We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching "
As tension in the region builds, U.S. Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn’t act fast to arrest the "bad guys," he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on "terrorist camps" in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001,
It’s odd how, in the last week of November, thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara — one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad,
If you were watching television you might not have heard that ordinary people, too, died in Mumbai. They were mowed down in a busy railway station and a public hospital. The terrorists did not distinguish between poor and rich. They killed both with equal cold-bloodedness.
The Indian media, however, was transfixed by the rising tide of horror that breached the glittering barricades of "
We’re told that one of these hotels is an icon of the city of
But of course this isn’t that war. That one’s still being fought in the Dalit bastis (settlements) of our villages; on the banks of the Narmada and the Koel Karo rivers; in the rubber estate in Chengara; in the villages of Nandigram, Singur, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Lalgarh in
That war isn’t on TV. Yet.
So maybe, like everyone else, we should deal with the one that is.
Terrorism and the Need for Context
There is a fierce, unforgiving fault line that runs through the contemporary discourse on terrorism. On one side (let’s call it Side A) are those who see terrorism, especially "Islamist" terrorism, as a hateful, insane scourge that spins on its own axis, in its own orbit, and has nothing to do with the world around it, nothing to do with history, geography, or economics. Therefore, Side A says, to try to place it in a political context, or even to try to understand it, amounts to justifying it and is a crime in itself.