Sunday, November 30, 2008

"IF THE REST OF THE WORLD WANTS TO HELP [MUMBAI*],
IT SHOULD RUN TOWARD THE EXPLOSION"





--from Suketu Mehta in today's New York Times, in which he also says:

In other cities, if there’s an explosion, people run away from it. In Mumbai, people run toward it — to help.....

In the Bombay I grew up in, your religion was a personal eccentricity, like a hairstyle. In my school, you were denominated by which cricketer or Bollywood star you worshiped, not which prophet. In today’s Mumbai, things have changed. Hindu and Muslim demagogues want the mobs to come out again in the streets, and slaughter one another in the name of God. They want India and Pakistan to go to war. They want Indian Muslims to be expelled. They want India to get out of Kashmir. They want mosques torn down. They want temples bombed.....

In 1993, Hindu mobs burned people alive in the streets — for the crime of being Muslim in Mumbai. Now these young Muslim men murdered people in front of their families — for the crime of visiting Mumbai. They attacked the luxury businessmen’s hotels. They attacked the open-air Cafe Leopold, where backpackers of the world refresh themselves with cheap beer out of three-foot-high towers before heading out into India. Their drunken revelry, their shameless flirting, must have offended the righteous believers in the jihad. They attacked the train station everyone calls V.T., the terminus for runaways and dreamers from all across India. And in the attack on the Chabad house, for the first time ever, it became dangerous to be Jewish in India.

The terrorists’ message was clear: Stay away from Mumbai or you will get killed. Cricket matches with visiting English and Australian teams have been shelved. Japanese and Western companies have closed their Mumbai offices and prohibited their employees from visiting the city. Tour groups are canceling long-planned trips.

But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever....



Read the rest of Suketu's op-ed piece here.

Read Amitabh Bachchan's blog post about the attack here.




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*It's interesting that Suketu is now calling it Mumbai (not Bombay) - a name that, according his book, was pushed by Hindu hard-liners - although on second thought it's probably just correct New York Times style/usage.