Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the tragedy of the twin towers. On the 11th day of the month, four planes were hijacked by terrorists and two of them crashed into the World Trade Center complex in New York. Around 3000 people died that on that day, around 6000 were injured. Office workers, first responders, people that were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I still remember that day very well, I was just a kid, only six years old, watching his favourite TV show with his best friend when suddenly the beloved TV show switched to an emergency broadcast narrating what just had happened in New York. I was shocked and scared and all I was thinking about were the unlucky victims.
Sadly, death and sadness were not the only consequences these attacks had, after just one day all our lives were changed forever. New security measures were introduced in order to counter terrorist action, carefree travel would have never been the same.
Many people were not happy with these changes but public opinion and the governments agreed that they were truly needed to ensure the safety of travelers and avoid devastating attacks like the one in New York. 2001 was just the start of the Islamic war waged on the west and since that day western countries have been victims of countless attacks, from the not so recent London and Madrid attacks to the latest massacres such as the Niece and Bataclan Theatre attacks.
Recently the terrorists discovered a new strategy, renting trucks and vans and charging into crowds of people. This tactic has changed the shape of public spaces in European cities with the introduction of concrete roadblocks in previously open areas and an increase of armed soldiers in urban centers.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has recently been pushing for EVEN MORE security measures to counter terrorism, focusing on online communication. It is well known that countless accounts exist, that glorify Islamic terrorism, especially since ISIS started to use social media to spread gory videos documenting their atrocities. Digital communication has been adopted by every Tom, Dick, and Harry, so it shouldn’t be a surprise, that terrorists use it too. There is, however, no guarantee that May’s idea of online counter terrorism stays exactly that and won’t be extended to put the aforementioned Tom, Dick, and Harry under surveillance as well.
Again, many European countries are showing a tendency to turn into police states, parallels to George Orwell’s “1984” are becoming obvious to the most casual observer. Most European governments are developing an uncanny taste for online censorship, often using terror attacks as an excuse to push for new “security” measures. They truly never let a good crisis go to waste.
In the last year, tens of citizens have been arrested and fined for online “racist” comments in countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. A man in the UK had to face jail time for a comment he made online, directed against the Muslim community, another man in Scotland was arrested for teaching the Nazi salute to his dog and is now currently facing charges for hate crime and antisemitism.
Defending ourselves from terrorism is very important, but when are we starting to defend ourselves from our governments?