The End of 9/11

What exactly did 9/11 eventually come mean to us Filipinos?

Off hand, a lot point to encountering tougher immigration laws and fighting terrorism in our own backyard. However, it is easy to note that emigration remains unperturbed as the economic forces easily trump concerns of faith or politics. We have also seen a different side of terrorism as we continue to watch the lines blur between the government and the Muslim separatists they desperately combat.

Oops. And I should watch what I say. There’s that Human Security Act, too –a piece of legislation that is utterly insecure in and of itself, a product of a global regime defined by the double, no single, standard of terrorism as advocated by the world’s last remaining superpower. The United States government (let us make that emphasis clear) is as infectious in their idiocy as it is influential in its policy.

This guy may as well be their president:

But six years later, what does 9/11 mean to me now?

As a Filipino miles away from New York and whose only link to that hemisphere is CNN and the Internet, I often tag that day as a key moment in my intellectual life. However, my days of reading The Clash of Civilizations are now just a memory. I have come to criticize this theory as one that makes a realist approach to combating terrorism so convenient and thus so unrealistic. Even though that moment made me more interested in history and international politics, that has been six years ago. The geopolitical landscape has changed since then — read my article entitled “Shifting Sands: Going beyond a post-9/11 world” — and what I used to consider the legacy of 9/11 now belongs to the museum.

Though 9/11 passed without much attention here in the Philippines — we are more fixated on 9/12, the Estrada verdict — two things stood out for me yesterday.

First, I had to interview the CEO of Manila North Tollways Corporation in the morning, and the irony wasn’t lost on me that we were discussing the importance of infrastructure and public works in the anniversary of the biggest modern disaster in recent memory. If only it were as easy for everyone to just move forward and build together; that is one insight I’ve gleamed from a man who did not dwell on politics, but inspired his people and got the job done. (More details on this interview soon after I’m done writing the article.)

Second, a good friend of mine and a big brother to me finally embraced the atheist life. I’ve seen it coming and while I won’t comment on his “conversion”, I would say that his story belongs in a larger social ethos where atheism has grown especially after 9/11. This position is not difficult to understand when the reality of terrorism in America continues to raise a lot of concerns about faith, man and God. My friend’s story is a legacy of 9/11 as well.

Over the past years, I’ve written a lot about 9/11. While I can imagine that future events may compel me to invoke this event once more, I feel that I am at a point where I have exhausted everything I could say about it.

I have shared my condolence with the victims and expressed my condemnation for their killers. What followed next is a war caused by politics, aggravated by economics and fueled by faith. So what’s next? I don’t know, to be honest. I just hope. Nothing more has to be said when nothing more has to be written.

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