The terrorist attack on Bombay is much worse than CNN knows or is able to report, the number of lives lost and process in which they were taken is tragic. We all need to put down our Starbucks, think about the disorder in the world, and petition the US government, and global governments to develop a comprehensive and novel approach to the terrorism situation around the world.
As noted in Guardian’s Arundhati Roy, “If you were watching television you may 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 India Shining and spread its stench in the marbled lobbies and crystal ballrooms of two incredibly luxurious hotels and a small Jewish centre”.
This is not India’s problem…it is everyone’s problem.
India has had a long history of terrorism prior to the recent November 2008 attacks in Mumbai. According to a research study at the University of Maryland, there have been “12,539 terrorist-related fatalities in India between 1970 and 2004 – an average of almost 360 fatalities per year from terrorism in India”.
Here’s a statistical summary on terrorism in India from the Global Terrorism Database (University of Maryland):
*4,108 terrorist incidents occurring in India between the years 1970 and 2004. During this period, India ranked sixth among all countries in terms of terrorist incidents (behind Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and Spain).
*12,539 terrorist-related fatalities in India between 1970 and 2004 – an average of almost 360 fatalities per year from terrorism in India. These fatalities peaked in 1991 and 1992, when 1,184 and 1,132 individuals (respectively) were killed in such incidents.
* Terrorists in India have employed a variety of attack types over time: 38.7% of terrorist events were facility attacks, 29.7% percent were bombings (in which the intent was to destroy a specific facility), and 25.5% were assassinations. The recent events in Mumbai would be classified as a series of coordinated facility attacks.”
The following are known terrorist groups in India:
· Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC)
· Adivasi Cobra Force (ACF)
· All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF)
· Ananda Marga
· Azad Hind Sena
· Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)
· Birsa Commando Force (BCF)
· Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT)
· Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT)
· Communist Party of India-Maoist
· Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M)
· Dima Halam Daoga (DHD)
· Harkat ul-Ansar
· Hindu Sena Rashtriya Sangh Party
· Islami Inqilabi Mahaz
· Islamic Defense Force
· Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front
· Jihad Committee
· Kamtapur Liberation Organization
· Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
· Kangleipak Communist Party
· Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Resistance Force (KNPR)
· Kuki Liberation Army (KLA)
· Kuki Revolutionary Army
· Lashkar-e-Jabbar (LeJ)
· Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)
· Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
· Maoist Communist Center (MCC)
· Mujahideen al-Mansooran
· National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)
· National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT)
· National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)
· National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K)
· People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
· People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK)
· People’s United Liberation Front (PULF)
· People’s War Group (PWG)
· Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF)
· Save Kashmir Movement
· Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
· Ukrainian Reactionary Force
· United Achik National Front
· United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF)
· United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)
· United National Liberation Front (UNLF)
· United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS)
· Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA)”
Note: These data were collected for the Terrorism Knowledge Base® (TKB®), managed by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) until March 2008. START has neither reviewed nor verified these data, but is presenting this information as a service to the homeland security community.
How has the reporting of terrorism and breaking news changed in India and globally? First there was CNN’s 24 hour coverage of the Iraq invasion in 1991, now it is real time twitter and live blogs covering breaking news events globally.
The live blog and real-time mobile, and computer updates by Twitter type devices have become some of the most effective communication tools for breaking news reporting via the web, and mobile phone. Live blogging can incorporate traditional news sources like CNN and the BBC, to complement its instant messaging news feed. It can also create a content rich reporting environment that is more effective than setting up traditional video cameras, lighting, and sound equipment.
Now it is the average bystander (gawker), or a hostage hiding out in a closet inside the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, that is sending Twitter and text messages to their family and friends in Chicago. They provide the most unrehearsed, and dramatic accounts of breaking news anywhere in the world. Posted photos and videos can also be embedded on a live blog, and then transferred to Flickr for further worldwide saturation.
Mumbai Attack Aftermath Detailed, Tweet by Tweet
Quote – “First-hand accounts of the deadly Mumbai attacks are pouring in on Twitter, Flickr, and other social media.
Twitter has fresh news every few seconds, on Mumbai, Bombay, #Mumbai, and @BreakingNewz.
“Hospital update. Shots still being fired. Also Metro cinema next door,” tweets mumbaiattack. “Blood needed at JJ hospital,” adds aeropolowoman, supplying the numbers for the blood bank.
A Google map of the attacks has already been set up. So has a shockingly-current Wikipedia page, which features a picture of one of the gun-toting attackers.
The local bloggers at Metblogs Mumbai have new updates every couple of minutes. So do the folks at GroundReport. Dozens of videos have been uploaded to YouTube. But the most remarkable citizen journalism may be coming from “Vinu,” who is posting a stream of harrowing post-attack pictures to Flickr.
Blogging breaking news during a terrorism attack-
Quote -“I can’t believe this is my city. I can’t believe I just passed Ramada hotel ten minutes ago and didn’t realise that the little crowd near the gates would end up being a gunfire battle. I can’t believe the Taj hotel is burning. They’ve got hostages in there. More than half are American and British hostages. It’s 1.21am. There’s been a new explosion at the Taj. A friend of mine is in there. His wine glass had a bullet go through it. He said he was being evacuated to the 18th floor except that’s where they apparently took hostages. We can’t get through to his phone. A friend’s sister escaped just as the shooting began. Some of the terrorists have escaped in a police van. Charming”.
