Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reading Mumbai

It's been days since the Mumbai attacks but the rate at which I feel compelled to track the stories hasn't abated for some reason. Call it morbid fascination, the need for closure, whatever. Twitter #Mumbai has been my best friend this past week. I track and read numerous tweets whenever I get a moment to spare.

Among everything I've read, the stories that left the most impact on me were the ones that either horrified me or touched me in a very visceral way. (Nothing upset me more than reading about the torture handed out to the victims by the terrorists or that the commandos returned the treatment a few days later.)

Part of captured terrorist Amir Qasab's story which gave me insight into just how much the Lashkar hates its own people
"My father sells dahi wada on a stall in Lahore and we did not even get enough food to eat from his earnings. I was promised that once they knew that I was successful in my operation, they would give Rs 1,50,000 [almost USD 4,000] to my family,"

Michael Pollack's dinner in Mumbai goes south in a very bad way
"The terrorists repeatedly slammed against our door. We heard them ask the chef in Hindi if anyone was inside the office. He responded calmly: 'No one is in there. It's empty.' That is the second time the Taj staff saved our lives."

Anosh Irani, who I believe has a great Indian novel in him somewhere, relives his connection with the Taj
"I essentially grew up in the hotel. And I would have been there on Wednesday night, browsing in its bookshop, and at the Leopold Cafe nearby, if it were not for the last-minute distraction of a soccer match in my neighborhood."

Ashish Chowdhry narrates how his world has crumbled
"If there is anything that can hold me together now and not let me crumble fully, are the two small innocent lives who in a matter of seconds lost the two people who were their world. Who only waited not understanding why their parents haven't returned from dinner yet."

The Daily Show's John Stewart and John Oliver put together this segment which captures a terrific sense of rage and helplessness
The almost imperceptible flaw in the strategy of these industrial strength douchebags: "We hate and kill everything you stand for. Join us!"

20 comments:

Lin said...

I'm sorry, but why the hell would they identify which terrorist has been gotten alive. I understand there is the video of the people at the train station attacking them, and then the police taking him. But still, initially after the Taj seige officially ended, they were reporting they got another one alive.

So even if that was false, don't give info out on which is the one alive that the gov't has.

And I may be just being too sympathetic. Obviously he's not going back to Pakistan. But what about his family? No, it would be pretty wrong for his family to get the money. (Though it must be said, the other ones that are dead--their families will probably get the money, if Lakshiba has intentions to keep its promise.) I'm not grieving the lack of money his family may get. But what about the safety of his family? Who knows if they had anything to do with this?

It's just really thoughtless in s lot of ways.

And that part in the forbes article about a parliament member saying on live t.v. that a whole bunch of people were safe in the Chambers, how dumb can you get? I think I vaguely remember something like that being reported on t.v. when it was all happening.

Aspi said...

What I found really amazing about all of this is that for all the rhetoric from the terrorists about avenging their brothers and sisters, protecting the religion and going to heaven over a jihad - it all boils down to cash money. If it wasn't such a bloodbath, it would be downright hilarious.

Joules said...

Follow the money as it is so often said.

They could'nt hide "baby-face"'s capture. After all he was the one caught most on the camera. As far as his family goes, like the palestinians they may live in an area where "martyrs" like him are celebrated. Sometimes they even reveal this information so the terrorist abandon their future plans. It has been reported that 5 terrorist may still be at large.

I found this story really depressing -http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1091318/Jewish-mother-killed-Mumbai-attacks-pregnant--son-2-beaten-militants.html.

To me these people were evil, whether they were on cocaine or not, whether they were paid or not. Seriously they had no reason to torture hostages and terrorist in the past have never (as far as I know) tortured their hostages in such a savage way.

Ashish C.'s writeup was very touching. Can't even imagine what he and many others must have gone through.

girlie girl said...

