I was curious about how people in foreign countries perceived 9/11 and Markela and I had an interesting discussion about 9/11, during which I found out a lot about viewpoints other than those of Americans.

One thing I found very interesting and that I asked Markela more about is the fact that 9/11 has been processed largely as a conspiracy enacted by the Bush administration in other countries. Some conspiracy theories have surfaced in the United States, but they are not talked about as much here and believing in these ideas is seen as unpatriotic or even treasonous; conversely, without the patriotic duty that Americans feel obligated to live up to, citizens in other countries have been much more critical of the government’s role in 9/11.

Markela said, “If it wasn’t for the massive international dismay of the public, some huge administrative errors & a few curious individuals, like the filmaker Michael Moore, we may have still been ignorant of the fact that 9/11 was nothing more than a carefully planned atrocity…a crime against humanity. I guess that there were people who were suspicious from the very beginning, even though they could not have been aware of the actual facts behind the scenes. The Bush administration, in my view, could never be truly trusted.” I think it is incredible how conspiracy surrounding 9/11 is construed as fact, hardly questionable. Michael Moore apparently has a big following overseas, which is interesting considering how much he is hated in the United States by some Americans. I suppose he may be seen to some people as a threat to patriotism and a sense of security. The facts he brings to the surface are frightening, which makes it more difficult for an American to accept the fact that maybe his/her government cannot be trusted.

Markela and I talked about the media’s role in the varying perspectives of 9/11 in different countries. She talked about the flow of information and how it simply flows better in European countries, giving the citizens more information from more sources. Then I responded to her with some insights on America’s flow of information and how it may affect reactions to conspiracy theories. I said, “I can definitely see how the flow of information can develop conspiracy theories abroad. In America, our media is criticized for puppeting government officials and being sort of an extension of the government’s thoughts. This flow of information is highly limited, as information flows from the government, to the media, to the citizens. There is very little room for interruption along this path of information. Michael Moore does his best to break this path and increase flow of information from other sources, not just the government.”

As an historian herself, Markela is always critical at first when she learns about a conspiracy theory. She checks facts carefully, and I feel that in America our perspectives might change slightly if we were to suppress fear of not being able to trust our government for a moment, just to look at the facts. However, this objectivity is difficult to achieve amidst a highly patriotic culture.