Tag Archives: India

Who should save the Israeli hostages?

They’ve just announced on CNN that an Israeli rescue team is moving into Mumbai to attempt to free the group of hostages currently holed up in a Jewish community center. The group includes a Rabbi, his wife and two others, although that data is questionable and changing all the time.

While we still don’t know the reason for the attacks in Mumbai – which have involved ten different places around the city in an ongoing situation that is reaching 30 hours of violence – we do know that Israel is getting involved.

What does this mean for India, America, Israel, England and France, all of whom have been targeted in some way in these brutal attacks? While I understand not only the desire but also the duty of Israel to save its people at risk abroad, their entrance into the already volatile situation could send the terrorists spinning.

By entering India, Israel will virtually be taking on its ally, something rather unprecendented in these highly partisan times. Although it is suspected that the terrorists are from outside India, nothing has been confirmed. For now, the surface situation is one country entering an allied country to fight.

What will be the outcome and is Israel right in stepping in? Does duty overpower common sense? Should the lives of four be spared in order to keep the peace? While the rescue team will perhaps succeed in pulling out these hostages, it may not succeed in avoiding a real battle with the terrorist group currently in Mumbai. I don’t think these groups, who are willing to kill hundreds (as well as themselves) seemingly without motive, will let another country come in to fight its battle.

And when will these terrorist groups explain themselves? How many people will have to die before we know their purpose? And at what point does this war on terror become an actual war? If Israel and India have both signed an agreement to fight the war against terror, how does this play out when the two are fighting an assumed outside power in one of the two’s country? Normally when hostages are held, the attackers ask for ransom or make some sort of formal demand. But after more than a full day, they have done no such thing.

As I fall asleep tonight, I have a deep sense of dread for the outcome of this situation. If it can go on for 30 hours without any sort of appeasement, why not 50 or 100? I fear a full-scale war. And at what point will the U.S. stick its dirty little nose into the action? Perhaps Bush is washing his hands clean of any conflict before he leaves office, instead leaving Obama with all the dirty work.

Mumbai bombings: terror in a holy land

India, my love, what is happening to you?

I am about 400 pages into the 900 page book about India, Shantaram, where the main character and his friends often frequent Cafe Leopold in the southern, Colaba area of the city. The seemingly jovial tourist spot has taken on a new meaning to me as I watch the news now to see that an unknown group has just opened gunfire inside it. And that’s just the beginning – the groups have thrown grenades and shot at innocent people at approximately seven other locations in Mumbai, including the Oberoi Hotel, one of the major five-star complexes in the city.

As journalists flock to the action and police officers try (unsuccessfully) to quell the violence, the people of India are left completely without answers, as gunmen continue to rage on as we speak. Having lived in India for three months, even if it wasn’t in Mumbai, I can’t seem to tear myself away from my TV screen, even as the IBN broadcasters’ voices reach glass-shattering pitches of panic. Or perhaps because of it.

Cafe Leopold, not to mention the other hotels and sites hit, are popular with foreigners (in fact, news came out that attackers specifically asked to see American and British passports), which begs the question of a link to terrorism and Al Qaeda. The use of machine guns and hand grenades only goes to mystify further, since attacks of this kind are almost never associated with terrorism – suicide bombers and explosives being the killer of choice. But if not for terrorism purposes, one wonders then why else attacks would be targeting non-natives or at least, wealthy Indian businessmen.

The news says it is to draw international attention, but I think it’s more than that. Of course seven attacks anywhere will garner a media frenzy, so why go to the trouble of targeting foreigners? There is an obvious underlying motive, of which we don’t know yet. The situation reminds me a bit of incidences in China and Japan, where random men ran out into the street with knives (or their cars) to go on killing sprees of innocent people because they hated the world.

But I think the groups involved with this Mumbai rampage have more going on than a personal vendetta. I wish I knew what the reasons were, but I have little light to shed, apart from the fact that India has been fighting with Pakistan for years and years over border and religion issues, so my bet is on that. Now that the U.S. is in a presidential change-over period, the world seems to be going crazy: Irish journalists killed in Somalia, protesters closing down Thailand’s international airport, cholera sweeping Zimbabwe, fighting in Congo… and now India’s going mad. Perhaps these Anti-Christ people got it right. Just kidding.

I remember in a high school psychology class we learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The pyramid of desires works to show us that if we don’t have comfort of one level, we can’t move onto the next. For example, if you’re really starving, you can’t possibly concentrate on your Math homework. At the top of the list is personal security. If you’re wondering whether a bullet is going to strike you, you’re probably not thinking about how much you’d like a McDonald’s hamburger.

Bombings in India? It’s a holy country by nature. If India goes, I fear what will go next. Is there nowhere safe in the world anymore? And worse, all these conflicts in predominantly non-white nations make Americans and Europeans even more paranoid about international travel than they already were – but I suppose that’s not saying a lot.

But India, I promise I won’t turn my back on you. I think about you all the time and I’ll visit you soon. But it might not be for a few weeks… and probably not in the South…