I COULD write recent events, like the massacre, our new CNN Hero, and even the rumor surrounding Krista Ranillo and the Pacman. That makes me appear like a journalist, or in case of the rumor, showbiz reporter.

But to write about a decade demands a more exacting discipline of historian, one who is meticulous in details and yet has an eye for the bigger plot unfolding in history.

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I am not your mainstream journalist nor do I qualify as historian. But I guess the lack of either does not prevent me from writing about the past decade.

Minutes before the clock struck twelve midnight, the first hour of the year 2000, I was talking with my neighbors about the Y2K. The Y2K bug would crash computers, machines, and engines. There would be a global panic. The doomsday was coming.

It turned-out there was no major problem except the paranoia that preceded the date.

If the 90s saw the breaking down of Berlin Wall, and the epitaph to the Cold War written in the tombstone of history, 2000s saw another clash of global proportions.

September 11, 2000 shaped the events of the past decade. Two wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan were waged as a result. Travel has been inconvenient. In airports, you have to remove your shoes and belts. My wife's perfume was confiscated at the Hong Kong airport. Suicide bombers were not limited in the war zones of Lebanon and Israel.

The security nets throughout the globe have been tightened. The awesome powers of the state have been foisted, and even encroached on personal liberties, thanks to Anti-Terrorism laws. The US and even other democratic European states have been charged with violent interrogation techniques, a form of terror method to combat terrorism. Ironies indeed abound.

Clash of civilization, it is a phrase to describe the events that followed after 9/11. Pundits have it that Western civilization and Islam are collision. The phrase is another translation of a phenomenon which only confuses instead of clarifying the issues.

The suicides bombers, Osama bin Laden, and his tentacles are called extremists, and at times, fundamentalists. Extremists live in the fringes of society, few souls who do not conform to the norms, and not mainstream.

To say therefore that these radicals have raised a clash of civilization against the Western world is to elevate the few as the representative of the many, the exception as the norm. Quite the contrary, the mainstream Muslims do not condone the terror acts of the extremists. So how can the Osamas be waging war in behalf of Islam?

If there was real clash, it was between reason and insanity, between order and chaos. This is the real clash that breaks the barrier of race and culture. What we have are irrational men challenging civilization itself. How can killing of the innocent justify the slogan of justice?

While I read about global warming sometime in the 90s, its effects however were so real only with long droughts and floods which inundated the country during the last decade. US mainland was not spared with the fury of nature. Typhoon Katrina has shocked an otherwise military superpower which was humbled by an anemic rescue operation.

It was only last year that I thought the heavens would not stop crying with the almost two weeks of continues rain. Many areas in the city were flooded.

In our country, the democratic gains of the 80s and 90s were almost stolen completely by President Arroyo whose lack of height is compensated with insatiable thirst for power. Lacking in clear electoral mandate, she coddled the military, nurtured warlords who delivered votes, and flirted with extension of term beyond the constitutional limits.

In our city too, we were slapped with the worst insult by a vice-mayor who refused to preside the City Council, a function inherent to the office. After 100 absences, the people including the media stopped counting.

The saving grace for the decade was Manny Pacquiao. The country virtually stopped during his fight. He raised the banner of the Filipino race.

You too have the OFWs. They are the new wandering Jews of Asia, after the Chinese Diaspora. You find them in the mansions in Hong Kong as maids, in factories in Singapore, in the engineering projects in the Middle East, and in hospitals of US and Europe as nurses. Without them, the paper boat would have long sunk already.

But above all, the digital world is here to stay. I cannot imagine a day without my cell phone, and blog in the cyber-world without my notebook.

We may not know that in this new decade, the stem cells would be substituted with optic fibers and micro-chips.

We will never know what is at stake a decade from now. We have to be content in living the details of the historical plots. [email comments to tiburciopalasan@palasanlaw.com]