I can recall my mother crying upon learning of the assassination of J.F. Kennedy. I was just five at the time but I still remember a vague sense of innocence lost and outrage at a heinous act. My children, at a roughly similar age, witnessed the appalling events of ten years ago in New York and Washington, the images broadcast repeatedly across the media in a way that made them as inescapable as they were unthinkable. And yet I wonder what my children will remember after fifty years. In that context, perhaps the most thought-provoking of all the articles of commentary that have covered the op ed pages of newspapers and magazines for the past two weeks or more was a column by Francis Fukuyama (he of ‘end of history’ fame) in today’s Observer. His basic argument is that, ‘Since 2001 the most important world-historical story has been the rise of China. This is a development whose impact will almost certainly be felt in fifty years’ time. Whether anyone will remember Osama bin Laden and al-Quaida at that remove is a different matter.’ Fukuyama surely intends no disrespect to the almost three thousand poor souls who lost their lives when he argues that the attacks and the ensuing ‘war on terrorism’ were a ghastly distraction that masked the strong socio-economic trends that have since become so visible in the Middle East and Asia. I think my children will still remember 9/11 fifty years hence, if only with a sense of innocence lost and outrage at devastatingly heinous crimes similar to what I remember of JFK’s untimely death, but Fukuyama is surely right in arguing that, in retrospect, the events of ten years ago will be seen as a (particularly hideous) punctuation mark in the relative decline of ‘the West’ rather than as a tipping point. Perhaps, as a cogent editorial in this week’s European Voice implicitly argues, the best way we can honour the dead is by reflecting on how we might have reacted differently.