Everyone around me is talking of the terrorism, but there’s an air of bonhomie about. Plenty of backslapping as friends catch sight of each other, good cheer and chuckling. Are we used to terror now, and is that a good thing or a bad thing?
From India Uncut:
Suddenly, what is familiar seems macabre.
From Known Turf:
This isnâ€™t about the spirit of the people. It isnâ€™t about people feeling secure either. I see all this terror and am just exhausted. I am not feeling spirited, not at all. Yet, the only desire I have right now is to be able to get all dressed up, step out of my house, catch a train, walk into a cafÃ©, chat with friends, make plans, talk about books, watch a good play. And I will. We all will. Like we did after the last blast, and the blast before that one, and the one before.
If the frequency of the blasts is going up, and if there are annoying security checks even at hotels and cinemas and shopping complexes, well, weâ€™ll go through the checks and go on living. There will be music and travel and art and blasphemy and new religions and old philosophies. There will also be territorial wars and faith-based conflict and bias and sycophancy and illegal immigration.
What kind of brainless twit cannot see that people do not change so easily? That no number of blasts can cure people of the desire for normalcy and fun. For beauty and passion and laughter. For money. And also for justice and truth.
In this light, the taking of American Jewish hostages may be of great importance. It may represent the changing alignment in the Pakistani terror movement as its leadership passes from a more South-Asia-focused leadership to a more Arab-focused one. This could be the unfortunate concomitant of the failed US war in Afghanistan as the old Al-Qaeda leadership, driven away from Afghanistan but made more powerful, has now taken over operations in Pakistan. Hence the attacks of November 26 are extremely similar to attacks on foreigners in Cairo and in Beirut, with the focus being to attack the US and Israel while humiliating India.
So when the Lashkar e Toiba say they are innocent, perhaps they are right. While their old cadre may be involved in the project operationally and the ISI may still be a major mobilizing and training force, the old brain-trusts of the LET are perhaps no longer in control of the Pakistani Jihadi movement. In other words, the actual Jihadis may be South-Asian but the ones pulling the strings thousands of miles away may be Arabs. Which is why they go out of their way to take a Jewish American hostage and that too a Rabbi.
The train and bus bombings were the â€œoldâ€ way of doing things. These endeavors meet their objectives in the following manner: 1) cause panic 2) make the Indian government make heavy-handed arrests 3) portray those arrested as innocents by â€œfriendsâ€ in the media and 4) antagonize minorities who are fed the message that they are being targeted. This I expect will continue.
But November 26 has shown that there is a new kind of terrorism which has emergedâ€”-the kind that does not make much attempt to hide its foreign bonafides, which seeks to effect a more direct toll by breaking international confidence in a countryâ€™s economic and political institutions, and which has multiple strategic objectives one of which is to promote and provoke sectarian violence.