"I'm doing this all for Jihad and that way I'll go to Heaven one day!" TO me, that reads, "They pay me enough money and since I dont want my family to starve to death, I'll kill other innocent people!" What a load of crap!! I get that poverty makes you do things you're not proud of but this is crossing all sorts of limits!!! And those f***kin terrorists say that these boys did this to go to heaven and be with God, Bullsh*t!! They did this cause if they didn't their families would either A) die from starvation or disease of some sort, or B) killed by you!

Grr...This situation just gets me so rilled up!

P.S. I just heard that there was shooting at Delhi Airport...anyone know anything??

Aspi said...

There was a bit of a scare in New Delhi just now. BBC reported shots at the airport - 6 gunmen killed. NDTV reported the detaining of a white ambassador. And everyone started pointing to it. The story has now been downgraded to "a scare". Boy is everyone on a nerve's edge.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7766139.stm

meena said...

Why are the terrorists going after jews in India so viciously? I find this inexplicable and thoroughly disorienting. didnt the average islamic terrorist from the subcontinent have his hands full with the kashmir/Indian/Hindu thing? We have a perfectly good mix of home-grown hatreds alive. why are they dragging Israel in? I tell you it made me feel like India was one of those strife-torn arab countries.

Joules said...

meena, I believe its to get more coverage in the international press. Unfortunately, it also reveals a side of the American press that they only get involved when a certain segment is suffering.

John Oliver is on mark when he says they have f***ed up strategy.

musical said...

The airport incidence, that is scary, at multiple levels!

m said...

apparently pakistani media have started their conspiracy theories saying that the terrorists were hindus and they were paid by indian politician to win elections

apparently a lot of people over there believe it

like a lot of Muslims think that 9/11 was perpetrated by jews.. like srsly

Aspi said...

I'll link whatever I find interesting here:

Obama's advisor for South Asian affairs Bruce Riedel has some pretty damning statements about Pakistan's involvement.

It means essentially two things: (1) the US is getting some idea of how terrorism needs to be controlled globally - you can't just defend within and (2) they are desperate to reassure India enough that their interests in Pakistan are protected.

Aspi said...

Azam Amir Kasav - the wikipedia entry

Aspi said...

Boston.com has an excellent collection of pictures of the siege. A lot of them are somewhat brutal so don't look unless you specialize in torturing yourself like me.

Anonymous said...

Upset with the mealy-mouthedness of both Obama and Bush governments. If evidence is found blah-blah-blah.

girlie girl said...

I love how in one article, Condi Rice is talking about making peace not war!! I personally cracked up when she said that...India Can't go to war after someone attacks our country but the US has every right to go to war for oil and personal vengence!! Anyone see the irony in that?!?!

Aspi said...

Rakhi Sawant on the Mumbai Attacks:

"Had they airdropped me from a helicopter in their rescue operation, I would have danced in skimpy clothes and seduced all the terrorist inside and would have killed them one-by-one. I know, eventually they will also kill me, but I do not mind dying for my country."

Cinderella said...

i'm home finally,and Hyderabad seems scary again!much more than how it was after the blasts.then i had only been a bit shaken and alarmed and worried,more abt friends actually but now it makes me feel sick!it feels like the who knows who's next type of feeling....
I'm suddenly scared.... to be in a crowd,to be caught in traffic..to be in a restaurant..to be in a mall.....finding 2/3 policemen at every turn on the road.[like it took them soo loong to finally wake up!and yet they tried to track down some terrorists unarmed is shocking and hilarious!what on earth were they thinking!!]
i go to a mall and every 10 to 15 mins there are people coming and asking me what i'm trying to buy,what i've seen...what exactly have i been doing! like cross checking me!!
not that i mind being checked,i just hate the fear!
but i really wonder for how long this effect is gonna persist...

Aspi said...

Man, getting checked like that randomly in Malls reminds me of Middle-Eastern airports. Its not a good place to be.

justanotherfishinthesea said...

