TODAY marks the 20th anniversary of the most horrific terror attack we’ve seen on Western shores. While America was waking up on a beautiful Tuesday morning, its citizens getting ready for work, its children going to school, the purest of evils strolled into Boston airport with the intention of causing maximum damage, and that they did. After hijacking four planes, they steered two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and were it not for the bravery of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, many more would have died.
America, as you would expect, leapt into action. Along with the emergency services, many ordinary people braved the turmoil and the chaos to help save lives. A documentary short, Boatlift (2011), was one of those stories, where hundreds of thousands of people were rescued from the chaos in Manhattan by a fleet of boats captained by ordinary New Yorkers, resulting in the largest mass evacuation America has ever seen. You can watch the film below:
As the 20th anniversary of this horrific event rolls into sight and Americans are asked once again to reflect on the tragedies of that day, to commemorate those who died and to remember the heroism of their fellow citizens, you’d expect journalists of all nationalities, of all political stripes, to think on this too in their own reflections.
I’m not a journalist but if I was and I was asked to write a column on the anniversary of these attacks, I’d be looking at how America acted. How it came together. How its people came together and worked to help others. How they rebuilt and moved forwards. The last thing I’d be looking at is the religion of the attackers and how rampant Islamophobia came out of the events of that day. But that’s what the BBC have done.
They found a Muslim woman in Scotland who was attacked on a bus two days later. Now I don’t for a second condone the assault. It sounds like a horrible experience for her. However, what I find abhorrent is that the BBC would use this event for their own purposes – to continue with their narrative that Islamophobia is as prevalent as they believe it is.
They could have marked this anniversary with stories of bravery, of a country rebuilt, of a people who defied their attackers, but no. That’s not the BBC’s style. Division is their game and in the same way their stories have divided our nation in terms of black and white, men and women, Eurosceptics and Europhiles, this story was meant to highlight what is for them a perpetually marginalised minority.
Today’s anniversary won’t focus on religion. It won’t focus on colour or gender. It won’t focus on division but, I imagine, it will focus on lives lost and lives saved and a country that came out of the ashes to stand proud in the world once more. That would be the right way to look at it, not through the prism of aggrieved slights.
The BBC should be ashamed of themselves.