Ever since the 26/11 attacks on Bombay in 2008, (It is still, and will always be Bombay to me) India has bumped itself up on the Terrorism Risk Index. And here we go again. I’m so, so angry and again, like in 2008, I’m so deeply saddened.
When people ask me about India and what to expect, I always tell them nothing can prepare them for India because it’s so unique in its madness. India is a lot of things. It is, as is often said, a country of contradictions. It is rich, it is poor. It’s beautiful and fugly. It’s modern and oh-so-third world. It’s historical, it’s cultural, it’s steeped in religion and tradition and it thrives on familiarity.
It's an assault on the senses. People have no concept of personal space. Roadside Romeos make you squirm and turn you aggressively feminist. Con artists will often rip you off for a quick buck. It is colourful, crowded, polluted, alive and awake at all hours of the day and night, hot in winter and even hotter in summer. It is a crazy and chaotic existence that is absolutely normal for a resident but unbelievably surreal if you’re looking from the outside.
It is all of these things. But, it is not a country of terrorists. But would you believe me now? I wouldn’t believe me now.
India is continually terrorised by a country I try so hard not to judge and very often feel sorry for because of the myriad problems it faces; but at times like these, it’s so damn hard not to. But today is not about them. India is governed by a bunch of corrupt, money hungry mongrels who care so little about the actual people, I’m amazed we’re still called a democracy. Australians, you think Julia Gillard is ripping you off with the Carbon Tax? Try having an Indian minister siphon off millions and yet get re-elected over and over. Now imagine every minister at local, state and federal level doing this. No wonder the poor only get poorer in India.
Life goes on in Bombay after an attack because it has to. The politicians make it sound heroic and call it the “Mumbai spirit”. Fuck the Mumbai spirit. The average person has precious little choice but to go on with their life and to hope there is no next time and if there is, to pray that their pantheon of Gods will protect them because the politicians sure as hell aren’t.
When I was in Bombay last December, I went to many of the tourist places that were attacked in November 2008. There were security guards everywhere for sure, and that was a positive sign. But I can’t help be a little sceptical about their ability to actually prevent a terrorist attack. Another thing that concerned me was the (lack of) security on the local trains. Local trains were a prime target in 2008 (and even before it) but I didn’t see much protection there. WHY? Non-tourist locations in the city had little to no visible security – and yesterday’s attacks once again prove why it is so necessary.
India cannot afford to be complacent. Terrorism is very, very real and it is not going away so this head-in-the-sand attitude isn’t working. Just because terrorist attacks were foiled twice after the 2008 attacks, doesn’t mean they’re going to stop trying. Bombay is the heart and soul of India. It’s India’s City of Dreams. Don’t the city and its people deserve better than this? Empty words like “my prayers and sympathies go out to the people" mean squat when people are dying. What we need is some empathy and some positive action towards protecting Bombayites and everyone across India.
Ditch the political correctness. No one wants to hear it. Why do the Indian & Pakistani Prime Ministers make statements like “I condemn the attacks”? Who wants to hear political fluff like that? Of course you condemn the attacks. EVERYONE “condemns” the attacks. Can you say something useful and/or meaningful for a change? Stop telling people to be calm and be rational. Why should they be when they are so helpless?
I’m not saying we need to terrorise other countries in exchange but we need to scare the terrorists enough so they don’t assume India is an easy target; so they don’t assume India can be terrorised and they can get away with it like they always do. And we need a government that actually gives a shit and actually protects India. Why should Indians feel so vulnerable?
Yes I’m angry and I can’t do anything but spew hate at people who actually can do something but won’t. I feel helpless too.
Bombay, you are in my thoughts. India…you are in my thoughts.