Published: Thursday, 9 September 2021

Ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Oxford City Council reflects on the significance of the anniversary for people in Oxford and across the country.

"This year's 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is particularly poignant. The regime that harboured the terrorists of 9/11 is back in control of Afghanistan, and we are once again dealing with the humanitarian fallout. Today we are welcoming Afghans to this country who have worked alongside us, and others who are targets for the Taliban because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or beliefs. This anniversary, with heavy hearts, we cannot talk about the progress we've made, but we can reflect that our strongest response to oppression is to remain true to our values and unbowed by attacks on our freedom. 

"In this country, and in our proudly diverse city, we believe in equality, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, we value education for all and we challenge racism and discrimination. As we welcome Afghan refugees whose lives are at risk for sharing our values, we should recognise their courage in living that life. 

"We remember too the courage of all those service personnel and families who gave their lives, who have suffered injury and loss in the last twenty years. I know many now are asking what that sacrifice was for. This is an incredibly hard moment for them all, but their sacrifice was made to uphold those values we all share. This world will always contain fear and oppression, but when we stand up those forces we show the best of ourselves and we give others the courage to do the same. They will continue to give others courage. 

"All those of us who were around 20 years ago will have vivid memories of where we were when we first saw those terrible images. Now we stand together to remember all those who lost their lives twenty years ago, those who gave their lives in the conflicts that followed, and their grieving families.

"Our best response to all the loss must be to continue to champion the values that we cherish, including welcoming those fleeing the Taliban because they upheld them. I would like to thank the many people in Oxford and Oxfordshire who have made offers of help."

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

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