Tuesday, July 11, 2006

7 In 11 Minutes on 7/11 And Some Quick Takes

I wasn't sure what I was going to call this post and then saw the bit of news that said the dastardly bomb attacks on Bombay's (Mumbai) commuter trains happened in 11 minutes. There were 7 blasts on 7/11 and the number has an eerie similarity with previous attacks in New York and Madrid. I don't believe much in that stuff. It's often the nature of the target and the convenience that dictates this. Public transit sytems are just more vulnerable. If you are familiar with the ones in Mumbai they are just sitting ducks. The sheer volume of people travelling on them make them hard to police. A train that is made for a thousand people routinely carry 3-4 thousand packed like sardines. How does anyone police that?

I read the news with a mix of anger, outrage , sorrow and a feeling of immense sadness. That is the city I was born and raised in, and the commuter trains are pretty much it's lifeblood transporting millions of people per day. I tried calling, as my sister takes the train too, although she takes a different line (not the western line where the attacks happened) and I got thru after a few attempts. She is fine although a lot of people are not. In a flash lives have been lost and altered for ever.

No one has claimed credit yet for these cowardly attacks but they could be any of the Kashmiri separatists or the some of the people from Mumbai's underworld aligned with Al Qaeda. I saw this on MSNBC, I had no clue there was a link there. Regardless I hope this does not devolve in to an orgy of killing of one community by another. I am just sick and tired of how religion is used to manipulate people by certain folks. Why can't people just get along? I hope they get whoever did this.

The problem is also a bit different in India. It has about 150 million Muslims and these vary from the mystical sufi types to non-believers and the nuts. Based on where you go they may be well integrated or live in their own neighborhoods. It's really hard to find and get the real nuts in a situation like this. I have been away from India for a while, may be some of my readers might be able to tell me if the brand of Islam in India is different? I always thought it had a different Indian flavour to it, in that it was not that militant, misogynistic type that you see in some other countries. I wonder if that is still the case and also being a minority in a nation like that comes in to play as well.

Some more thoughts, cos a lot is still happening in the world.

- As you probably know our dear leader under whose leadership (sic) we the proles have been saddled with tonnes of debt thanks to irresponsible fiscal policies like tax cuts at a time of war ( we are at war as the republicans love to shout), a war based on lies that has almost cost us 300 billion and counting. He finally might lose his "veto virginity". The leader of the party of fiscal (cons)ervatives might finally veto a bill. You think it might be one of those stop this crazy spending types, but no! He is going to veto a bill calling for expanding federal funding of stem cell research. Gotta keep the Christian fundies happy right?
Jack Cafferty on CNN read some e-mail responses that were just deliciously snarky, my favorite was the viewer who said "Maybe he plans to veto cos the stem cells are of the same sex!"

And if you are one of those contrarians who wants to be different for the sake of being different and if you ar true to type than you will defend this. Cos being a contrarian means defending dear leader and facts are just meant to be ignored.

- Apparently global warming might destroy the Calfornia wine industry by the end of the century. According to a report on CNN, the warm temperatures will play havoc with the warm days/cool nights that are so important for the grapes.
Well if you are a contrarian and don't believe in global warming then this is just a liberal controversy to get us to drive smaller cars and use less gas right? ;-)

- Apparently we are spending 25 million a month in Afghanistan trying to cut down/eradicate poppy cultivation. But guess what that ain't working cos poppy cultivation has gone up 27% in the past few years. Alterrnative crops like rice aren't profitable enough and Afghanistan does not really have any industry as such. Clearly this was a country we could rebuilt before going off to Iraq. This was on one of the evening news, not sure which one.
But if you are a contrarian you would say we could do it all, especially if you just followed dear leader facts not withstanding.

There are other things too but they will wait for another day. I just look at the mess in Iraq (yes the number of people killed are the in the month since we got Zarquawi and shrub visited Baghdad and Iraq got that government), Afhanistan, Darfur, Somalia and North Korea. Cowboy diplomacy isn't working and it's the reverse midas touch.

I know some of you don't go back and read previous posts but there is some fun going on here in the comments.


Eli said...

The choice of date is... troubling. Although it seems more like something an American racist would choose, rather than al Qaeda.

Keshi said...

**There were 7 blasts on 7/11 and the number has an eerie similarity with previous attacks in New York and Madrid

thats freaky!

btw do Mumabi trains still carry people like in that pic? I cant believe that cos I thought Mumbai is a great city and times have changed. Ppl cant be travelling like that - it's darn unsafe and illegal to let em travel that way!

U were born in Mumbai Jay? awww then this must have affected u alot. Im so glad ur sis is OK!

Tell me abt it Jay, Im so sick n tired of preaching abt how stupid it is for religions to have such a violent hold on some ppl etc etc but seems like I wont see PEACE b4 my time is up.


Aditi said...

Yes 7 blasts on 7/11 I dont think our media has made that connection yet. come to think of it they are too much in shock.. unsure of whether to cover the grenade attacks in srinagar in the morning or the blasts here in the evening.
No, mumbai has always come together after such tragedies, because the ones killed were the common man, both hindus muslims and everyone else. In fact it was the people at the stations that started carrying the injured towards hospitals in whatever make shift stretchers they could manage.They dug for survivors immediately as emergency services still tried to respond through the traffic jams (caused by heavy rain)
(Besides after the 92 riots it was the 93 blasts that brought the city back together.. 13 blasts then. The bitter thing is those responsible are still hiding out in Pakistan. IF its an ally in the war against terror why is the menon family not extradited)
200 dead over 500 injured and we are still counting.

