How Did 9/11 Really Change the World?

Marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 tragedies that left 3,000 dead in three locations on American soil, a commissioned set of essays have been published in the September 2011 issue of the Geographical Journal that explore the ways our world has changed since the series of events that transpired that fateful Tuesday morning.

For most of us who remember exactly where we were when the news was reported (or directly witnessed), there was no doubt that some drastic turning point in history was taking place then and there while most of us around the country — and the world — were left helpless to do much more than watch and wonder and worry for those in peril. But how did 9/11 really change the world, and what are the effects we’re feeling a decade later in that dreaded day’s aftermath?

How Did 9/11 Really Change the World?These essays, edited by Simon Dalby of Carleton University and written by geographers and social scientists including Derek Gregory and Neil Smith, tend to agree that the world did change after 9/11, but in ways not necessarily expected by pundits, “experts,” and public, alike. They suggest that three factors are important in understanding 9/11’s legacy: acceleration, intensification, and opportunism.

Acceleration pertains to the event’s role as a catalyst for creating and enforcing new legislation for counter-terrorism, surveillance, and public policy.

Intensification is how projects designed before the events of 9/11 to monitor and secure activity and travel around national borders escalated in expenditure and scrutiny.

Opportunism describes how the the events of 9/11 led to the establishment of the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay and bogus WMD (weapons of mass destruction) intelligence allowed for public perception to sanction the 9/11-unrelated, 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in your own way, read the essays, and come to your own conclusions at the Geographical Journal.

Photo above by Cyrettin Yüreklikatır