Terrorism War Generates New Fears For Americans
By: Stephanie Wall, Grade 12, Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler MB
Canadians have all heard that the events of September 11 have changed life forever. Although it's obvious that the world is a different place now and that nothing will ever be the same again–many Canadians, especially teenagers, feel that their life continues just as it did before. So, how has life really changed?
Mrs. Tena Lane of Winkler, Manitoba offers an inside view on her personal fears about this war and the effects that it is having on people. As an American living in Canada, Lane says that she feels safe. However, she feels that she should be in the United States, even though there really is nowhere to be.
Both the Canadian government and people have proven themselves to be very supportive during this time of vulnerability for Americans. The Canadian media, however, tends to be a frustration to Americans, because along with its accurately reported facts it often includes an underlying negative tone towards the United States.
It is obvious that no one is going to be unaffected by this war against terrorism. Everyone feels turmoil and an underlying fear of some kind about this war. "I felt like I should be there," says Lane, "and as the events unfolded, I worry about my family, and I worry about the country."
There is also a fear that this war is going to turn into something that it was not intended to be. The Middle East has, for a long time, been a hotbed for political unrest and violence. The particular extremist group involved in this war is obviously willing to die at any cost to get its message across.
"I fear that this small extremist group is going to turn this event and the response to that attack into a holy war," says Lane. The actions of this extremist group cannot be extended to all Muslim people, because people of Islam who truly adhere to their faith, don't believe in violence. However, although many people don't like the actions this group took, they also do not like the United States, so they may tend to side with these people.
"Americans want to defend their freedom and way of life at all costs," says Lane, "and right now, you're seeing a defensive reaction to what's happened." In the United States, respect for the flag is ingrained into American citizens from an early age. Right now, many Americans feel extremely vulnerable, which is why they are displaying their flag now more than ever. The American flag is a symbol to people in the United States of freedom, democracy, and of the "American Way", and Americans guard that quite closely.
Americans in the United States have always experienced a sense of security that terrorism and war happens somewhere else. There hasn't been war within the United States since the Civil War, and although terrorism has been going on in the world for a really long time, nothing has touched quite as closely as this has.
"What this does, this whole event, and all the events that are happening now with Anthrax and everything, it's taking away that sense of safety that we've had," says Lane. "When you feel vulnerable like that, it changes the way you think about life and the world."
Tena Lane believes that most people have a fairly good awareness of the state of the world's affairs and the potential for danger. It is joked about sometimes to relieve the tension, but in the back of everyone's mind are the questions: "Well, is it going to be my plane?" or "Are we next?"