Drowning in 9/11 memorial coverage yesterday, I guess we were all thinking about the impact of that day on the shape of the world since.
Mehreen Zahra Malik the Pakistani journalist interviewed Pakistani politicians, many of whom say that Pakistan has failed to understand the impact of 9/11 on the region - and have done it at the high cost of Pakistani lives. The Pakistani military - always the ones controlling the country, whether on or behind the throne - still insists on stubbornly sticking to its guns by viewing India as Public Enemy No 1, instead of the hydra-headed home grown terrorist groups that are turning their senseless rage on their own people.
Suicide bombers and terrorism have dominated the decade. More than a dozen countries are mired in two wars that drag on, crippling all those involved, adding to the taxes and withdrawal of services affecting those who really can’t afford them. None of us can step on a plane these days without feeling the aftershocks of 9/11- from the extra security, to that extra almost subconscious ripple of fear as you buckle up your seatbelt, to those nasty plastic knives they give you to tackle the rubber omelet on your breakfast tray.
All my life I loved train travel, loved the feel and sounds and bustle of train stations, loved to settle in for a long train ride - but even these places, the great equalizers of our times, places where people from every walk of life come together for a brief moment - even these are not safe from threat.
I think back to the 70’s and 80’s when the world saw other kinds of terrorist activity - from the Bader Meinhof to the Red Brigades, the Shining Path and the Symbionese Army. Somehow all those groups have been discredited by their own populations, tired of senseless killing; they just ran out of steam and petered out. Can we hope for such luck with the kind of terrorism that opened this brand new century?
Let’s hope so.