If, in the months following the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001, one had asked a very simple question, namely, 'what lies beyond Huntington's thesis?', the almost universal answer, from scholars and the ill-informed alike, might have been: The Paradigm Spectre of Ground Zero. The following survey and analysis is based on contemporary media records.
As we have already noted, on 11 September 2001 two suicide airliners smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, thereby precipitating in the ensuing hours the total destruction of those buildings. A third airliner plunged into the Pentagon, while a fourth was brought down near Somerset, Pennsylvania. The world media headlines, regional, national and international, were huge, stark and apocalyptic, as the following examples illustrate:
• A declaration of war (Guardian)533
• US on war footing as thousands die in hijack jet outrage (Guardian)534
• 'We got down to the outside and it was like an apocalypse' (Guardian)535
• America in flames (Yorkshire Post)53,6
• Terror from the sky (Yorkshire Post)537
• Dhu'r fi Amrika [Terror in America] (al-Quds al-'Arabi)538
The constant leitmotivs were war, apocalypse, flame and terror. Devotees of Nostradamus (1503-66), the sixteenth-century Provençal seer, sought confirmation of what was happening in his quatrains.539 Innocent Muslims, and many of Asian appearance, were attacked; some were murdered.540 At one stroke, the twenty-first century was inaugurated as The Age of Terror.541
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