It is almost end of 2008; what a year! It is 7 months since our move from Houston to Mumbai; a move many in my family and friends feel is a mistake. Favoring their rational is the recent senseless and brutal attack of November 26 that killed and maimed so many. However, we are beginning to settle, Maaha Zainab is busy with her friends and I am getting into a routine which is so busy, I am beginning to think I will not have enough time to complete my mission before I die...
What really amazes me is the illogical ranting by what I, until recently, believed to be a professional and balanced Indian press. The daily headlines and fine print against Pakistan, for perceived or real harboring of militants and implicitly in the attack is bizarre, to say the least. While I can understand the patriotism the reporters must feel at the brazen attack at their symbol of wealth and elite landmarks; there must be balances with some common sense, surely? How about admitting India's errors (there were oh, so many), put in progression plan to minimize the impact of future possible attacks (you will never be able to stop them until there is resolution to the Kashmir issue) and move on?
Here are some issues I have with the press:
1. They allege that ISI (Pakistani spy agency) left clues of their involvement - as if either of the spy agencies would leave clues after an operation in either countries. Give the respective agencies credibility of having at least some intelligence.
2. That India should bomb Pakistan because the killers were Pakistani nationals. It would then figure that USA should have bombed the hell out of Saudi Arabia because almost all 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia; the US bombed the hell out of Afghanistan. I have a suggestion: why don’t India go and bomb the restive border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan; perhaps they can do a better job of eliminating Al Qaeda and the Wahabees than Pakistan?
3. Lets face it; 10 determined killers were able to infiltrate the borders of India, then proceed to kill and maim hundreds of innocent civilians and then, amazingly, hold the country to ransom and make fools of security personnel and elite commandos for 3 days before being overcome. I shudder to think what could 1,000 radicalized, determined Muslims do? Violence begets violence. This Mumbai massacre was permutated by animals; so was the destruction of Babri Masjid and its aftermath; so were the massacres of Gujarat. These animals roam free as leaders of States within India and there is not a word of protest from the press. Muslims in India must be assimilated and treated as dignified equals for there to be sustainable progress in taming the enemy within.
4. There remains a lot of outstanding questions that need answers; questions that have been asked by the media and others that the State and Union authorities have no plausible answers. How could 10 killers armed to their teeth slip into a country without getting any attention? It makes no sense these men were able to come in, stay in Mumbai hotels for 2 days and then disburse to the 4 - 5 locations and begin shooting without being noticed. Once the shooting began, why the responses so pitifully slow? So disorganized? So uncoordinated? Why the top cops were send on a wild goose chase only to be killed?
5. Here is what bugs me the most; almost all attention is and has been paid to the elite and rich killed at 5 star hotels. Were the people killed at the train station less humans? Conveniently dispensable perhaps because they were poor? So it hurts when the cream gets whipped up, yes?
It has been an interesting year, all right. I look forward to 2009.