By Duke Staff
The more things change, the more things stay the same. From the grunge-rock genre to Fox News, so much of American culture, experience and perception of the new millennia is derived from the major events of the 1990s and early 2000s. But there are demons that we’ve been battling as a society for years now that also have their roots in these decades passed.
While many of us youngsters were sipping juice and coloring outside the lines back then, there were major developments being made in global issues that still haunt us today, and as we come of age in this world that the past has built, it’s our responsibility to stay informed, take a stance and speak out against these social plagues so that there might be a brighter era to come.
Jihadist terrorism has been on an upward trend since the 1990s, with the emergence of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. In 1993, the World Trade Center was hit when a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower, killing six people and injuring thousands. This trend reached an apex with the September 11 attacks in 2001, during which life was forever altered.
These events propelled America into a war that’s still being waged today. The war has left a scar on our history, with nearly 3,000 soldiers dead and more than 20,000 wounded. In addition to the cost in human life, CNN estimates an approximate $841 billion has been spent in Afghanistan alone, putting America even further in debt.
Another unforeseen byproduct of the conflict in the Middle East has been the rise of Islamophobia in the United States. However, we mustn’t demonize entire groups for the actions of a select few, no matter how detrimental those actions may have been.
Also prevailing as a widespread issue in the decades preceding the 1990s was the considerable increase in campus sexual assaults. It has risen 205 percent since 2001, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Why? There are too many factors to consider to even speculate the direct cause of the problem, but it’s very much so our responsibility as the up-and-coming leaders of a generation to be part of the solution. We can’t accept these statistics as the new normal, and we can’t stare at them with apathy under the impression that they won’t happen to us.
The past serves as a means of education as well as a basis for both self-improvement and collective development toward a better tomorrow. As our world continues to cope with the issues that first surfaced long before many of us were old enough to understand them, we need to assume command of a changing society to make sure that it changes in a way that’s positive. We ought to be more informed on our shared history so we might ensure that mistakes made are learned from rather than repeated.