Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai attacks: NY Times Piece says "it's personal"

The New York Times “Week in Review” has a pointed article by Anand Giridharads, “The Special Sting of Personal Terrorism”, in the Sunday Nov. 30, 2008 paper (first page of section) with a red-caped picture of a woman, rather Hitchcock like. She says that citizens in India understand this as war, not terror. Perhaps that relates to the long standing feud, with many incidents and escalations, of Pakistan. The link is here. What comes to mind for Americans is the 2002 sniping spree of Mohammed and Malvo in the DC area and surroundings (and several other states), leading to their apprehension at a Maryland interstate rest stop and a death sentence and life without parole in Virginia. But this is different. In fact, it seems that it was mostly western visitors (not natives) who were targeted in the Mumbai attacks, but it also seems that the “cause” has a lot to do with the feud with Pakistan as much as it has to do with the “grievances” of radical Islam in a larger sense, as has become well known since 9/11.

I saw “Slumdog Millionaire” today, filmed on location in Mumbai, around some of the same areas involved in the attacks. It’s pretty easy to see how the tribal resentments and corruption can percolate all the way to the top, even if this was a “feel good” movie at the end, oddly timely now. (See the movies blog.)

The other incredible fiasco overseas right now is the tens of thousands of international passengers stranded in Bangkok because of a total breakdown in the current government It’s incredible. These days, one travels in the third world at one’s peril. And people have travel to dangerous areas to work and volunteer.

Even so, some day I hope to take the high speed train in China to Tibet. And to see the Altiplano and Tiahuanaco site in Peru and Bolivia, an opportunity that I missed in 1974 when I changed jobs.

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