As Americans look back at how their lives have changed in the 10 years since 9/11, the Voice of America is inviting people from around the world to share the events that have most shaped their own lives.
The project, called “What’s Your 9/11,” uses a mix of social media and traditional media to gather personal accounts of life-changing events that have impacted young people in their own countries. Each video, audio or text story adds to a growing online archive of experiences from around the world.
“Since 9/11, we have lived in terror and fear of what might happen next, where a bomb might go off next,” says 24-year-old Aarzoo who reflects on how the attacks changed Pakistan. “Everyone’s comfort zone kind of ended,” 14-year-old Kerrigan says of her hometown in Virginia.
For 27-year-old Nareg from Armenia, the 1999 shooting in Armenia’s parliament shattered the newly-independent country’s confidence, and inspired a generation of young people to pursue careers in public service.
32-year-old Xiomara talks about how far her country, El Salvador, has come since the end of the Salvadoran civil war.
One 25-year-old Pakistani man describes how he felt after the 2011 assassination of a moderate political leader, who was gunned down because of his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. “We felt outnumbered and isolated,” he says, “most of the people around us supported the killer and made a hero out of him.”
VOA web editor Jessica Stahl and reporter JulieAnn McKellogg, the creators of the project (http://whatsyour911.com), say they wanted to create a place where people could come together to share their stories.
“The 9/11 terrorist attacks deeply influenced a lot of Americans, particularly young Americans who had grown up in the relative calm of the 1990s,” Jessica says, “and while attention turns to the 10 year anniversary of that event, we wanted to capture how 9/11 changed our lives, and give others, who have experienced life changing events in their own countries, a place to come together and describe how their world was altered and how they felt.”
Stories can be submitted as video, audio, or text directly to the whatsyour911 site. Stories can also be submitted through the Facebook and Skype links on the site.