From the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No. 11)

Philippines: America’s Reawakening

Art A. Borjal, The Philippine Star (independent), Manila, September 13, 2001

On 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 reflection—as 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, America’s 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].

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