September 11

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One of the endlessly repeated phrases we heard in recent weeks is that nothing will be the same after 11 September. Certainly, there is change at the level of perception or publicity, but I don't think we can yet speak of some fundamental break.

What worries me is how many Americans perceived these bombings as something that made them into innocents: as if to say, until now, we had problems, Vietnam, and so on. Now we are victims, and this somehow justifies us in fully identifying with American patriotism. That's a risky gesture. The big choice for Americans is whether they retreat into this patriotism — or, as my friend Ariel Dorfman wrote recently: 'America has the chance to become a member of the community of nations. America always behaves as though it were special. It should use this attack as an opportunity to admit that it is not special, but simply and truly part of this world.' That's the big choice.

We face a challenge to rethink our coordinates and I hope that this will be a good result of this tragic event. That we will not just use it to do more of the same but to think about what is really changing in our world.