Sign Up

Attack on New York and Washington — The World Reacts

How did the terrorist attacks on U.S. targets shape public opinion?

September 14, 2001

How did the terrorist attacks on U.S. targets shape public opinion?

The United States still tries to come to terms with the attacks on two of its most potent symbols — the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Condolences, promises of cooperation and statements of ignorance poured in from all over the world. Our special Read My Lips feature captures some of the most poignant views which the world’s citizens and political leaders expressed.

Western Leaders

“In the darkest days of European history, the United States stood close by us — and today we stand close by the United States.”
(European Commission President Romano Prodi)

“The entire international community should unite in the struggle against terrorism.”
(Russian President Vladimir Putin)

“An attack on U.S. territory is an attack on the values that belong to all of us.”
(Italy’s Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero)

“A declaration of war against the entire civilized world.”
(German chancellor Gerhard Schröder)

“If an act of retaliation leads to a new destabilization, you haven’t won anything at all.”
(France’s Defense Minister Alain Richard)

“The world now knows the full evil and capability of international terrorism which menaces the whole of the democratic world.”
(British Prime Minister Tony Blair)

“This sort of terrorism will never be forgiven — and we feel strong anger.”
(Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi)

“It’s not easy to warn the United States in such a situation, but we must hope there will not be an irrational revenge.”
(Norway’s Foreign Minister Thorbjorn Jagland)

Muslim leaders

“We completely condemn this serious operation — we were completely shocked.”
(Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat)

“I wish to assure President Bush and the U.S. government of our unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism.”
(Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharaf)

“Mullah Omar says Osama is not responsible. We have brought peace to this country and we want peace in all countries.”
(Taliban supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, according to a spokesman)

“Regardless of human feelings on what happened, the United States is reaping thorns sown by its rulers in the world. He who does not want to reap evil should not sow evil.”
(Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein)

“With small capabilities, and with our faith, we can defeat the greatest military power of modern times. America is much weaker than it appears.”
(Osama bin Laden)

The world’s citizens

“America is such a strong country. How could this happen to her?”
(Beijing computer technician)

“I feel sad because now the Americans will be like us — scared, angry, not safe.”
(Teacher from Jerusalem)

“Palestinians have been crying and suffering, and now it is time for Americans to cry and suffer.”
(Taxi driver in Gaza)

“If they’ve chosen to be the world’s policeman, they should accept the consequences.”
(Bulgarian woman)

“I always thought of the U.S. as some sort of a Disneyland, innocent, naive and childlike, a place that didn’t have all the scars that we have.”
(Teacher from Jerusalem)

“Now they know what it feels like to be helpless and stare at the sky, terrified of what might come from up there.”
(Man in Belgrade)

“Beloved bin Laden, strike Tel Aviv!”
(Crowd of chanting Palestinians)

“This kind of terrorism can only be solved by solving the political problems from which it lives and benefits.”
(Ernst-Otto Czempiel, director of Frankfurt’s Peace Research Institute)

“We are all New Yorkers.”
(Frankfurt architect)