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Comparison: “The Price We Pay” and “An Oral History of Adama Bah” Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2020

The stories of Mayblum and Bah were written on 9/12 of 2001 and starting with 3/24 2005 accordingly. They feature the events that happened during and after 9/11. Mayblum presents a detailed description of his evacuation from WTC in New York, and Bah documents her arrest in East Harlem, interrogation and imprisonments due to the suspicions of her being a suicide bomber. Both stories target average Americans.

Mayblum’s story is structured to demonstrate the events from a witness and a victim present in one of the Towers, but unaware of what was happening. Bah’s story captures the audience by emphasizing her total innocence and lack of understanding of the reasons for such harsh treatment from the side of the government. The stories’ key and tone are similar, but their chronological length is different. Bah employs subheadings to divide her long story into parts and themes, while Mayblum’s writing is an undivided essay.

“The Price We Pay” by Adam Mayblum and “An Oral History of Adama Bah” by Adama Bah contain the descriptions of the lives of these two people before and after the tragedy, the ways they suffered were different, but the common trait of the stories is that neither of the authors had anything to do with the people who arranged the disaster of 9/11, their people are completely innocent. Both of the stories are written to pass the knowledge about the tragedy and make the world realize how many innocent lives this tragedy hurt or took away.

The perception of the outcomes of 9/11 is very different from the sides of both authors. At the end of his story, Mayblum states that “the very moment the first plane was hijacked, democracy won” (par. 13). However, the story of Bah demonstrates that the treatment of Muslim people in the USA of that time was far from democratic, she writes, “even though everything is said and done, I still live in fear of federal agents taking me or any of my family members (89).

At the same time both, the survivors of the attack of the Towers and the victims of hate crimes that followed the tragedy experienced similar emotions such as fear, panic, frustration, and stress. The events of 9/11 put a beginning to an anti-Islamic era in the American history and resulted in hundreds of hate crimes, some of which ended with deaths of innocent people (Dado, par. 1).

The discrimination happened on such levels as employment, accommodation, profiling, and harassment (Post 9-11 Backlash, par. 2). Just like Arab Americans and Muslim immigrants, the survivors of 9/11 that managed to escape death are still struggling with post-traumatic stress and suffer from constant reminders of the void on the place where the WTC used to be (Cooper, par. 2).

The story of Mayblum describes the events of one day, while Bah and her family had been oppressed in many ways for several years. Mayblum writes that the threat of a terrorist attack is the price Americans pay for being free (par. 13). At the same time, Bah’s price for freedom were years of discrimination, interrogations, hate, imprisonment, and separation with her family members; she had to give four years of her young life to be able to feel at home in the USA again.

In conclusion, “The Price We Pay” by Adam Mayblum and “An Oral History of Adama Bah” by Adama Bah demonstrate the rapid and sudden change in the lives of two American people thrown to the opposing sides in the conflict of 9/11, although both of them, just like many of their mates, turned out to be the victims of that tragedy. While Mayblum’s faith in democracy strengthened, Bah lost her trust in government. The authors of very different stories equally miss their lives the way they used to be before 9/11.

Works Cited

Bah, Adama. An Oral History of Adama Bah. Cooper, Glenda. 9/11 – Survivors of the Twin Towers. 2014. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-136382/9-11–Survivors-Twin-Towers.html>

Dado, Natasha. Hate crimes against Muslims only escalating 10 years after 9/1. 4 Jan. 2013. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://www.arabamericannews.com/news/news/id_6246>

Mayblum, Adam. The Price We Pay. 29 Dec. 2001. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://www.chron.com/news/article/Adam-Mayblum-s-e-mail-message-2058403.php>

Post 9-11 Backlash. Saalt. 2014. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://saalt.org/policy- change/post-9-11-backlash/>

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IvyPanda. "Comparison: “The Price We Pay” and “An Oral History of Adama Bah”." March 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-the-price-we-pay-and-an-oral-history-of-adama-bah/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Comparison: “The Price We Pay” and “An Oral History of Adama Bah”." March 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-the-price-we-pay-and-an-oral-history-of-adama-bah/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Comparison: “The Price We Pay” and “An Oral History of Adama Bah”'. 21 March.

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