Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai. I don't understand any of it.

I simply don't understand anything to do with the obscene killings in Mumbai.

I don't understand the mentality of people who randomly take innocent lives. The vast majority of the dead and injured are Indians, hotel workers, train travellers, people simply going about their daily business.

We're told that Americans and British tourists were specifically singled out in some instances. Yet many of them may well have opposed their governments' policies, so what does the simple fact of citizenship have to do with anything?

I don't understand how a country which has had so many terrorist attacks over recent years can have been so unprepared.

Mrs Seabee was in India at the time of the attacks, fortunately in Kochi so well away from the trouble spot. She was in Le Meridien hotel, a popular business & tourist hotel. She's also stayed in the Taj hotel in Mumbai in the past.

There is no security, no preventive measures taken. People simply wander around as they please. Only after the news from Mumbai reached Kochi was a hotel security man stationed on the entrance to check incoming vehicles and ask guests for ID.

In Cairo, which has seen terrorist attacks too, hotel security is strict, as it is around all tourist areas. Road barriers, sniffer dogs, metal detectors and ID checks on all entrances. Sharpshooters on bridges and high points keeping watch. Guard posts on bridges.

I don't understand how the intelligence services can be saying 'ten or a dozen' attackers were involved.

How could no more than twelve people have simultaneously attacked so many sites with so much firepower and caused so much death and destruction?

I don't understand the reports that say At least three gunmen battled India's best-trained commandos for two days in the maze of corridors in the Taj Hotel, setting fire to places as they moved from floor to floor.

How did they move from floor to floor so easily? Isn't the first thing to do sealing all exits? The stairs must have been left unguarded for the gunmen to be able to move from floor to floor. Or maybe they used the lifts. And they moved around at will for two days!

I don't understand how such a large, sophisticated attack, which apparently began with the hijacking of a trawler on the high seas, could have been planned with no intelligence being picked up. They couldn't have done it all by delivering messages by hand!

There was the financing, surveillance of the target areas, the training, the purchase and distribution of a large amount of weapons and ammunition, transportation. A lot of people involved over a long time, yet no word was picked up by any of the world's intelligence gathering agencies.

I don't understand how so many men - many more than the official dozen - carrying what must have been heavy bags of guns, ammunition, explosives, could move about the city to so many targets without arousing suspicion.

I don't understand how there is no trail to the many people who must be the brains, the finance, the trainers behind the attacks.

I don't understand how the Indian intelligence service and politicians can be saying it's all over, they've killed all the gunmen. There must be dozens of them who simply faded away and will strike again.

I simply don't understand any part of it.

TV news reports show people hero-worshipping the elite 'Black Cat' commandos. Sorry folks, the true heroes are not highly trained, heavily armed professional going about their jobs, even though some of them tragically lost their lives. Here are the true heroes, ordinary people showing extraordinary bravery. Untrained, unarmed, unprotected, ordinary hotel staff doing what they could to protect others:

They were heroes in cummerbunds and overalls. The staff of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel saved hundreds of wealthy guests as heavily armed gunmen roamed the building, firing indiscriminately, leaving a trail of corpses behind them.

Among the workers there were some whose bravery and sense of duty led them to sacrifice their own lives, witnesses said.

Prashant Mangeshikar, a guest, said that a hotel worker, identified only as Mr Rajan, had put himself between one of the gunmen and Mr Mangeshikar, his wife and two daughters.

“The man in front of my wife shielded us,” Mr Mangeshikar said. “He was a maintenance section staff member. He took the bullets.” For the next 12 hours, before Mr Rajan was finally taken out of the hotel, guests battled to stop the bleeding from a gaping bullet wound in his abdomen. It is not known if he lived.

You can read that story here.


LDU said...

I couldn't believe it when they estimated the number of gunmen. This was a very sophisticated operation and I doubt 10 people could have pulled it off alone. said...

I found the article at the link below to be somewhat insightful about the Mumbai attacks:

Peripatetic Engineer said...

Seabee, it does not make sense and do not waste time trying to make sense of it. What you need to know is that there is a group of people who want to kill westerners for reasons they alone understand. Perhaps it is religeon. Perhaps it is culture. But they want to kill you and they don't care if they die in the act.

Do not rely upon governments for protection. Rely upon yourself. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. And if you see a couple of guys with heavy backpacks, leave the area immediately. Stay safe.

Seabee said...

PE, but they didn't target westerners, five times more Indians were killed than westerners.

Anonymous said...

While no one seems to understand the whys and hows of the Mumbai attack, what surprises me is that inthe aftermath everyone seems to be talking only about avoiding future attacks on Mumbai viz most of the famous names who were interviewed on TV. Yes its is highly important to secure our commercial capital but what about other parts of India that are equally or even more unsecure and where people's lives are equally valuable. I hope that ALL people of India wake up to this seeming failure of leaders as well as intelligence and demand improved security all over. Also shun the selfish politicans. Maybe all elections in the future should give people a choice whether they would prefer 'president's rule' for a term, But then we need to be sure that we have effective and strong presidents & not like the one we have now.The common man seems to end up on the losing side irrespective of which political party is in power.

UmmeAiman Iqbal said...

Hi! I'm a Mumbai-ite. I understand how you feel, its the same way most of us back in Mumbai feel. Of course, its a no-brainer that there have to have been more clues than what the public has been led to believe. Such a barbaric act cannot have left no clues. And we are not fools.

Another thing. Did you know, all those dozen or so people have not been killed by the police. Some of them have managed obscurity and are roaming the streets of Mumbai, possibly planning other things, as I write this.

Frightening to think a government would be so corrupt as to provide false news and risk the lives of citizens of the country and those tourists who love the warmth in Indians.

Seabee said...

Talking with Indian friends we all seemed to agree that there were almost certainly some of the terrorists still free and certainly the brains and money behind them are. The concensus was that the next attacks would be not on Mumbai but on other major cities.

Anonymous said...

by now you know they are sitting in pakistan, you know their names, and also that nothing will be done. but don't worry, they will continue to talk about how to liberate palestine, one of the pet peeves of the whole world.