I was at home watching live television as the second plane hit the towers. I knew immediately this was an al-Qaeda-inspired atrocity and that the world would never be the same again. Within half an hour I was writing a comment piece that began: "Remember, remember the 11th of September: gunpowder, treason and plot." It was a day like no other in my lifetime, and not because it was the first atrocity - nor even because it was the first 9/11 (that was the murderous, US-organised coup against the socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, on 11 September 1973).
Nor was it the worst atrocity of our times - the US-backed Israeli government, in which Ariel Sharon was defence minister, facilitated the massacre of even greater numbers of defenceless Palestinian refugees in the Beirut camps of Sabra and Shatila. But it was clearly a harbinger of a slaughter across the world that would, in the end, consume the lives and livelihoods of millions in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond, and which continues today. I said then that there would be war throughout the world and so there has been. Most Americans thought these planes had emerged out of a clear blue sky. In fact, they emerged from the swamp of bitterness and hatred created by western double standards and injustice towards the Muslim world.