Girliegirl,as far as Condi Rice going there, I understand why, but it is all about showing face. Condie,thanks for being a horrible secretary of state and national security advisor with absolutely no backbone. You have focused on the Middle East all administration, but the situation is a mess. Your expertise as a Sovietologist seems to have not helped as the situation with Russia has only escalated in tension. One could call you a Putin apologist at times. Oh, and one positive thing I will say is that you have nice shoes. kthxbye. Getting back to the thread, I have heard Richard Holbrooke may have a special diplomatic role in South Asia for the next administration, which is a good move I think. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/12/02/holbrooke_under_consideration.html# Obama is limited with what he can do at this point, but I would say with such dire times that something is gotta give. Usurp the power perhaps, I dunno, do we want to wait until Jan. 20 to see how bad it gets?
M, you gotta mention those crazy conspiracy theorists, the ones, who think Mossad did it. I remember I was staying over at a friend's house in Chicago, and they were having this type of discussion there where this woman in her late 50s,a recent immigrant, was denying that the terrorists, who did it were proclaiming it for Islam, and was saying stuff like there were less Jews in that building that day than usual and was going on and on. Everyone was too shocked to say anything and let her go on with her batshit craziness until she was done (in 2005 mind you). Then we proceeded to dispute all of her points, but some people want to remain in their sense of delusion to ignore reality. You can present them with all the proof in the world, and they will stay stuff like Barack Obama was born in Kenya even though there is a birth announcement in the local paper and a certified birth certificate by Hawaiian Department of Health. Heck, there are some people on Al-Jazeera boards that think Mossad did the attack on Mumbai too. That was on Thursday, don't know if they still hold on to that contention now.
The words of these terrorists just make my blood boil. Example of what the goons like that say:"We are just gracious martyrs, trying to do the best for our brothers and sisters." Please go screw yourselves. I don't know how I could control myself from lashing out violently at people like that. That is why I having mixed feelings watching that video at the train station where people are beating up the lone survivor. How can you not after witnessing such carnage not react in some way? There is no freaking oppression involved here. It is a simple case of money and political indoctrination. Though we can't say money is the only factor here, there are people, who are Pakistani of British origin involved too. Pakistan is on everyone's bad side now, but I really doubt there is going to be a decrease in the aid they get to "fight terrorism."
Another angle of things from people I have talked to from people there, particularly Indian Muslims is how this happened at the most politically inopportune time for them. After all the BJP was in trouble electionwise, and Karkare was seen to be the one voice that seemed to be an impartial guy to all sides but fair and just. At least that is what I have heard from people.
Seeing Ashish on T.V. was extremely difficult and reading his account was heartbreaking as well.
Cinderella, I can't even imagine what you are going through right now. I understand the situation, but as I have seen the escalating situation, I was wondering that there is going to be a point where people are going to be scared to do their normal routines. I was at Sarojini Nagar a couple of days before the blasts in 2005, and it scared the living daylights out of me to imagine being that close to being in something so absolutely horrifying and tragic.

Lin said...

I've been busy pulling all nighters for the past week and busy with school stuff, so I'm really late to respond with what I wanted but,

Joules, about the martyr angle

I don't think that would be the case with these terrorists. Already, the towns are in denial about their people being involved.

Also, they have no reason to be celebrating these kids' death. India is not ruling over these people. If they were from a part of Kashmir that is stauncly anti-Indian rule, yeah perhaps. But even then, what they did is something completely different than just bombing places.

I highly doubt that the families of these kids are happy or celebrating. Number one, because this is not the same situation as what goes on in Palestine or other places where a people under the rule they do not like are attacking/suicide bombing. True,they may hate India and talk about Kashmiri freedom as their own cause (though really, I dount it means freedom, but that's a whole other issue). But it's not something that the families are going to give up their children for.

Number two, because what happened in Bombay--that method is something I think even people who would otherwise celebrate bombings, even they may be weary of the type of thing that went down.

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