Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai attacks

We are fine, far away from Mumbai, but the terrorist attacks throughout Mumbai (formerly Bombay for those of you looking at older maps and globes) are very disturbing. The Indian press is not particularly distinguished in non-crisis times, and although it tries to rise to the occasion and has some worthwhile pieces, generally does not provide great insight. As many of you know, even before this Mumbai has been the place in India that I had/have a hard time with -- it is just too disturbing on too many levels. Too much congestion, too much contrast of wealth and poverty, too much disregard for the environment and other people, and the list could go on and on. It seems like once upon a time it was a more liveable place. But despite my dislike of the place, watching the Taj on fire made me sad, as that was a real landmark, and a lovely one at that.

Recently, with the Hindu fundamentalists and the Shiv Sena provoking hatred towards not only non-Hindus but non-Maratis (Mumbai is in the state of Maharastra, and folks from there are called "Marati," as is the language they speak), even (maybe especially) Indians from other states, there is an awful lot of anger, frustration, and hatred to go around. As a result, figuring out who actually provoked and carried out the attack(s) will be hard. Also, it will be a long time before casualty figures are complete to know who actually was affected. So far, one of the policemen killed was a classmate of one of my colleagues here. Sadly, we'll probably see more personal connections once complete lists emerge.

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