Williams 66). “Almost before meaningful dialogue about that new world could even be considered, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the 1991 Gulf War ensued” (Williams 67). This quote is significant because it demonstrates the fact that just at Americans got their hopes up to live without the problems of the Cold War, the war against terror was beginning. This was the beginning of all the problems between the United States and the Middle East, which led to terrorization between the Islamic world and the West. The Cold War was much more peaceful than the war on terror and a lot less expensive.
Even though we are now in a so-called war against terror, I think that we should just leave and set a positive example for the rest of the world. It does not matter if it looks like we are quitting because the national debt will just keep increasing and we will have to borrow more money from other nations. Being apart of a war is not worth it at this point. It is not worth all of the innocent people dying. It is not worth all of our economic struggles or the high costs for weapons. If we get out of Iraq I think that it will set a positive example for the rest of the world and even form better alliances between some nations of the west and the Islamic world.
Our media has been promoting the war on terror quite a bit in the last five or six years.
“In one sense, globalization, whatever its sins and limitations, plays a positive role. The media bring glimpses of events from every corner of the globe to our breakfast tables, our living rooms, and increasingly, to our computers, and our mobile phones” (Tharoor 48)
This quote is important because it proves that the media has had a great role in promoting stories about the war and also preventing other stories from being heard. Globalization is one of the main reasons the media has such great power. My only issue with the media is that they act as gatekeepers about certain stories and cover others for months. I feel that if the media was more reliable as a source, I would agree that it is a positive form of globalization, but since the stories change by the hour, and other stories are never even mentioned, the media is a negative instigator that only causes more conflicts amongst national issues.
I understand that the division between the Islamic world and the west is obviously there, but something I could never understand, as an American, was how Arab-Americans, or the Turks in America or any other type of Muslim person felt on September 11th, 2001. I know it already must be difficult for people from nations so different than the United States, such as Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, or even Bosnia, but it must be much more difficult knowing that there is a war on terror against people with your religious background from your own country. I feel that it is the most difficult for people of Islamic backgrounds to live in the United States at this time. “As an American and as a Muslim, I was horrified to watch the television that morning. I felt as if pieces of myself were tumbling off of those buildings” (Eck 21). This quote is significant because it proves that Muslims do feel bad for what has happened, but we cannot blame our people, since there are millions of Muslims that live in the United States and about fifteen million that live in Europe.
I know from personal experience that it is difficult for Muslim people that have been born and live in America to cope with terror from the Islamic world. I was in the sixth grade when the terrorist attacks happened on September 11th, and I can still remember what happened to my friend. There was an Arabic-American girl in my math class and as we were walking out of class about a week after the attacks, she found a note in her locker that said, “terrorist” in red letters. She started crying and felt horrible for a really long time. Another sixth grader that claimed he heard things like that at home did it. I feel that this was a horrible incident I witnessed and some innocent child had to go through just because we all fear something. Instead of fearing terrorism we have to come together and cope with it, and we cannot leave Muslim Americans out because they are a part of our nation more than any other nation in the world.
There are significant differences between the West, especially the United States, and the Islamic world, but there is no reason why those of Islamic background should be blamed for something they had nothing to do with. We have to come together as a nation, instead of creating greater separations amongst ourselves. I feel that all religions should come together and cope with terrorism, because if we focus on other issues that impact us nationally, and globally terrorism will eventually stop.
I feel that if we leave Iraq, and promote new alliances with Middle Eastern countries, other than just Israel, we will be able to end terrorism in the West. By forming new alliances the terrorists will see that we mean well and do not intend on taking anything that does not belong to us. I feel that they fear our being there in a way, so they have to fight back for their own freedom, which is clearly different than the way we view our freedom. We should perform as a super power helping other nations that need our help, guidance and support. I feel that we lack the right amount of communication with nations in the Middle East. I believe that Barack Obama will do well in promoting peace between the United States and the Middle East. If we get our issues settled with the Middle Eastern nations, then it is less likely to get another terrorist attack.
“The best-known and most enduring of such encounters took place between Islam and Christendom” (Lewis 157) This quote is significant because it proves that since the beginning of recorded history, there have always been clashes between Muslims and Christians, which scares me in a way because I hope things do not always remain that way. The have been clashes since the Ottoman Empire and there are still clashes between the West and what is left from the Islamic Empires. In a way I can understand why there are terrorist attacks on the West. It is because the Islamic world feels threatened by the West and by globalization.
As we have read in the selections from our textbooks, that globalization is often portrayed as westernization, which probably affects the Islamic world in negative way. By having more technology, new ways of dressing, and new food to eat, the Islamic world feels threatened by the west and all of the things that are significantly different between the two regions. At some point in history all of the Islamic Empires failed, then they lost much of their land, and now through globalization they are losing much of their culture, which changes the way they think and feel about the rest of the world. If the Islamic nations change some things about their culture I feel that the great separate will diminish, but at this point it is nearly impossible because we are, in a way, expected to be enemies.
Another reason of why we as Americans need to promote peace in the United States is because our own economy is getting worse, like other economies in the West, while countries such as Turkey are strengthening theirs. If we reduce the amount of money that we spend on wars and use it for domestic purposes, it may give the leaders of the Islamic nations ideas about using their money towards their own, as opposed to spending money on mass destructive weapons. If we could find a way to end terror it would make many things around the world better for nearly everyone, not just those that have been apart of it.
If we could find a solution to ending the terror that has been occurring in our nation then the rest of the West will be safer, which is more than half of the world. Even thought terrorization has been a plan to eliminate globalization by the Islamic world, I feel that if we eliminate the strength of terror it will be the greatest thing that could happen to globalization at this point. By forming a union between the two worlds, we could make globalization stronger for both parts. If we do stop the war, and form alliances between the United States and some Middle Eastern countries, then it will be much easier for the rest of the world to follow our lead. Since our greatest alliance is with Britain, we should do this so then they will and all of the other smaller European nations will follow.
Ending terrorism is in our hands. We should increase security and form new alliances, which will strengthen globalization. This will make things better for us and for the rest of the world. By strengthening globalization, maybe then we can understand terrorism and why they choose to do that to us, instead of fighting back. We could also learn about that part of the world, because as we have seen on the first day of this class most of us do not even know what that part of the world looks like. It is a shame that we do not know about that part of the world, maybe if we knew then there would not be such great problems between us. Ignorance has always caused problems and I think that with terror that is the case. We are ignoring the right thing to do but fighting for oil and lying about it. We should just end the war, save money, and spread globalization in that part of the world.
By reading After Terror by Ahmed and Forst and by reading the various course reading about religion and the division between the two worlds, I am able to understand terrorism a little better. By studying globalization, which “refers to the ways in which the world is being knitted together by the increased volume and speed of cross-border transactions” (Cohen and Kennedy 7), I have been able to figure that the Islamic world is against it. It completely contradicts their views, ideals, beliefs, culture and traditions. There are many things changing in the Islamic world due to globalization, some are taking it very well, while others are completely against it. Globalization is changing the world, and the Islamic part of the world is reacting with terrorization, but the only thing we can do as Americans is promote peace and communication in order to prevent future attacks. Even though at some point we may have felt that the injustices the civilians of Iraq suffered were harming the world, it is time to help the rest of the world and strengthen globalization.