Gen X at 40

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SayNay? -

9/11(read: the terrorist threat to harm the West) is the seminal event of this generation – so far. It has changed the landscape for discussion on issues of security, immigration, multi-culturalism, Islam, Saudi-Arabia etc. It has put the “left” on the run. The fact that there exists in this world people who don’t want to sit at a table with you, but simply want to blow the table up, and have beliefs and agendas with which there can be no negotiation, no compromise, no “meeting of demands” is an idea which was seemingly foreign to our left-leaning liberal democracies. The elephant is in the room, and its potential to destroy not only the room and the house, can’t be ignored anymore, certainly not by Bush, not even by the likes of Kerry.

Alan -

Good return. The left comment hangs unsubstantiated - as this is not left or right on the democratic scale - but otherwise terse and to the point. The right is as much on the run by ther way as their theory of war contains no end game and no plan for decisive victory, just coping, and the number one partner in the game is the centre-left government in the UK.

Shelley -

Agree with SayNay above. Perhaps because my experience is more local than global, which I think is the case for many people. Vietnam, Pol Pot, Afghanistan - even to an extent, Iraq - were things that happened in the headlines. 9-11 happened here in the sense that, it's our industry being affected by increased border security, it's our law enforcement that has had to revisit emergency procedures, it was friends and relatives of my friends and relatives in those towers that day. So yeah, if not the sole pivotal event, then definitely at the top of the list.

Adam in Montreal -

I would say 9/11 is about as pivotal a moment in my life as I can think of -- the only thing that beats it in terms of symbolic import was probably the fall of the Berlin Wall. But then, in a lot of ways the two are linked, not causally, but as bookends of the very weird 90's.

I'm 30. I used to stay awake at nights terrified of nuclear war. I followed the Reagan/Gorbachev talks like most of my school chums followed the NHL playoffs. So I'm nervous by nature.

It's not really the fear of another attack that keeps me awake at nights now. It's the growing belief that we are headed back into a new "Great Game" in the Mid-East and Asia. So to me, yeah, even on the day it felt like I was witnessing a new axis on which the world would start turning.

So far, to my eyes, that still holds true.

Alan -

That is an interesting observation and one that has not clicked with me but perhaps might yet. One of the things I did - along with many of my pals soon after the Berlin Wall fell - was teach in eastern Europe, me in Poland, pals largely in the old Czechoslovakia. Growing up in Nova Scotia near air and navy bases with the awareness that the Soviets had specific warheads aimed specifically at us, it was quite an emotional revelation to work in a Polish port city in 1991 with Soviet soldiers, a tank base and supersonic jets booms from time to time...and also a great welcome and warmth - and food. The effect was to destroy the myth of the eastern enemy as starving autobot that we were taught as much as they were taught that we capitalist running dogs. As a result, I am leary of fears of the war of ideas or the masses of ideological enemy. Nothing is that simple or black and white, that Oman and Tunisia somehow sit on the same side of a wall opposed to us as the real evil of the Saudi leadership or Al Qaeda.