Shitrint said...

hey that was a really nice header to ur post!!
yeah shit happens in mumbai and the city is back on its feet! i mean we are now used to it...quite nonchalant..my frends mom was working at the centaur during the 1993 blasts. she came home with glass shards pricking her body! that event was something...

but i observed one thing...julys are eventful ! last year the london bombing-7/7 and we had 26/7 last year-DElUGE. this time the weeklong rains, then the shiv sena riots and then this blast happening!

it didnt shake me! i realise i cudve died or been injured had it not been for my frends mom who didnt allow me to! and this was before the blasts news came about!


i was amused to know my mom was crying wen she didnt cudnt reach me by the phone, coz i normally take the 6:25 local! nothing to cry about according to me...

karmic_jay said...

@Eli. maybe. Freaky whe I noticed it too.

@Keshi. Yep the trains during peak our are fairly crowded thouh the number of people hanging out like that might change.
I was born there so yes it is sad, although my affection for the city has dimmed over time and mostly cos how the authorities have used "the spirit of Bombay to keep going on" as an excuse to escape accountability over their poor management of the city and the infrastructure.

@Aditi. Yea, the indominitable spirit of the city. That always amazes me everytime. Although I believe it has also been used as an escape hatch by public officials to not do anything about the city and the crumbling infrastructure. I read about bedsheets and saris being used as makeshift stretchers.
I agree about some of those being responsible hiding in Pakistan. There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan right? Also Pakistan in an ally alright, it is not India's ally it is our (US) ally. And even then American hands are kind of tied because they need their help to find OBL and it won't happen wthout their "nominal" help. Also see how the US is unable to interview A.Q. Khan the nuke technology proliferator. That says something about American leverage with Pakistan.

@Shitrint..I guess your approach is a testament to the much spoen about spirit of Bombay. I guess you live along the Western line is it?
AS for your mom crying, I don't balme her. She lived thru earlier attacks and must have seen this thru that prism and that you are her daughter and that concern is natural. :)
That being said I am glad you are safe.

Aditi said...

well.. I agree its not india's ally its us ally but then I thought we were all on the same side, against terror. Besides Dawood ibrahim is on the us wanted list as well.
As for the govt making excuses.. well shrugs...

Truth Fairy said...

I'm glad you sis is ok! Yeah, the date is kinda freaky. There's so much going on in the world these days. Its like we're getting used to reading about people dying. Thats really sad.

But on the other hand, I think India's too soft. You've gotta hold your ground and protect your country. There'll be communal riots now and more innocent people'll die. Thats just what the terrorists are hoping for. Oh well! I'm hearing a lot of 'India's got to do something!', 'We've got to do something!', 'We shouldn't let this go by this time!' all across the news and blogs. But what are we really gonna do? Sit here and type long comments like these and get into a big, lengthy discussion? We, as youngsters of India, have more responsibility than that! Don't we? I feel terrible! Sitting here, so far from home, not being able to do anything but rant! But then, I realize that we CAN do something. A country needs sacrifices, voices of its youth, dynamic young people who can take it forward! 16,000 miles away from home, living a life of luxury and freedom, I detest myself for not being one of those. So I guess its best if we are what we are! Silent spectators! Peace!

M (tread softly upon) said...

It really sickens me. And I don't care if there is some significance to the date etc etc. All I know is that while we called up the people we know and care about to make sure that they were okay, there were people who found out that not everyone was okay. That makes me sick. We keep saying "what if it were me?" and "thank God my friend is fine". But what about all those others who weren't? And then this gets recorded in history and time goes by and we forget and get on with our lives. But things change completely for some less fortunate ones.
I remember that I narrowly escaped being on one of those 9/11 flights from Boston and kept saying "thank God".
Sometimes I just don't want to believe in God anymore.

karmic_jay said...

@truth.. thanks.I understand where you are coming from. But these kind of attacks are hard to defend. As you probably know there is no way security can be guaranteed on mass transit systems like in Bombay. As for not being soft. It really is hard to do something without quite knowing who the perpetrators are.

Also the problems don't have an easy short term solution.

Other than feeling emptathy for the folks suffering fromt his attack, I am not sure what we can do on an immediate basis. Maybe as citizens and individual we should vote, and call for policies that help address these issues.

@ tread softly upon. Am glad you missed one of those flights. I also hear what you are saying.
We have blogger from Bombay who would update his blog and visit our blogs and we have not heard from him. Kind of getting worried now, we don't have his real name or contact information.

hopefuldisposition said...

It is not the Tsunamis or the Hurricanes or such natural catastrophes that bring absolute despair, it is these barbaric acts by humans (must I even call them that?) that tragically forces us to abandon all hope in humanity! What worth is a piece of land or a religion when one day all of mankind is dead killing each other for it?

Shitrint said...

thanx jay! yep am safe..
and i do live on the western line...but i never imagined in my wildest dreams that borivli station...my turf wud be bombed...and i normally take the train which reaches jogeshwari at 6:30 and thats wen that stn went boom!!

Eli said...

What worth is a piece of land or a religion when one day all of mankind is dead killing each other for it?

I have always found the idea of murder in the name of God to be perverse in the extreme. I would certainly never want to worship a god who favored killing innocent people.

Are people's morality defined by their faith, or vice versa? Do murderous/hateful extremist sects attract murderous/hateful people or create them?

Keshi said...

**how the authorities have used "the spirit of Bombay to keep going on" as an excuse to escape accountability over their poor management of the city and the infrastructure.

so true! Now they have started misusing the term 'spirit' to escape the guilt.


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