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ss triple helix - autumn 2003,  September 11 - Two years on - Let's keep it in perspective

September 11 - Two years on - Let's keep it in perspective

The September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 were a great tragedy - with just over 3,000 deaths in a single day. And the people killed were infinitely more important than the companies they worked for or the buildings they worked in. The grisly events were witnessed, and will rightfully be remembered, all over the world for many years to come.

But in our remembering, let's not forget those other deaths unnoticed by the Western media - every day on this planet in the developing world 110,000 people die, largely from preventable causes:

  • 46,000 people die of infectious and parasitic disease
  • 27,000 people die of circulatory disease
  • 11,000 people die of perinatal and maternal disease
  • 10,000 people die of cancer
  • 6,000 people die of respiratory disease
  • 10,000 people die of other causes including trauma

And about 40,000 of them each day are children. Let's also not forget that between 1991 and 1998, during the period of UN sanctions, there were 500,000 extra child deaths in Iraq over and above what would have happened naturally - 5,000 extra child deaths a month for 8 years.

We may debate the causes but many of these children died because of the embargo on food and drugs, the effects of radiation (the US used 300 tons of depeleted uranium weapons in the Gulf War), and the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure resulting from the war. The Western world through its 'management' of the crisis bears not a small part of the responsibility. In fact, ironically, economic sanctions have arguably taken the lives of more people in Iraq than all the weapons of mass destruction in history.

Poverty and injustice kill far more people than terrorism - and if we fight terrorism without addressing poverty and injustice, especially that which we have created, exacerbated or failed to rectify ourselves, then history and indeed God himself, will be asking some very serious questions of us and our generation.

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