Quote -“The scale and planning of the attack have been phenomenal. No one knows who is responsible. Obviously it is a well funded and well trained group. These guys have assault machine guns, grenades, military explosives and God knows what othe“r armament. Besides the locals at the CST Train station, they have been targeting US and UK citizens and have taken local Jews as hostages. Also some Israelis who had come for a Diamond trade conference at the Oberoi Hotel have also been taken hostage. The Leopold Cafe where a lot of foreigners hang out was also attacked, and guests were gunned down gangland style. With the Indian General Elections due early next year – there could be an attempt to alter public opinion to change the result by a mass attack – no one knows ??? Most of the attacks have been in South Mumbai”.
What is next for India?
Why will economic growth, globalization, and the social homogenization of Indian culture with America, Europe, and other progressive (liberal) societies likely increase India’s venerability to terrorism in the future?
The recent attacks in Mumbai were part of a well funded ( possibly by Dubai) and organized (possibly by Pakistan) effort to destabilize India’s economy. Fortunately, the Indian economy is very resilient and the stock market bounced back one day after the attacks, although the lives that were taken did not. The attacks were planned to target Indian and foreign business professionals socializing at Mumbai’s top hotels and dining areas, while they were having dinner. The idea was to discourage ongoing (domestic and international) business investment, and related partnerships from continuing in India. Similarly, prominent business community leaders living in America, and India believe the attacks were not exclusively targeted at foreign visitors, they were very much about destabilizing India in the eyes of the world. Let’s hope that innocent Muslim’s do not experience any negative repercussions from the grieving members of the Indian community.
How and why do these terrorists groups develop?
Functional aggregations, the aggregation of human beings is believed to have taken place because of common language, patterns of interaction, and religious customs, beliefs and practice. If one functional aggregation with different objectives perceives the other as a roadblock to their functional objectives, a conflict can take place, and it is sometimes expressed in the form of terrorism. If one group’s objective is to transform the other culture or group to become “one”, that functional aggregation or group will also point out the differences in common language, patterns of interaction, religious customs, beliefs, and practice.
This new level of awareness and identity can create a second aggregation of individuals where differences in common language, patterns of interaction, religious customs, and beliefs and practice are a symbol of identity. This new level of identity will then activate a new identity(s), seeking to emphasize differences between the two groups or roadblocks for their survival. What is important is that one group views the elements of their aggregation as an example of common language or customs, and the other group sees it as a symbol of their identity.
The current Indian crisis has greater social implications than have been reported in the news. For example, all of the schools in Mumbai had to be closed for fear of additional terrorist attacks. What some viewers watched on CNN as current news, were delayed reports by approximately two hours. Many Indians turned to other forms of communication (new media) to receive their breaking news information such as, instant messaging, and Twitter. In addition, they found BBC reports more up to date for a traditional media source.
Most of the interested public around the world will probably never know about many of the horrific events that took place at the terrorist attack locations. For example, at the Oberoi Hotel 8 members of a prominent Indian law firm were shot gangland style while having dinner. The Manager of the Taj Mahal Hotel who also lived with his family (wife and several children) at the hotel, hid his family in a hotel room and told them to stay there quietly, within a short time terrorists set the room on fire, they all died. The Manager is currently working with authorities to uncover additional crime scene information even though his family has been lost. Two friends of my family (husband and wife) left their children at home on the evening of the attack, and went to the Oberoi Hotel for dinner, as they walked into one of the hotel’s restaurants they encountered the terrorist holding the restaurant quests hostage, the terrorists spotted them as the entered, and they were shot and killed. They became the first two people killed at the takeover of the Oberoi Hotel, their children that were waiting for them at home never saw them again. Only 12 of the reported 40 terrorist have been caught, and the remaining ones are scattered around the city of Mumbai. Some of them had been enrolled at universities in Mumbai, and some were employed at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Did they help their comrades orchestrate the Taj Mahal Hotel takeover?
The Taj Mahal Hotel has two sections, the Original building which is considered a historic landmark with Louis 16th furniture and valuable paintings, and the newer section that was part of a modern expansion in recent years. The interior of the original historic part of the hotel has been destroyed, and the authorities are afraid the foundation may possibly collapse from the stress of the fire and related bombings.
Taj Mahal Hotel during the terrorist attack November 2008
In the future, India and other developing countries will have to rethink its security measures with regard to terrorism; they are now perceived around the world as being part of the larger global system of political thought, policy, and culture. All or some of these global cultural elements can be in conflict with the myriad of human aggregations that have the ability to express their new level of conscious identity in the form of terrorism. Eventually there may have to be an independent dispute resolution council represented by many global governments to communicate with, and diffuse these groups (aggregations). Communicating by terrorism will not help these groups realize their new identity and objectives.
By – Peter Sabbagh