Sept. 11, 2002

One Year Later

Sept. 11, 2002
People gather by the former site of the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2002 (Photo: AFP). 

Jidda Arab News, Sept. 11, 2002: The fact that those responsible for the attacks were allegedly our fellow Muslims and perhaps even our fellow Saudis should make us stop and ponder. We must ask ourselves for reasons. Who were these people? Why did they do what they did? What led them down that path? The first two questions are probably the easiest; it is the third which may take us into regions we do not want to visit and force us to ask unpopular questions which may give rise to even more unpopular answers. But this must be done — coolly, calmly, and as unemotionally as possible. We must investigate and if, in the course of our investigation, we stumble upon things that are unpleasant or unpalatable, we must confront them as honestly and sincerely as we can and then act according to the principles and directions of our great religion, Islam.
—Khaled Al-Maeena

London The Guardian (liberal), Sept. 11, 2002: If the calculated mass murder of 3,000 innocent civilians, from 80 countries, many of them Muslims, just ordinary working people going about their business on a sunny September morning, was not an act of absolute evil, then I have no idea what is. The more serious problem with presidential rhetoric was that the Manichean struggle between good and evil, freedom and terror, was not just the beginning but apparently also the end of any sustained attempt to articulate just what, in this particular life-and-death struggle, was truly at stake.
—Simon Schama

London The Times (conservative), Sept. 11, 2002: This… is the paradoxical conclusion on Sept. 11. In a vast number of ways that contribute much to the conduct of life, it has altered very little. In a small number of extraordinarily important spheres, it may change everything. We are only at the beginning of the attempt to understand what this will demand of capitalist democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In that sense, while it is Sept. 11, 2002 today, the hands on the clock have barely moved since Sept. 11, 2001.

Tehran Ryoodad (online, reformist), Sept. 11, 2002: We believe that in order to root out the scourge of terrorism we need to eliminate the roots of hate. Injustice... is the most important factor contributing to the spread of hatred and animosity among nations. Humankind can reach peace and prosperity only through relying on its rich and diverse cultural heritage and through dialogue among civilizations....

We believe that there is still time to rethink and review the ideas of the American authorities and to bring peace and security to all the nations in the world, especially the great people of the United States of America. The government of Islamic Republic of Iran also should consider its national interests and use all its diplomatic might to reach this objective. It should regard all peace-loving governments and nations as potential allies in an alliance for peace. Iran should represent the moderate face of Islam... and oppose military adventurism, isolationism, and divisive policies.

Johannesburg The Daily Mail and Guardian (liberal), Sept. 11, 2002: The United States we think we know is not the new United States that is emerging in the 21st century. This poses a challenge to reflexive anti-American stereotypes. It also cautions against the temptation, on both sides of the Atlantic, to pretend that the United States and the rest of the world are engaged in an apocalyptic struggle on behalf of good and evil. That isn't the case either. The real United States is more ordinary, more normal, and more sensible—and getting more so every day. The problem with the United States is its government.

What they, and we, need is regime change.
—Martin Kettle

Jakarta The Jakarta Post (independent), Sept. 11, 2002: Americans are not alone. Civilized nations and their people share the hope that terrorism will no longer be allowed to exist. However, they are much luckier than Indonesians. The U.S. government has done much and will continue to do more to protect its citizens. In Indonesia, the victims of terrorism bear the burden alone and are lucky if they are not subjected to the blame-the-victim tendency, which is common here.
—Kornelius Purba

Toronto Maclean’s (centrist newsmagazine), Sept. 16, 2002: For the first time in history, Americans' personal security and their national security are the same thing. A nation protected by two ocean moats for more than two centuries is also finding that the front line of the war against terrorism is the home front. The importance of this change cannot be overestimated.

But the administration's inclination to steam ahead in world affairs without consulting others is back, to the great distress of allies. Domestic bickering, which disappeared after Sept. 11 and after anthrax letters closed down the Capitol and forced the decontamination of a massive Senate office building, is back. But whether Americans like him or not, Bush has remained perfectly true to himself. That's why no one was surprised when the President paused at the Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, ME at 6:15 a.m. one day in August, and before teeing off deplored the latest suicide bombing in Israel. "I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers," he concluded. "Thank you. Now watch this drive." That's the real George W. Bush. Unvarnished and, alas, unchanged.
—David M. Shribman

Jerusalem Arutz Sheva (right-wing, pro-settler), Sept. 11, 2002: There are some lessons that Americans could learn from the Israelis: There is far greater willpower and resilience in a democracy than most people imagine; it is much harder for a democracy to fight terror, because of self-imposed restraints, but eventually, it works; and finally, by carrying on with their precious way of life, democracies slowly but surely are defeating their enemies.
—Uri Dromi

Manila The Philippine Daily Inquirer (independent), Sept. 11, 2002: America did not mourn alone after the horror of Sept. 11. America's grief was also the world's grief. And it was not only because of our common humanity but also because the sons and daughters of many nations around the globe were incinerated and crushed into dust when the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground.

