Thursday, November 26, 2009

26/11

Today is 26/11, which is written 11/26 by Americans. This 26/11 date is an important date for it marks the one year anniversary of the Mumbai attacks.

One year ago today, 10 men from the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, entered Mumbai by boat and proceeded to attack the city. The standoff would last four days. The men managed to hijack an Indian fishing boat by killing all of it's inhabitants and sailing it across the Arabian Sea to Mumbai.

Once landed, the men placed two timed bombs in separate taxis, then stormed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the Mumbai railway station) and Leopold Cafe (a popular restaurant and club) with machine guns and other weaponry.

These men also attacked and bombed the Nariman House (a Jewish center in Mumbai) and two hotels called the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident.

The events quickly became a hostage situation that was muddled greatly by a misrepresenting media. There are reports that CNN, among others, were reporting the hostage had ended when it had not. There are also reports that the police force was receiving much of their information from a media that didn't know diddly.

The stand off ended after four days, 166 were killed and over 300 were injured. Nine of the ten gunmen were killed when the Indian National Guard was called into action. The lone survivor, Ajmal Kasab, is waiting for his trial. Patiently, I'm sure.

This is a big deal. It's India's 9/11.

Do you remember this happening? I vaguely remember hearing of the attacks in a more "Oh yeah that happened over there. Sounds familiar" kind of way. I can be so self-absorbed like that.

Security in India is everywhere. Most hotels, restaurants and shops have guards to check baggage. The nice ones have metal detectors and x-ray machines. It seems to be working - as they've yet to be attacked again since.

Here's a photo of Spouse with the guards to the driveway of our hotel. They use a mirror to inspect the nether-region of the vehicle for bombs.

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It's a bit disconcerting the first time they search your vehicle. I'm beginning to like it now, however. Gives an opportunity for guard-guest type interaction. That and I can sit here in this cozy hotel room, write frivolous drivel and feel more safety than I do at home.

Pakistan and India have a strained relationship. Pakistan was formed in 1951 after India was granted independence from the British, thanks to that non-violent, uber-righteous Mahatma Ghandi. The Muslim people wanted their own nation and were given the north-western peice of India. They called it Pakistan.

And that friends, is your world news five minutes.

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Sarces: Wikipedia, Aljazeera in English, and the India paper left at the doorstep, The Daily News and Analysis. (That too, in English. Just to clarify any lost in translation issues.)

4 comments:

Lars said...

I don't know whether I should appreciate the fact that I can romp around the U.S. so freely compared to this or be concerned that we don't take the same protective measures as other countries to prevent such travesties occurring again.

I am going to go with appreciation. I am really loving these posts. Way to demand interpersonal reflection from your readers Rabid.

rabidrunner said...

OOOooooh Lars. That is a great question - one that has no easy or correct answer. Safety is good and security procedures bring safety (at least in theory). But honestly, it produces unnecessary fear too. I mean there must be terrorists everywhere if all buildings have security right? So if they aren't in the buildings, they're out on the streets.

I'm in Pune. They've never had a terrorist attack, but they are using the same security procedures as Mumbai.

I kind of like not having metal detectors everywhere. I realize that is a risk. I don't want to think about terrorism on a daily basis because that means the terrorists win. If you have security everywhere, you are thinking of terrorists every time you see one.

But that's just me.

rabidrunner said...

What the hell are you doing up at 4:29 AM? Isn't that 2:29 your time?

Lars said...

It indeed was 2:29 a.m. for me. I have insomnia and usually only get 4 hours or so of sleep if I am lucky. I was up packing and perusing blogs.

I think you are right on with the alarmist theory. I would think that more terrorist attacks occur on the streets in open markets or plazas where security really can't be controlled. In some aspects too much safety reminds me of the book The Giver. People need to experience things in order to have instincts and emotions such as fear etc. so they can survive on their own and be aware. A perfect world is a nice concept but as Jack Handy once said, "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." I think he may be right....