Understanding Mumbai, India and terrorism

By: Aditya Swarup · December 7, 2008 · Filed Under Politics · 12 Comments 

A week ago there were bomb blasts in the city of Mumbai in India. A lot of people at UWO have asked me whether I was affected by it. And to tell the truth: yes I was. A few friends of mine were witness to the blasts and shooting and a good friend of my dad’s was the head chef at the Taj Mahal Hotel and was shot by the terrorists.

But let me be really candid out here. If there’s something that surprised me more, it is the fact that a lot more people are talking about these attacks then they used to before. Why, a month ago there were attacks in Delhi where 47 people were killed; the northern province of Kashmir was blocked for a month where many more were injured. I won’t be exaggerating when I say that on average there’s an attack every two weeks in some place or the other in India. And as I ponder about it, I’d say that the only reason a lot of people outside India know about it this time is because of the fact that foreigners were affected by it. And something that does bother me is the fact that the value and concern for human life is now determined by how many people from another country (preferably developed) are affected by it.

The consequence of these attacks are grave for an advocate of human rights. The already seemingly unconstitutional laws are now going to get far more unjust and nobody is going to do anything about it. These attacks are going to be used as a justification to violate due process. To give examples: the right to habeas corpus would be delayed and relaxed, tests such as the truth serum, brain mapping and narco analysis can be performed to get the truth out; clearly violating the right against self-incrimination. And nobody, not even the Courts, are raising a voice against this.

So finally now there is a proposal to establish a federal agency to tackle terrorism and while every citizen is looking forward to it, constitutionally it may not be permissible. The reason being that like in Canada, we in India have a federal system. Constitutionally, control of public order is a provincial concern so the union cannot take it over unless the constitution is amended. While the emotions run high, legally one may not have the options to take action in this direction.

Let’s look at another angle to this, the noted spiritualist Deepak Chopra gives an interview to Larry King and states:

There is a potential impact of a lot more carnage. But it can be contained. And right now, one of the questions, you know, after I heard Barbara Starr talking about how coordinated this is, that there are militant groups that cross international boundaries, is who is financing this? Where is the money coming from? We have to ask very serious, honest questions. What role do we have in this? Are our petrodollars funding both sides of this war on terrorism? Why are we not asking the Saudis where that money is going that we give them? Is it going through this supply chain to Pakistan?

It’s not enough for Pakistan to condemn it. Pakistan should cooperate with India in uprooting this. They should be part of the surgery that is going to happen.

It’s not enough for Indians to blame Pakistanis. Indians should actually ask the Pakistanis to help them.

I have actually read Deepak Chopra and before this he specifically restricted himself to spiritual lectures, hymns and notes. So when Omar sent this to me, I was puzzled to say the least. He does not even have locus standi to talk on such an issue. It is best that the political be political and the spiritual be spiritual. Now during his interview he does raise some good questions about the financing of terrorism and the idea of it being a global problem, but that is actually not new. He asks us to give up on the phrase ‘War on terroism’ and look at this as a creative opportunity to solve the problem at a world level. What he and all other Indians need to address is not terrorism but a concern for human life. India is probably the only country in the world that has an armed conflict or a war in each of its borders and in such situations, death and the news of death turns out to be a mere statistic that later becomes a political issue. On that lines, Mumbai was certainly an exception that gets me wondering.

I shall close by putting below an email conversation sent by a close friend of mine hours after the blasts:

hey bro,
im fine, everyone in office is fine…but the city is not fine…everyone knew someone who was affected somehow. some lost their family members, some lost friends, and some lost their fellow indians…they were terrorists with clear missions, they held the taj gateway and oberoi hostage along with nariman house for 3 days, not fearing death and merciless towards people…it was a completely and total take over of our own home. they had gotten into our homes, killed everyone they came across and were willing to kill anyone else who came in their path…its damn scary that we had to fight to regain control of our city..hats off to the army, navy, police, and the rest of the security forces for the came back from behind and fought…but someone needs to teach these freaking politicians a lesson now…im hopin they understand from this and stop dividing the country over vote politics…and actually start paying attention to the large issues at hand..
anyways ..hope all is well with u ..u take care
Readers may also read the following posts on the Mumbai blasts;
- The Long-er Arm of the law
- The Prospective Federal Anti- terror agency

Comments

12 Responses to “Understanding Mumbai, India and terrorism”

  1. Bob Triallo on December 7th, 2008 12:02 pm

    Unfortunately, this latest attack will only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes in the minds of some. I guess radical groups don’t consider that their actions will affect those they claim to represent in a negative way, and only make things worse.

