The shooting in Mumbai (Bombay) is apparently over, and even as the blood still runs in the streets, political pundits and talking heads rush to declare the “who, what, why, and how.”
One local paper says:
“Who’s the brain behind the Mumbai attacks?
The prime suspect …is Abdul Subhan Qureshi a 36 year old computer engineer who is also believed to have masterminded multiple bombings throughout India earlier this year.” [link: vancouver.24hrs.ca]
The article and graphics go on to suggest that the group claiming responsibility for the latest attacks is an “offshoot of SIMI – linked to Pakistani Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba. The group calls itself Deccan Mujahideen.”
Britain’s Daily Mail loudly trumpets:
Massacre in Mumbai: Up to SEVEN gunmen were British and ‘came from same area as 7/7 bombers’
. British-born Pakistanis among arrested militants
British-born Pakistanis were among the Mumbai terrorists, Indian government sources claimed today, as the death toll rose to at least 155.
As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London’s July 7 bombers lived, one source said.
Two Britons were among eight gunmen being held, according to Mumbai’s chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. At least nine others are reportedly dead….
One security official said: ‘There is growing concern about British involvement in the attacks.’
But Gordon Brown has urged caution. He emerged from a conversation with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say there was no suggestion of a British link…. [link: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1089711/Massacre-Mumbai-Up-SEVEN-gunmen-British-came-area-7-7-bombers.html]
As the toll mounts of the dead and wounded; as international journalists swoop in to deliver breathless reports; faces of some of those murdered are emerging:
Indian officials say at least 195 people have been killed, with around 295 injured, the vast majority Indian citizens. The toll could rise further, they say.
At least 22 foreigners are known to have died, including victims from Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Singapore, Thailand and France. One Briton, Andreas Liveras, has been killed. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7756321.stm#infographic]
Some reports emerging from the carnage say the terrorists were asking for British and American passport holders. Other reports tell of the terrorists indiscriminately murdering, with machine guns, anyone in their paths.
While reports of hotels, hospitals, train stations being targeted are front and centre, and it becomes apparent that Bombay’s financial district was part of the main target, another target also emerged – a Jewish Centre.
Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory.
Their toddler son, Moshe, managed to escape with his nanny some hours before Indian commandos stormed their building, known as the Nariman House, in the popular touristy neighborhood of Colaba. The Associated Press reported that the boy was unharmed, but was wearing blood-soaked pants.
“Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. “As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.[link: http://findalismonkeyinthemiddle.blogspot.com/2008/11/why.html]
From the BBC, eyewitness accounts:
British lawyer Mark Abell spent two days and nights barricaded in his room at the Oberoi Trident Hotel, before being rescued by Indian security forces. His room was located very near to those where hostages were being held.
We were too close for comfort and throughout the night the whole thing was punctuated by a series of explosions. Towards the end of the night it started to quiet down. …
People I’d seen only minutes before going up to my room are now dead.
Holidaymaker Harnish Patel was shot in both legs and the chest, after a gunman opened fire at the Cafe Leopold.
…the gunman was still on the premises and started shooting again, and then people hid again behind whatever cover they could have.
And that’s when he headed towards one corner of the bar and saw me and a number of others at the back, and just opened fire on us. Even once I was shot he continued firing.
Holidaymaker Joey Jeetun was at the Leopold Cafe when it was targeted by the gunmen.
You had Australians, Americans, British all hovering in one place and the Indian waiter was telling me ‘Just stay here’. …
There was blood everywhere. I was drenched in blood, but I came out of it with only a little bump on my head.
Steve Vincent was in Mumbai for work, where he stayed at the Taj Palace Hotel.
I barricaded the room, just locked the door and that was it. I just sat there and turned all the lights out.
It was the most harrowing thing I’ve ever been through. The scariest experience of my life. It was just awful. I’m glad it’s over. Go here to read their full accounts [link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7754631.stm]
One Canadian who managed to escape the madness as Mumbai was under siege was John Erlich. He was staying in the Oberoi Hotel when he felt the first explosion. Interviewed in Vancouver by the CBC:
Two business friends invited him for a drink at the hotel bar, but he declined because he was tired and had an early flight to catch. His two friends ended up being taken by the gunmen.
“They [gunmen] shot a bunch of people, grabbed Alex and this gentleman … and started marching them up to the roof,” said Ehrlich, whose friend Alex told him Thursday morning what happened.
Someone knocked on his room door at about 10:30 p.m., then rang the door bell, but Ehrlich did not open the door.
“Two minutes later, there was a massive explosion. The whole hotel shook, and I knew something was wrong,” said Ehrlich, a father of four, who works in the internet technology industry and has a business in Mumbai.
“I ran out into the hallway … I heard the word bomb. Then adrenalin just kicked in overdrive. I went in, threw my stuff together and picked up my bags, ran down the stairs [and] went into the lobby area.”
And Indian bloggers have much to say on the latest events. Amit Varma of India Uncut has a post about the talking heads on the msm airwaves, trying to explain the madness:
“Deepak Chopra was also on the show, [Larry King Live] speculating that the attacks had taken place because terrorists were worried about Barack Obama’s friendly overtures to Muslims. (I know: WTF?) That sounded pretty ridiculous to me, but such theories are a consequence of our tendency as a species to want to give gyan. A media pundit, especially, feels compelled to have a narrative for everything. Everything must be explicable, and television expects instant analysis.
This is foolish, for sometimes events are complicated, and we simply need to wait for more information to emerge before we can understand it. But many of us-not just the pundits-don’t have the humility to accept that. We want to feel in control, at least on an intellectual level, so reasons and theories emerge.
But the world is really far too complicated for us. Yet somehow we muddle along.”[http://indiauncut.com/]
Theories abound, getting wilder by the minute it seems, and some (such as Monkey in the Middle) ask “Why?,” as another comment on a blog asks: “Is this the beginning of another world war?” [Wake Up America]
Fact is, this is not the beginning of another world war, but it is yet another theatre in the already burgeoning GLOBAL war against extremist Islamist terrorists. Terror is the aim, and from all reports, Mumbai residents are now in the grip of terror. The mission of all extremists is to instill terror in the hearts and minds of every-day citizens around the world. As in New York, London, Beirut, etc, the immediate mission of these men with machine guns seems to have been achieved.
John Erlich, the Canadian who escaped, had this to say in a CBC interview I heard:
“We are all at risk here. Unless we stop it, it WILL happen here.”
He is absolutely right. Every single time these murderous thugs attack innocent victims in yet another city of the world, we are given yet another opportunity to forcefully fight back. We are offered another chance to draw our line in the sand. Every single time a machinegun-toting, bomb hurling madman tries to kill any of us, in their own crazy jihad, and kill unsuspecting citizens – destroy our way of life, we MUST fight back. We must stand strong around the world, and say: ENOUGH!