Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Mumbai Massacre

The taking of any life, according to my personal belief, is a cardinal sin, and neither war, nor 'jihad' nor anything can justify this to me. The Mumbai Massacre, the 9/11 incident, the killing of Palestinians, Iraqi's, Afghans and anyone in the world all fall within my definition of senseless murder. It is sad testimony that in this day and age we cannot sit across the table and sort things out and have to resort to this mayhem. The Mumbai Massacre will be tainted by many different connotations but none of these will bring back the people who died and their only fault was to be there at that time.

Sadly the terrible incident will be colored in the light of the tense political relationship between Pakistan and India, and people will forget that Pakistani's too face the wrath of this terrible mayhem and any Pakistani who had a sense of empathy will feel the pain of what the Indian nation has gone through. It is a time to heal and it is a time for people to educate themselves on the scourge of this hate that is falsely using the name of Islam, which actually is a very tolerant religion, to spread hate and death.

Terrorism does not have a face and it does not rely on the conveinence of borders, so it does not matter if one or all of the attackers in Mumbai were Pakistani or from wherever. These same people could just as easily have attacked a hotel in Karachi as they did in Mumbai. What people have to understand, appreciate and act upon is a common sense of loss and bring about an understanding of why these people have such hate and what can be done to deal with it.

Indian reaction internally will test their dogma of secularism and indeed some Indian Muslims will become the target of a form of internal exclusion and suspicion that will fall upon them. It would be in the interest of peace that such recriminations are not directed towards the Muslims, Pakistani or anyone in general terms. This was not a communal, religious or state act, it was the work of some misguided people who have been led to believe that their means are justified for the ills they feel they have suffered.

Underlying these sort of events bring about the urgency for people to settle their differences and bring about peace in their communities. People have said this is India's 9/11, I hope India does not react in the way the US acted when the 9/11 act happened to them. It is not the solution that would achieve anything, and while the people behind such an attack should be brought to justice it also implies that a better understanding of how to tackle the mind of these youth is needed. I have argued, even in my book soon to be published, that the battle that is going on is not on battlefields or a war for land, it is a battle for the minds of the next generation of our youth. It is here that we have to win the argument.