But it is doubtful now if [Bush] has the world behind him as he threatens to carry his war against international terrorism further. It is not because the rest of the world doesn't recoil in horror at the wanton destruction of Sept. 11. Neither is it because other nations want to coddle terrorists. The problem is that only British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seem to agree with his definition of who is a terrorist. Even America's allies in Europe and its neighbors, like Canada, cannot agree that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a terrorist and poses a threat to world peace.

Moscow The Moscow Times (independent), Sept. 11, 2002: The United States must continue to work together with Russia and other nations to counter the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. These threats, which respect no borders, are transnational and can only be countered by international cooperation. We must be guarded toward countries that sponsor or turn a blind eye to terrorist organizations. If a country possesses weapons of mass destruction, makes itself a haven for terrorists, or both, we must respond. The world did little to thwart the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and thousands paid the price. We cannot allow this to happen again.
—Alexander Vershbow

Cairo Al-Akhbar (government-owned), Sept. 11, 2002: Despite the condemnation by Arabs and Muslims of the cowardly attacks on the United States in September 2001, Washington, by being even more flagrantly biased towards Israel than ever before, has since added the fuel of discontent to the already inflamed feelings of despair and frustration among Arab and Muslim peoples. Americans have gone a step too far in rending equal the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence with the heartless atrocities of the Israeli occupation, the crimes of which are more repulsive than the terrorist attacks on the United States. Israeli forces have been using state-of-the-art American-made weapons against an unarmed Palestinian people in full view of the international community. The September events, though needlessly calamitous for Arabs and Muslims, could have helped awaken America's conscience and put it on the right path towards justice and international legitimacy, had it not been for the Zionist-controlled media, who, taking advantage of the September attacks, gained greater support of Israeli terrorism, now hiding behind an American mantle to achieve its expansionist goals at the expense of the Palestinian people's rights.
—Galal Dowidar

Singapore The Straits Times (pro-government), Sept. 11, 2002: [When I saw the attacks on TV,] I said: “Wow, I hope this is not done by a stupid group claiming to be Muslim or doing it in the name of Islam.” I feared the fallout if it was so. There has been a lot of impact on the Muslim community all over the world. Many Muslims feel somewhat under pressure as the crime is attributed to a group of Muslims. For what the group did—whoever they are, Muslim or not—they deserve serious punishment. But it is regrettable that there is something in the air which blames Islam or Muslims as a whole. Also worrying is the potential divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, whether it's in the United States, Singapore, or other parts of the world.
—Mohamad Maidin Packer Mohamed

Tokyo The Daily Yomiuri (conservative), Sept. 11, 2002: The Bush administration's continued opposition to both the Kyoto Protocol and the U.N.-initiated International Criminal Court betrayed expectations that the United States would march in step with the international community concerning such multilateral pacts after the solidarity shown by other nations for the U.S.-led war against terrorism. Consequently, an increasing number of countries began to perceive that the United States was acting arbitrarily, a portrayal that was not ignored by Washington.
— Kiichiro Harano

New Delhi Outlook (independent weekly), Sept. 16, 2002: The pain and grief [New Yorkers] endured as a result of the attacks of Sept. 11 have been used by their leaders as pretexts for a bogus, brutal and self-serving “war on terror.” I can’t imagine a more obscenely disrespectful commemoration of the victims of Al-Qaeda than the infliction of multiple World Trade Center-style horrors on the people of Iraq. Meanwhile, New Yorkers themselves will continue their myriad daily battles for survival and security, having far more in common with their counterparts overseas than many of them imagine.

Karachi The News (left-wing), Sept. 11, 2002: It is with the United States moving toward increasingly unilateralist interventionism in the world that international norms and treaties, created over the decades, stand threatened. In many ways, the post-9/11 trend towards political globalization within the U.S. unilateralist mode will threaten economic and cultural globalization—since it will push a global agenda through national power rather than international cooperation. The challenge to this will come from other political forces, not the religious force of Islam. The clash between civilizations or globalization trends is of a politico-cultural nature—between the forces of politico-economic hegemony through uniformity on the one hand, and the challenge from the forces of diversity and the have-nots on the other.
—Shireen M. Mazari