Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorism - Mumbai, 27-28 November 2008

At the time of this writing, Indian commandos are fighting terrorists in various hotels and other sites in Mumbai. The death toll has exceeded 130, many more wounded, and hostages aplenty. Instead of the usual surreptitious bombs, this time the terrorists made a bold frontal assault with guns blazing. Apparently this is to protest the targeting of Muslims by government authorities, India's current cozying up to the US, the Kashmir issue, etc. It is very easy to find reasons to kill people if one is so inclined.

I have used the term "terrorists" freely above. By definition, it is negative and prejudiced. The attackers in Mumbai surely see themselves as enforcers of justice, preservers of their religion, and protectors of their own. They may be justified, to some extent, in their self perception. The question then is whether their method of protest is acceptable. Right off, it is difficult to justify the killing and terrorizing of innocent people. BUT, and here I am going out on a limb, when there is no other means to make people listen to you, is this sort of violence not the only way?

The end result in Mumbai is foregone. The security forces will kill or capture the terrorists. There will be hostage casualties. Once more, "mindless mujaheddin menace" will be vilified by all and sundry. Violent force will have been squashed by counter-violence. And so it will continue.

11 comments:

Govind said...

The ends don`t justify the means,Horatio.And its so easy to feel victimized and go on a murderous rampage-even comrade Dahal said recently that it was much easier to wage war than run the county.
The Muslim religion has a violent streak wonder when they will come to their senses.

HORATIO said...

Very perceptive comment, as usual, Govind. But I understand that the Koran does not endorse this violent streak - it is those who have misinterpreted it that are doing this. The majority of Muslims are peace-loving reasonable folks.

Subodh Rana said...

What is amazing to me s how fragile tourism really is, "foreigners" visiting another strange land, all the time. No flights to Thailand, airports filled to the brimful, everyone wondering whre the next attack will take place, London, Barcelona? But essentially tourism always rebounds as it should! I am in Kuala Lumpur on my way to Barcelona, via London!

HORATIO said...

May the Gods keep KL, Barcelona and London free from pests - human or insects...and bon voyage!

Bishal said...

Whoever initiates or resorts to terrorism should not go unpunished. Each and everyone should be brought to a book. Otherwise, 'might is right' never ends. Nepali Congress resorted to violence, ML (UML- Jhapa incidence) follow the suit , Maoists did even more unimaginable things. Everyone was set free. The system of impunity is never good for the country.
There will be more violence if Nepali Nationalists will resort to violence and the things Nepali Congress, UML and Maoists taught. There will be no one to control them until they control themselves. No one will find safe refuge in Nepali land. Make sure, if Nepali Nationalists are undermined, they have to resort to this sort of action and the scale will be magnanimous. To be noted, Nepali Nationalists are very familiar with all kinds of weapons. They don't need any further trainings. From jungle warfare to any other tactical warfare are not new to Nationalists. Either no one should get impunity or everybody should be allowed to free to take initiative to their likings. However, the violence is never a good thing. Violence breeds violence.

Anonymous said...

I think Bishal you should open your own blog and not hijack our dear friend Horatio`s blog to further your "nationalist" agenda!
Whatever the topic under discussion you come out with the same nationalist rantings.Is this fair?

Abhaya said...

A recent New York Times op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman provided food for thought on how acts of terrorism such as the Mumbai attacks might be deterred. Quote from the article: "The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society [in the case of the Mumbai attacks, allegedly the Pakistani people] to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities. Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.""

The full article can be found at: 2008/12/03/opinion/03friedman.html?_r=2&hp

Abhaya said...

Apologies. The op-ed piece referenced in my earlier comment can be found at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/opinion/03friedman.html?_r=2&hp

Shyam said...

My theory is that we humans are at a crucial period in our evolutionary path. Humans should either devolve into simpler beings or evolve into "super " beings. Only then can we save ourselves and our planet from "ourselves".
At present we are in a destructive path and no amount of advice and rules can stop that. Terrorism,financial meltdown , global warming wars and famine are all man made and will be with us .Science has only magnified our destructive capacity.

Nohar said...

This time round I trust the people of Nepal empathise with their neighbours in the south given that she herself has been at the receiving end of 'terrorists' these past decades. Terrorism has no relegion aand can in no way be justified by any civilised human being.

Nohar said...

The Indian Muslims have come out very strongly in their condemnation of this latest carnage. The terrorists have been refused burial by the Muslim clergy. The message that these are not Muslims is loud and clear. One can only hope it hits home.
Thanks for the article Abhaya.