The world has been left with a sense of vulnerability and insecurity since the terrorist attacks in the United States five years ago today.
September 11 has become a remembrance day for not only the victims in America, but also the people who were killed in Madrid, Moscow, Bali, Jakarta, Beslan and London. The massive and tragic sideshows in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, are left in oblivion.
Over the past five years the world has still not found an answer to the big question posed by the September 11 attacks. Or to be more precise, it has come up with many answers, contradictory to such an extent that they create confusion, instead of clarity.
Seemingly, the United States and its allies have had successes. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where al-Qaida operatives were being trained, is no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is in hiding, and the hunt for him goes on. Saddam Hussein is in custody and a new Iraqi Government has replaced his regime in Iraq. Meanwhile, the White House latest report that clears Saddam's connection with the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks has reduced one of the ruses for invading Iraq.
But terrorism, as demonstrated by attacks in Russia, Indonesia, Spain, India and Britain, remains a great and growing global menace.
Terrorism carries no name-tag of ideology and nationality. In fact, the stretch of the definition on terrorism with ideological and national labels is questionable and dangerous.
Today, in Afghanistan, hostages are being taken, and attacks continue throughout Iraq.
A war was waged on terrorism five years ago today. Fighting terrorism has turned out to be the first and foremost trying to resolve the problems exploited by the terrorists.
Terrorism as a threat or justified violence when used against a civilian population to advance political ends goes to unbearable extremes and is incompatible with the most basic concepts of civilization.
However, the international community should not reduce international affairs to the war on international terrorism. Fear should not be made a political motivating force. It should not play into the hands of the politicians that keep some parts of the world busy with unfathomable ups and downs on the terror threat color scheme.
Given the way things stand, global terrorism cannot be defeated with even the most sophisticated weapons.
The world remains guessing how exactly the war is supposed to have made the globe safer.
The answer to terrorism, the biggest problem facing the world today, will be given only if the root causes are found and eradicated.
Five years ago today was a black day for humanity. It is even more tragic that some have not learnt a lesson from this tragedy.
(China Daily September 11, 2006)