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Geographies of September 11th : How has the world changed?

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Presentation on theme: "Geographies of September 11th : How has the world changed?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Geographies of September 11th : How has the world changed?

2 Before and after

3 View from space

4 Ground Zero Ground Zero


6 Locale: Mapping Ground Zero

7 Location: U.S. regions pulled together Attacks took place on East Coast, we did not experience them directly in our backyard. Yet empathy and fear spread throughout the U.S. No more New York jokes. More identification with government workers (firefighters, police, mail carriers, etc.)

8 Sense of place: Hallowed ground

9 “Sacred” sites Shanksville, Pennsylvania Washington, DC New York

10 Reconstruction plans on 16 acres

11 Reactions to reconstruction plans

12 Reconstruction plans

13 Freedom Tower Freedom Tower “Reflected Absence” fountains in footprints of Twin Towers Rising 1,776 feet (tallest on Earth) with wind turbines on top WTC Memorial

14 Reconstruction priorities Skyscrapers vulnerable, provocative target Pentagon functional, expected target

15 Has September 11 “changed the world”? The attacks affected the entire world. The attacks primarily changed the United States. But changing the U.S. can in turn change the world.

16 Distance and might no longer protect the United States British burn White House, 1812 Japanese bomb Hawaii, 1941 Japanese fire balloons, 1944 Pancho Villa raids Columbus NM, 1916

17 U.S. civilians have experienced the pain of war Srebrenica, Bosnia, 1995: 7,000 dead Rwanda, Africa, 1994: 800,000 dead United States, 2001: 3,000 dead

18 Victims of the attacks were from 60 countries (including many undocumented workers)

19 Targeting of Muslim immigrants and other religious minorities Muslims Sikhs Jews

20 “Clash of Civilizations”: Lumping of the Islamic world vs. the West

21 Human Rights under fire

22 Russians flatten capital of Chechnya Use of Islamist terrorism to justify crackdowns

23 Israelis in West Bank and Gaza Indians in Kashmir Chinese in Xinjiang Conflicts intensify in Muslim regions (though not necessarily centered on religion)

24 Al-Qaeda as a product of globalization (Bin Laden exploiting and manipulating Muslims’ alienation) Poverty Corruption Foreign domination

25 Al-Qaeda as an example of globalization (Bin Laden the multinational CEO) Translated U.S. military leaflet dropped on Afghanistan Internet cafe Saudi bank

26 “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”? U.S. aided Islamic fundamentalists to fight Soviet Union in Afghanistan: "What was more important in the worldview of history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? A few stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” (President Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1996). Who are our new friends against Al-Qaeda? Are we now risking the same backfire effect (or “blowback”) again?

27 War in Afghanistan Bin Laden provoked U.S. to launch ground invasion? Bin Laden thought he would “fight the last war” that the Afghans had won against the Russians. Taliban were easy to defeat in war, but the “peace” can become more difficult.

28 Complex Afghan ethnic geography No matter which ethnic“warlord” we support, someone else feels we are taking sides

29 Caspian Basin oil and gas pipelines Plans for route across Afghanistan

30 New U.S. military bases 1.Gulf War, 1991 2. Yugoslav Wars, 1995-99 3. Afghan War, 2001 4. Iraq War, 2003 New U.S. “Sphere of Influence” in region. Bases built to wage the wars, or the wars waged to build the bases?

31 Current debates Does the “War on Terror” justify a permanent role for U.S. military bases and oil companies? Carries the risk of “overstaying our welcome” and causing a new “blowback”? Iraq War justified by linking Bin Laden, Saddam (though they hate each other)? Resentment/recruitment increasing since occupation of Iraq (Self-fulfilling prophecy?)

32 Confronting hatred at the roots “There has been a remarkable reluctance in America to confront the more complex historical dimensions of this hatred. The inclination instead has been to rely on abstract assertions like terrorists ‘hate freedom’ or that their religious background makes them despise Western culture. To win the war on terrorism…. begin a political effort that focuses on the conditions that brought about their emergence.” (President Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, 2001).

33 Geographies of September 11 Boundaries violated in attack on “homeland.” U.S. regions have a common grievance & experience of war. “Sense of place” of 9/11 attack sites. New phase of anti- immigrant sentiment DOMESTIC Islam vs. West geopolitical simplifications. Al-Qaeda as a product & example of globalization. Ethnic complexities of Middle East/Central Asia Natural resources (oil). New U.S. military bases Shifting international alliances FOREIGN

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