Bombay, 36 hours later…

November 28, 2008

36 hours after the beginning of the attacks, this is still not over. Typically, the authorities have been telling the media that “everything is under control”.

Amazing.

My grandmother uses this trick all the time. She used to tell me : “Sweetheart, if you are too cold, just keep telling yourself ‘I’m not cold, I’m not cold’, and I promise you, you’ll feel warmer”. I just didn’t think I’d ever hear an echo of my Italian grandmother’s rantings from the mouth of the Indian Police.

I am so angry at the government, at their cowardice, at the way they take their people for idiots.

 

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My hands are shaking while I hit the keyboard: I woke up to countless text messages about Bombay: mother, sisters, friends… I turned the TV on and stared, aghast. I just can’t believe it. Colaba is in flames, nearly a hundred people have died, and there are still hostages. The very places I visited on monday: the Taj, the Oberoi, Leopold Cafe, plus a train station, a hospital and markets. Ten sites in total. What the hell?

Since I arrived in India, there have been bombs nearly every month. I had just left Jaipur when the blasts happened, in May. I was in Delhi when bombs exploded in September, not so far away from the markets where it happened, but thankfully, safe. And now Bombay is hit. I was there yesterday, at these very spots.

What does it feel like to live in a country where such things happen?

It feels like a weird mix of hope and anger. Hope: I wish I had faith. Anger: who did it? Why? How can a police be so absolutely useless? As usual in India, people are left to fend for themselves. They are scared, and they are angry. No wonder then, religions are so easily instrumentalized.

To finish with, I just wanted to point at the numbers: blasts in India kill hundreds of people. They happen nearly every month. A month afterwards, not one single newspaper mentions it. We in the West mourn or victims for years: think London, Madrid, even Paris. The last blast that happened in Paris was in 1982, if I am not mistaken, and we still commemorate it. Maybe this is why foreigners are being targetted now: it is the only way for the terrorists to ensure they get an international coverage.

EDIT: The last bomb blasts in Paris happened in 1996, and not 1982… Thank you Esther!