Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Somber Thanksgiving Tale

The siege in Mumbai is over. The 15 terrorists have been killed or captured. 145 or more people died, and over 350 people were injured. We can expect more terrorist attacks will occur. More people will be killed, if not in India, then in Pakistan, Iraq, Algeria, Spain, the United States. Pick a place.

In the coming days, the security experts will theorize about the group or mind behind the plot. Governments around the world will condemn the attacks and several will rattle some sabers. Mumbai will bury the dead. I don't understand the religious, social, and political thought behind these attacks. I don't understand why anyone would want to kill and maim people who just happened to be in the wrong places at the wrong time.

Oh, I know the terrorist claimed to be targeting Britons, Americans, and Jews, but tell that to the families of the hotel workers, or the widow of the police commander. These terrorists shot and bombed indiscriminately whoever was in range, whoever was in front of them.

The analysts say that the terrorists act out to disrupt economic growth, to sow fear, to stoke religious intolerance, to wreck tourism and development, to inflame xenophobia. And the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack may accomplish all of that and more.

Very soon when the numbness caused by the attack turns to anger, the anger turns to action, and then there's Hell to pay. Tit for tat, eye for an eye, 10,000 times over, payback is always demanded. Where is Jesus' other cheek? Where are Gandhi's sandals? Where is Martin's pen writing in the Birmingham jail?

One of the Indian survivors remarked that the men carrying out the assaults in Mumbai looked so ordinary, young guys in t-shirts and jeans. Maybe this current wave of terrorism started as a religious jihad, but now it's ordinary guys, killing for what?