Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Attacks

This is not the first time Mumbai has been attacked by terrorists. This is not even the first terror attack in India. Bombings, shootings, religious violence and such are common in India. In fact, last summer there were a series of blasts in Hyderabad, just a couple of hours before I boarded the flight back to the US. This summer there were blasts in Ahmedabad, close to where I was living. That being said, I do not remember any other time since the 1993 serial bombings that Mumbai has been under seige. I have been watching CNN and Fox news on and off, and I do not remember any other time that US News media have spent so much time reporting Indian bombs. To most of them terrorism is only Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden. I find it aggravating that everything has to be compared to Al-Qaeda. India has been attacked by several different groups that have been around long before Bin Laden became a household name in the US.  Here are two groups that are the usual suspects in India for any such attacks: Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba. I do not care who these guys are and if they are really to blame for half the stuff they are alleged to have committed. However, there is a pattern to such events in India. Here is the usual chain of events after any such attack in India:
  • Attack happens somewhere in the country (usually medium to big sized city)
  • Indian Media goes ballistic, reporting live and being ridiculous for the most part with speculations, accusations (not even allegations), a lot of gory images, and the same story repeated for 3-4 days on every single news channel. In fact they even use the same news feed on every channel. 
  • Prime Minister and other politicians go on live TV to say they will do all they can to bring justice to the victims and their families and hunt the terrorists down.
  • Either the Prime Minister or the Local Minister/Politician, offers a boatload of tax payer money as ex-gratia payments to the victims, the injured and their families. (In the current Mumbai case it is Rs.500,000 to those killed and Rs.50,000 to those injured)
  • PM usually blames Pakistan based groups (usually with no proof)
  • Pakistani officials deny it vehemently
  • A special task force is appointed to investigate
  • Two days later, something new happens and this is forgotten
  • Life goes on as usual for all until the next attack, when the sequence of events are replayed on TV sets across the nation.
Cruel as it sounds, we are used to such terrorism. I am surprised at how many Indians living in the US say that they feel very unsafe in India, and demand that the government do more to make them feel safe. Do they really believe that terrorist acts cannot happen in the US? Besides, what can the government really do? Can the government really watch out for every single person without infringing on basic rights of freedom? Its easy for me to sit here and speculate about the incompetence of the Indian government and officials. However, are any of the other Western, developed countries really better? They certainly seem to have a more organized set-up, but how can one compare events that are not comparable and say one group of responders are better than the other. I am certainly not defending the Indian task-force response to the attacks. I am not an expert. Besides, there's enough BS from people in the media already. Where the heck does Deepak Chopra get these ideas from? I do not see the Obama connection. Neither do I see this as a concentrated attack on Hindus. If anything, I see this as an attack on rich and affluent people. 
In my opinion, these attacks are a never ending cycle. Now that the Jewish community has been attacked, I am pretty sure the US is all riled up to bomb some places in Kashmir, or wherever they find that these groups are from, as part of the war on terror.   Here is my earlier thought about such attacks and my solution to it. 
Amidst all the drama in Mumbai, here is a story that would have otherwise hogged the headlines. My prayers are with all the victims, in India and elsewhere and their families and friends. 

1 comment:

Pramod Biligiri said...

I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now.

While I agree that the market is ultimately the solution to these things, at times ;ike these most people suddenly want the government to act tough, not realizing that governments cause these problems in the first place :|