  2. Madison on December 7th, 2008 12:10 pm

    And in today’s news, Roy Niemi is arrested for strangling Alyssa Karen Watson.
    OPP is on alert for all white males with long hair, because they might just up and strangle women too.
    http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Crime/article/549751

    Bob,
    Violent criminals, irrespective of their motives and persuasion, rarely care about the demographic they belong to or how people will perceive others that peripherally resemble them somehow.

  3. ZZ on December 7th, 2008 12:12 pm

    The problem with stereotypes are the people who have them, not those that they stereotype out of their own ignorance.

  4. Bob Triallo on December 7th, 2008 12:24 pm

    I have to point out that this group acted using the name ‘Muhajedeen’, and claimed to be acting in retaliation for perceived injustices against muslims. So I think that motive here is important, because the group wanted their motive to be clearly known.
    I also think that groups like this want their enemies to believe that they have all muslims behind them, so that their enemies will perceive them to be much stronger than they actually are. Similarily, radical Feminist groups portray themselves as representatives of all women, violent right-wing militias claim to represent ‘The White Race’, eco-terrorists claim to represent environmentalists, etc…. in order to be viewed as being more powerful than they actually are. In reality those groups don’t represent anyone except for themselves, and a failed ideology.
    I just hope that mulsims World-wide will re-double their efforts to root out this kind of radical ideology from being preached in their midst.

  5. ZZ on December 7th, 2008 12:31 pm

    And Lepine claimed to be fighting for the male gender, just as broad and amorphous group as “mujahideen.”

    It’s funny you mention stereotypes, because you seem to have the worst kind.

    What makes you think radical ideology is preached in their midst? You obviously know very little about the issue, because most are motivated by politics rather than faith. There are some great posts on this site you should check out on the subject.

  6. Bob Triallo on December 7th, 2008 12:42 pm

    ZZ, are you denying that radical ideology is ever preached in the midst of muslims world-wide? I didn’t say Canada. I said world-wide. If you deny that fact, then I’m flabbergasted at your lack of knowledge.

    Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in Al-Intibaha – a Sudanese publication, October 5, 2008:

    “[However], the September [11] attacks placed Islam at the top of the global agenda. They brought it out of the [realm of theoretical discussion] and out of the hallways of secular pan-Arab politics, and set it in its proper place: [in a position of] pioneering leadership and impact on world events. [Even] if that is the only achievement of the September [11] attacks – it is enough.”

  7. ZZ on December 7th, 2008 12:48 pm

    Wow, and by reading your comments elsewhere you were complaining about quotes being used incorrectly.

    Al-Intibaha is a mainstream political newspaper. No theology there involved. And there’s far worse statements than that in mainstream Western media, including calls for widespread nukes. Free speech for us, but not for them?

    The problem is that there’s no clear distinction between church/state in most of the world, and observers out here have a tough time distinguishing which statements fall on what side.

  8. Bob Triallo on December 7th, 2008 1:08 pm

    “Widespread nukes”??? how about providing some proof for that one.

  9. ZZ on December 7th, 2008 1:16 pm

    You’re kidding me, right? Where have you been living, in a cave?

    Nuclear options have extensively been discussed for both Iraq http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0126-01.htm http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/25/world/fg-nuke25 and Afghanistan http://www.helium.com/items/602981-the-case-for-using-nuclear-weapons-in-afghanistan and more recently in Iran. http://works.bepress.com/anthony_damato/16/

    It’s been repeated over and over on mainstream television, and linked to policies leaked out of the Bush regime. http://www.counterpunch.org/nukelite.html

    Interestingly enough, Al-Qa’ida adopted it’s ideology from American use of nuclear weapons.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A365-2005Feb5?language=printer
    Their rationale – in any conflict where the U.S. sense it may lose or experience major losses, they will resort to nuclear weapons. When facing that kind of threat, a different type of approach was needed.

  10. Bob Triallo on December 7th, 2008 1:31 pm

    ZZ, you originally wrote that the Western media calls for widespread nukes in this, your statement:
    “Western media, including calls for widespread nukes”
    The links you provided merely discuss the Pentagon’s nuclear option. Nowhere in your links does any media call for widesprad nukes. In fact, your links show that the media were against the nuclear option, and expressed fear that the Pentagon might consider a nuclear option.

  11. ZZ on December 7th, 2008 1:33 pm

    Okay, you need something more explicit, because obviously you don’t watch American television.

    The irony is that the other side sees this too. And these kinds of proposed measures are the best recruiting videos they could ever come up with.

  12. Law is Cool Contributors on December 7th, 2008 1:35 pm

    We’re closing this post for now.
    As interesting as it may be, the discussion is way off the original topic above.