17 Years Ago – When the World Changed

Where were you 17 years ago?

Image result for 9/11 never forget

I may not be an American, but this day seventeen years ago, I remember all too well.

Seventeen years ago, I was ill.

I recall laying in my bed with the TV on. My Pops, who was still practising as a dentist, came running into my room and changed the channel to the news, where there were videos being played on replay, of a plane hitting one of New York#s Twin Towers.

I looked on in horror as we saw the second one being targeted by another aircraft.

It wasn’t long before the claims came from Al-Qaida and Bin Laden that they had been responsible for this loathsome act. The news was pouring in of the devastation, the death tolls were rising by the minute…

It was two months before our wedding. Hubby Dearest had just started a new job, in Central London, Canary Wharf.

The news then reported that Canary Wharf was on high alert as there had been reports that something was going to happen there.

I phoned him, wanting to know he was okay, that they were all okay.

It was a day that the world as we knew it changed.

A day that fear was born in the hearts and minds of many who had been previously unaware of conflicts and differences.

A day that made many begin to look at their fellow citizens with different eyes.

Suddenly, your friendly brown-skinned neighbour was looked at suspiciously, a woman with her head covered was feared, the calls to prayer that previously were celebrated, as a multicultural community, were quietened for fear of backlashes.

A whole new prejudice was born.

Since then there has been so much, with groups like Al-Qaida, and ISIS causing devastation in many countries, the UK, France, Belgium to name but a few.

Thankfully many people now see beyond religion as a motive. They don’t tar all Muslims with the same brush, understanding that those who follow Islam truly, are abhorrent of these few who are taking Allah’s name in vain.

But there are still plenty who are like a dog with a bone.

Any brown face is to be treated with caution; if they have turbans or headscarves, well then they must be part of these terrorist groups. There is no attempt to educate. Which is why so many innocents have been racially abused, attacked or killed, because someone thinks they are a terrorist.

I don’t need to step far away from my own background, where we have had Sikhs vilified because they wear turbans (because Bin Laden had something wrapped around his head, so that means all people with things on their head must be Muslim. Er no, As a Sikh our turban is a symbol of our religion, Sikhism…). And uneducated ex-army personnel targeting a Gurdwara, killing innocent worshippers because he didn’t know this was a Gurdwara, not a Mosque (not that that would have made the attack right).

It’s a shame that there is one such individual who got elected to President in the USA…

God help America.

And as for today, may we all remember those who lost their lives 17 years ago and remember those who have lost their lives in all the subsequent attacks over these seventeen years. Innocents, who had nothing to do with the selfish, ridiculous battles that have raged on. And those heroes who have stepped up in these horrible times, sacrificing their own lives in the process.

May they Rest In Peace.

And may our world regain some semblance of compassion, and sense, and stop these senseless attacks from happening.

An updated repost of an old article.


Today, I had a meeting with the children in my school’s School Council. I head that (along with the other hats I wear at work!) and we needed a meeting to discuss a few points ahead of the governors meeting tomorrow, so we could present the ‘Pupil Voice’.

One of the topics we were discussing was prejudice. I wanted to gauge the children’s perception or understanding of the word, and then with a very simple explanation to let them know what it was, and whether they feel that as a school do we deal with prejudice positively, and what we could do to combat it.

To break it down I said,

“Prejudice is when you look at a person, place or situation with ideas in your head, preconceived ideas, about how that person will be, or what that place will be like, or whether you could handle that situation, without actually knowing anything.”

We talked about how you could judge a person on what table they were sat at in the classroom, if the tables were set in ability groups, or a certain classroom, because you had heard about a particular teacher. Then we touched upon race too.

The children had never heard the term before which I thought was positive – you would hope that children under the age of 11 were not too aware of these things, much less exposed to it.

They gave me feedback on how they felt we combatted prejudice in the classroom, using Kagan seating, children had ‘buddies’ of different abilities on each table so they could help each other.

They suggested having an International Food Club, or lessons involving various multicultural instruments, or sports too.

All this was great, and as I left tonight, I was full of positivity, proud of the children’s ideas within the meeting.

Then I encountered a prejudice of my own. A fear of groups of loitering teenager.

Walking across the playground to our car park, I encountered three teenagers. They shouldn’t have been where they were. I asked if I could help them ( it was dark, by the way) and they said they were waiting for a cousin. That could have been true had it been half an hour previous, but at this time, most of the children have left.

They proceeded to climb equipment, so I requested that they leave. Luckily the caretaker came by then, and we both escorted them through where they said they had come, which was not actually a gate we had in use.

As they tried to disappear before we got close to them, one started climbing a fence, and I told him there were cameras, and that they should not come back here.

Of course, they finally made their way out, but not before telling me to “F off, you sl*g!” twice. I got the office manager to come out too, and she stood with us as they mouthed off. They also told the caretaker to “Go back home you P*ki!”, to which he said “You’re wrong there!” (He’s Indian, like me, not Pakistani!)

They loitered outside the gate, and I thanked goodness that I was parked in our staff car park at the other end of the school. The caretaker walked me to the car, mentioning that they had been in one of the other playgrounds, stating they were waiting for their sister before too!

I still drove my car surreptitiously past the entrance that they used to exit, to make sure they weren’t still there, so I could warn the Office Manager. Thankfully they had left by then.

In this situation, I fear my prejudice was well-founded. There are far too many teens that hang around the streets intimidating people walking past, sometimes, just by their presence, rather than by actually doing anything. This time though, they were on school property! And acting cocky is one thing, but had I been alone, they could have done anything, though considering they waited until they were half out the gate before slinging abuse at us, I doubt they had the backbone to try. But still, you never know…

I talk to my own child about this kind of behaviour, and hope he never thinks it’s okay to just hang about like that, and definitely not to trespass!

Okay, I’m off to chill myself out now!

Have a good evening Peeps!


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