Mumbai: How Many More 9/11’s?

With the Mumbai hostage siege finally drawing to its conclusion, the majority of terrorists (if that is what we must call them) either dead or under lock and key, it comes time to take stock and consider exactly what happened in this great Indian city most of us still remember as Bombay.

NBC Nightly News labeled the events of the last few days, “India’s 9/11”. Well, of course, they would, wouldn’t they? Mumbai is no stranger to terrorist violence: two years ago, seven blasts ripped through rail stations and commuter trains in Mumbai, killing 187. No mention then of “India’s 9/11” – possibly, because no Americans died in those atrocities.

Much speculation exists on the identity of these latest attackers. Are they from Pakistan, a historical enemy of India? Al Qaeda, perhaps, or Hindu extremists from the north of the continent? Putting a label on them will not be too difficult. The authorities of any nation have ways of making their enemies talk.

More difficult, is finding words – adjectives and nouns – that will describe them. Yes, that’s a lot more difficult.

The first to come to mind was, “pigs”. But, pigs are gentle creatures, unless riled. Pigs don’t deserve association with those responsible for these latest atrocities.

In fact, there’s not a creature on the planet so cold-bloodedly evil as those who attacked and killed, for the sheer joy of killing, innocent individuals who had not done them the slightest harm, or wished them the least ill.

It matters not the nationality or religious belief of the victims. British and Americans were, we are told, singled out for execution – though by far the greatest number of dead were Indian – and a young American rabbi and his Israeli wife and family. Oh, the ecstasy of those who happened on these defenseless human beings. How glorious to gun down in cold blood representatives of the Zionist intruder. How inopportune that one, two year old, Jewish child escaped their lethal clutches.

No, to refer to them as ‘pigs’ is to bestow far too great a compliment.

Instead, let’s call them what they are – human beings. Members of the only animal species on the planet that willfully slaughters its own kind, without guilt or mercy, in the mistaken belief of ‘serving a cause’. It’s not important to achieve anything, other than the killing of innocent members of their own kind. Apart from the death-toll, no other result is anticipated.

Is it possible to understand the mindset of such people? We gasp in horror as the atrocities unfold before our eyes. We question what it is they want from us, even though it’s obvious their only desire is our death. After all, there were no demands for ransom.

The slaughter of innocents, to serve a cause, is nothing new. Whether that cause is Islamic, Christian, or political, wherever there is conflict in the world it is the innocents who die in greater numbers than the combatants. While US drones regularly exterminate whole Afghan villages, or its mercenaries shoot up locals in Baghdad; while Israel starves the Palestinians in Gaza, dismembers their children with tank shells, or mutilates Lebanese innocents with cluster-bombs, there will always be those who wrongly believe they have some god-given right to take out their self-centered revenge on other, innocent, human beings.

While Madeleine Albright, asked whether the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth the sanctions on Iraq in the 1990’s, can answer, “Yes,” there will always be those who believe they have a cause for which the taking of innocent lives is justified.

There is, of course, no such justification. Search the very depths, the hidden corners of the Universe, and you will never find a bonafide reason. But that applies as much to governments as it does to terrorists. Those empowered to make the laws have even less excuse to break them.

Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet revered by the Islamic community as well as the Christian, when asked whether a woman who committed the sin of adultery should be stoned according to the law, responded: “Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.”

It’s a sad indictment of our species, that those who profess to serve a divine cause, are the very one’s to cast aside the teachings of their Godhead in a vain quest for power, glory, and a dubious immortality.

Until we learn to respect each other’s beliefs, honor the sacredness of all human life, and stop justifying the slaughter of innocents under the label of “collateral damage”, the “9/11’s” of this world will continue with monotonous regularity.

Frankly, the future does not shine forth with any glorious promise of hope.

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2 Replies to “Mumbai: How Many More 9/11’s?”

  1. Like you told me the other day, RJ, we have to hope, even if we die in despair.

    It seems that violence and greed are hardwired into the human psyche. Probably originally to ensure survival of the species.

    We watched “The Patriot” last night (first time I’d seen it all the way through). The absolute ridiculousness of war is so clear in that movie, when you observe lines of soldiers with their weapons just walking towards each other, ready to kill or be killed.

    There are millions of others like us who can only see the idiocy of it all, perhaps the day WILL come when we outnumber those others.

  2. I was watching Democracy Now this morning and one guest was saying that India is saying they will act like we did to retaliate for 9/11 and not just accept it (good excuse to attack their arch enemy Pakistan). The reason they compare it to 9/11 and not to say Oklahoma City is because the attacks were against rich people. That is what really scares the people with power – a class war.

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