Midweek Review
Day the world changed?

by Dushy Ranetunge
As the civilised world grieved the massive loss of life and property in New York, some Arabs in Libya and Middle East were seen celebrating, firing their weapons in the air and dancing.

The London Stock Market was closed on Tuesday and an announcement was made that it will remain closed on Wednesday amidst fears of a global meltdown.

Security in other world capitals were re-evaluated and tightened with most British government departments and sensitive institutions raising their level of security a step up to condition amber.

World leaders singularly condemned the cowardly attack by terrorists and President Bush vowed to hunt down the perpetrators of this dastardly crime.

But these threats by the US President sounded hollow as such threats have been expressed by US Presidents in the past, after attacks on US installations in East Africa and the Middle East. The man held responsible for those crimes, Osama Bin Laden still remains at large. He is widely believed to be responsible for Tuesday’s attacks as well, but other than firing cruise missiles at Afghanistan, the US seems impotent against Osama, a wealthy Saudi turned international terrorist.

Despite various anti-terrorist pronouncements by Tony Blair and George Bush, terrorists and their sympathisers thrive in Europe and North America raising funds and destabilising countries around the world. Despite the bans against terrorist organisations in the US and UK, their cells are still in existence and active in these countries raising funds, disseminating anti-American and anti-democratic propaganda and furthering their terrorist causes.

In the US and the UK these various terrorist groups co-operate and sympathise with each other, considering themselves as the aggrieved against what they see as imperialist aggressors.

The situation in countries such a Canada, Australia, France, Germany etc. is much worse as no anti-terrorist legislation or anti-terrorist initiatives are in place to combat terrorist fund raising and propaganda. We have Canadian ministers patronising functions organised by terrorist fronts and enhancing terrorist fund raising capabilities. Almost all these countries have given broadcasting licences to terrorist front organisations to legitimately broadcast their propaganda via minority radio and television enhancing their fund raising capabilities.

Then we have the free press. One Sri Lankan inquired if Marie Colvin of the London Times is planning on a trip to Afghanistan to interview Osama Bin Laden’s outfit and tell the world of their "oppression" at the hands of the "great Satan"???

Another inquired if Lloyds are planning on increasing war risk Insurance premiums on flights and ships into the US.

Fighting terrorists is like fighting mice. If one eliminates them from one household, they will still start coming in from the adjoining properties. Therefore a truly global effort is needed to fight this curse on humanity. If you use cheese to catch mice the first week, it will not work the second week as the mice would have worked out a way of taking the cheese without triggering the trap. Similarly rigid systems cannot be put into place to fight terrorism. Even as those systems are being implemented, the terrorists would have found a way of circumventing it.

So far the world has failed in its attempts to fight terrorism, because it has adopted these traditional democratic law enforcement techniques.

Osama Bin Laden is not going to admit to attacks against the United States and it is highly unlikely that the United States is going to find evidence against Osama that will stand up in a court of law.

The modern day terrorists use cutting edge technology, brings together a wide array of skills, with access to huge resources, (very often raised in the West) and has access to the best lawyers and advice to out-smart the democratic system.

If the world leaders are serious about fighting terrorism, they have to look beyond the traditional law enforcement systems at their disposal and put in place a truly multi-faceted, multinational response to international terrorism and go after this plague with a vengeance until it is eradicated.

The incident on Tuesday has shaken America as it has never done before. One US Senator compared it to Pearl Harbour. International terrorists had breached fortress America and attacked its very foundations. The World Trade Centre, which stood proudly as a potent symbol of the most successful nation on earth has been brought down in a matter of hours, reducing it to dust. The heart of Americas military might, the Pentagon is on fire, all under attack by suicide mad men who had hijacked four passenger aircraft simultaneously from three US airports.

Will Tuesday 11th September 2001 be the day that changed the world? Will this day prove as lethal to International terrorists, as Pearl Harbour was to the Japanese?