OPINION

Commentary

There is no doubt that yesterday’s Black Tuesday will go down in history as a turning point in the post-Cold War world. This time it was not an isolated incident carried out by some Islamic fundamentalist, as in the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, or some paranoid ultra right-winger, as in the Oklahoma massacre two years later. It was something infinitely more serious: The sole military superpower, which has the capacity to monitor whatever happens in the world with its satellite systems (like Echelon), was subjected to a chain of coordinated terrorist attacks from Manhattan to the Pentagon itself. At this time it is natural that the element of human tragedy should prevail. As these lines were being written, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani estimated the number of victims in the thousands. But concerns over the new, unprecedented dimensions of terrorism and the consequences that yesterday’s tragedy will have for the whole world also come to the fore. Terrorism, of course, is nothing new in the Western world. The Black Panthers in the United States, the RAF in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy and Action Directe in France were the dramatic epilogue of the great leftist movements which had already been defeated. But these organizations limited themselves to attacks on isolated military or civilian targets symbolizing American imperialism and multinationals. In the post-Cold War era, we have witnessed an infinitely more devastating terrorism – in the Tokyo subway, in Oklahoma and now Manhattan – carried out by fundamentalist, religious or ultra right-wing groups without any political aim, their only motive being that of the destructive hatred felt by those who believe themselves left out of global economic and political developments. This development reveals the dramatic instability of the unipolar world, a world which, instead of leading to a New World Order is descending into a geopolitical disorder of unbelievable brutality. The search for scapegoats is easy but unproductive. The difficult – but necessary – thing is to provide political answers to the severe social and national problems of the modern era, which fertilize the ground on which the terrible flowers of evil blossom.