October 2001

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An Independent e-Monthly
Vol. I Number 4

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The Day That Changed the World    

Suresh Jaura


South Asian Outlook e-Monthly would like to express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those lost in the tragic events of September 11.


September 11, 2001 will be a landmark date in the history of not only America but the whole world. It was a day that changed the world.

As Margaret Wente wrote in The Globe and Mail, published from Toronto, Canada, “ It (September 11) will change the American way of life and the American view of the world… Everything has changed, and the world will never go back to the way it used to be.”


“Some events change history, some change lives… our values, our attitudes, our very personalities will change, as happens with survivors of disasters. For we are all survivors today, all of us, in every part of the free world”, wrote Andrew Coyne in the National Post, published from Toronto, Canada.


People from across the world stood in shock and watched the terrorist attacks unfold in the United States. It was a day when people simply stood rooted watching the TV or listening to the Radio.  


There was fear of the unknown, a fear that more devastation was to come. It is almost three weeks and the uncertainty and the fear continues as to what is coming next, when and where, and what will be the reaction and repercussion of what America does.


The extraordinary scale and ferocity of the attacks on American targets has left not just the United States but much of the world reacting with horror – they amount to nothing less than, as Indian Defence Minister, Jaswant Singh, has put it, a crime against humanity.


No doubt, the bombing of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was another act of terrorism.


Many years ago, a Chinese theorist said: “Kill one, frighten 10,000.” In the modern times, in this age of terrorism, the axiom could well read: “Kill one, frighten 10 million.”


Jay Robert Nash is an expert on the history of terrorism. He is the author, amongst twenty other books, of a book titled: Terrorism In The 20th Century.


The book, published in October 1998, provides a detailed history of our uncertain times. It chronicles the history of worldwide terror, including accounts of political assassinations. From the destruction of the Los Angeles Times building in the 1910s to the truck bombs in Beirut in the 1980s and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the murder of innocent citizens is ever more becoming a real threat, he writes.


In the 1990s there have been only two interstate wars- Peru and Ecuador and Iraq and Kuwait, compared to 61 interstate conflicts. The resurgence of ethnic and religious groups has altered the behaviour of insurgent groups.

The ending of the cold war has dramatically changed the world security environment. With increased globalisation, international terrorism is fast emerging as the new threat to world order.


Today no state can secure its own security without developing co-operative and collective security agreements with its neighbours and the region.


A sort of irritation sets in amongst people in South Asia and the Third World, at large, when they watch the collapse of the World Trade Centre a hundred times.


They complain, "nobody takes notice when people die as a result of terrorist attacks in our part of the world. When it happens in the West – until now Europe – it is big news on all TV stations.”


The answer is: The Third World has not developed the means of making use of the electronic media to send across their message.


Notwithstanding the question, is a life in the West more valuable than a life in the rest of the world, this is the time to unite to fight terrorism by focusing on those who fund and support the terrorist attacks and not just bombing a country and killing innocent civilians, and dubbing that as collateral damage - which indirectly amounts to "state terrorism".

- Suresh Jaura
Publisher & Managing Editor