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the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48,
Philippines: Americas Reawakening
Art A. Borjal, The Philippine
Star (independent), Manila, Sept. 13, 2001.
Sept. 11, the American balloon burst. The United States thought
it would remain on top of the world for a long, long time, which
explains why it was so smug and complacent. America thought that
on its own, it could isolate itself from the woes of the world and
that it could remain indifferent to the plight of other nations,
big and small.
Engrossed with its acknowledged economic supremacy on almost all
fronts of human endeavor, the United States never thought that a
small but well-trained and committed band of terrorists could wreak
havoc at the heart of a powerful country. By carrying out that horrible,
horrific, awesome, and audacious attack on long-known American landmarks
in New York and Washington, the insane terrorists demonstrated that
America is not, after all, invulnerable and invincible.
There are several big lessons that America can learn from the attack
on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and on the Pentagon
in Washington. One is that the United States must, somehow, learn
how to return to prayer, despite its economic boom. It must learn
that not everything in human society is made up of modern machines
or the most sophisticated technology. That every now and then, there
must be a time for prayer and reflectionas a means of linking
hands with humankind.
The second lesson is that America must learn how to share its resources
and wealth of talent with other nations and people from all over
the globe. In particular, Americas superiority in intelligence
and in anti-terrorism work must be shared with countries that are
beset with various forms of terrorism. The United States should
realize that international terrorism is a common enemy of all peace-loving
nations. The third lesson is that time is of the essence in the
task of eradicating the terrorist problem. The highest priority
must be going after terrorist groups, whether they be in the Middle
East or in Basilan and Jolo [two islands of the Philippines].