Sunday, 30 November 2008

Why is the Mumbai Terrorist Event Different?



The heinous terrorist events in Mumbai on 26.11.2008 have shocked not only India, but people around the world. It has been called India’s 9/11, signifying that the period of innocence is over.


Labelling the pre-Mumbai atrocities times as times of innocence displays a stupendous ignorance of facts and realities. 
  • According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal 2765 people died due to terrorism in 2006 in India and 3236 in 2005 (which is more than the 2974 killed in 9/11). 
  • All this happened in 14 of the 27 states of India. 
  • Some of these terrorists openly claimed and were caught at having foreign backing and support, while others were home grown ones. 

Now, this does not also justify saying that “Oh, the people in Mumbai are used to terrorism!” Whether in India, Pakistan, USA, UK or Spain, no one is ever used to terrorism, it is always a traumatic event for people involved.


Indian Authorities Unprepared for Terrorist Attack

What is significant about the Mumbai incident was that similar to 9/11, the Indian authorities were caught with their trousers down again. The audacity of only 10 people to take on such high profile targets and wreak so much havoc for such a long period, however, reveals something even more pernicious. Terrorism has now adopted a Wikipedia approach to massive destruction, where planners can rely on users (media, terrorism analysis industry and media users) filling in the gaps and contributing to their aims of spreading terror.

Photo Credit: Mary R. Vogt

The masterminds behind the Mumbai attacks have recognised the existence of a Terrorism-hungry media, a terrorism analysis industry, local politicians and power groups eager to capitalise on the event and most significantly that guarantee of instant fame that media accords to the perpetrators. 


A few days ago the news of the British terror suspect Rashid Rauf being killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan was spread in global media along with his picture.

Celebrity Terrorism?


By wilfully showing their faces on CCTV cameras, the terrorists betrayed their intentions that their images would be broadcast all over the world, as they were. As far as we know, they did not claim to have any particularly engaging issue for which they took hostages and killed people except that they were programmed to kill and cause maximum destruction.
  • Does this incident reveal a new culture of instant attention, which these young men would never dream of getting in their lives devoid of any hope beyond the horizon? 
  • Does this mean that alienated young men with no opportunities for structuring their lives with meaning will become prey to the brainwashing of devious evildoers just because we all live in an age of egoistic self-gratification? 
  • Is it because the young men have an emptiness within, which the evildoers spot quickly and fill eagerly with their warped programming? 
  • Is it the same psychology driving people to take part in programmes like Idols and Big Brother? Has it now become celebrity terrorism?


A Different Solution to Terrorism


So far, in many countries the response to terrorism has been to fortify borders. Stretching this vision to its limits – can we have a fortress USA, a fortress UK, China or India in this contemporary world of globalization, transparency, and interdependence? Hardly tenable but this vision helps utterly incompetent leaders get to power and keep their power, more so in Western democracies.

A survey, funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, conducted over the Internet by TNS-NFO 2005 among 4,260 U.S. residents over the age of sixteen found that 98 percent of U.S. residents believed there will be another terrorist attack during their lifetime. In the USA, $55 billion was spent in 2006 to fight terrorism, 0,8% of it on Intelligence and warning.
  • What about seriously directing efforts and a part of these billions at creating social, educational, and entrepreneurial structures that would give meaning to the lives of young men in areas where life is bleak?

By working in closer cooperation with local sensible non-political leaders, if all the countries afflicted by terrorism would spend money and effort in making road, building houses, schools, hospitals, and energy production facilities for the local people to start earning their livelihood decently, would that drive most of the young angry men away from the clutches of the evil machinators?

Will the examples of success stories and viable opportunities, bring hope to them; the hope of living good, meaningful lives by not having that gaping emptiness within for the machinators of evil and hatred to fill in? Further, it would be a great boost to the struggling economies of the developed world, as this would give jobs to their workers too.

Why not give this method a try?


Post a Comment