Sunday, September 11, 2011


On this very day ten years ago, I became witness to one of the world's greatest tragedies. The economic heart of America was struck, not by a lighting but with a poisonous arrow. It was this act of carnage that would eventually take the United States to its place today.

It was a Tuesday evening. I just got home after a long day of juggling school activities and running my dad's publishing company at same time. I could not recall where my dad went that week, but after my successful 2-week management duties in his company that summer, he often asks me to look after its day to day operations when he flies out of the country.

I was tuned in to the Kapuso Network while waiting for the late night news. Since school took up most of my time, my responsibilities to the publishing house was limited to writing my dad's column. Prepping myself up before I choose the subject to write for the tabloid's next day publication, a news ticker suddenly appeared below the TV screen. It said the World Trade Center was burning after a second passenger plane hit the South Tower. 

Urgency called that I switch immediately to CNN to find out what was taking place in New York. I learned that two planes had collided with the office towers in an apparent terrorist attack. The events happened so quickly, there were unconfirmed reports that a third plane hit the Pentagon and a fourth one crashed somewhere in Philadelphia.  

When one of the towers collapsed, you could see the incredulous look on the faces of the news anchors. Indeed, in tragedies of this magnitude, one can never hide the human trappings of even the most stoic people. Being a Journalism student at that time, the September 11 attacks and its aftermath gave a glimpse of what the profession is all about. From my dad, I've learned to speculate where the events would lead to, and from CNN, the truth that news never sleeps.

I was able to finish my dad's column before midnight. On the other side of the world meanwhile, the senseless plane attacks would reveal that it was a well-planned terrorist attack. In the months and years to follow, we would become witness to a much bigger tragedy - the great American disillusion.

The column I have written that night of the attack (Manila Time) is still with me. Apparently, the much younger Mugen still had to learn to get his facts straight before publishing an article that will be read by the masses. While much of the details there swung far from the truth, I ended the article with a grave warning:


"...Ang mga pangitaing ito ay nakakapag-paalala sa mga unang sandali ng World War 2, nang ang bansang Hapon ay biglang binomba ang Pearl Harbor. 

Sa oras na malaman ng Estados Unidos at mga kaalyado nito na isang bansa ang nasa likod ng kawalanghiyaang ito, ika nga ni Uncle Joe:  “No Mercy,” giyera at Nuclear Bomb ang maaring abutin nila. 

Para sa atin at sa iba pang tao sa mundo, maaring ito ang magsimula sa muling digmaang pandaigdig.  Ito ang maaring magdulot sa ating tuluyang pagkawala sa balat ng lupa. Ngunit higit sa lahat, di-mabibilang na inosenteng tao ang mamamatay sakaling mangyari ito.  Ang may kagagawan ng trahedyang ito ay masahol pa sa Abu Sayaf.  Ang mga terroristang ito na marahil ang sugo ni Satanas upang maghasik ng lagim sa mundo. 

Maraming inosenteng tao ang namatay sa dalawang magkahiwalay na pag-atakeng ito. Marahil marami pa ang madadamay sa mga susunod ng mga araw.  Marahil ito rin mismo ang maging mitsa ng isang madugong digmaan.  Kung hindi natin pag-iisipan at damdamin lang ang ating susundin, pagkawala ng mga tao sa mundo ang maaring kahantungan nito. 

Ako ay nagkokondena, nakikiramay at nagbababala mga tol 

Ito’y isang seryosong usapan."  

Sa Bisperas ng Di-Nalalayong Digmaan
September 12, 2001

History tells that I was right, somehow. But now that a decade has passed and we remember the day of the fallen, I would like to ask, were the actions taken by the United States really gave justice to those who have died. Or did the most powerful nation on Earth fought two costly wars in vain?


Désolé Boy said...

Upon the death of Osama bin Laden, when more videos and journals and other materials of him from his camp came out, my stand against the al-Qaeda somehow softened. They rose, not because they are terrorists to begin with, but because they themselves are once victim of terrorism.
Once, Osama bin Laden and his cohorts of what we call Islamic extremists, also watched in their bleeding skylines their very own Twin Towers crumble into dusts.
Such grossly deranged ambition brought all these wars to the innocents, like the victims of 9/11. The fighting lords, both camps vow to bring justice to their respective people - the cycle of war continue to spin.
You asked, were the actions taken by the US really gave justice to those who have died? I still don't know. And the books and the journals and even history won't give me answer upon my search. But only thing I'm sure though is that only through peace that there could be justice for all.

the green breaker said...

Para sa akin, hindi malayong magkaroon ng Ikatlong Digmaang Pandaigdig.. But that would be on a different ground. Sa dami ng gulo ngayon, isang tao lang ang hinihintay para sindihan ang mitsa.

Sean said...

We remember the tragedy of 9/11 for the lives that were lost. But will we remember the tragedies of the recent financial crises for the loss of jobs, savings, and basically life as we know it? Chos!

Leo said...

Suicide bombing or in this case, suicide plane crash still baffles me. This is so sad.

ZaiZai said...

I saw the events of 911 on tv and couldn't believe it. it was as if I was watching a movie. I remember I actually checked if I was on CNN and not HBO.

anyways, we all wish eternal repose to the fallen, and may something of this severity never happen again.