links for 2008-11-29

  • You do not need to be a journalist to understand the basic premise of ethics, which starts with protecting victims first; and that is done by avoiding key information from being aired publicly—such as but not limited to revealing the number of possible people still in, the hideouts of hostages and people stuck in buildings.

    Imagine you’re one of those sorry souls holed-up in one of those bathrooms, or kitchens. A journalist pulls your kin outside and asks about your last contact on national television, and other prying details. In a bout of emotion, if they happen to reveal more details, you are sure going to hell. Remember these are hotels, where in all likelihood, every room has a television. All a terrorist needs to do is listen to Ms. Barkha Dutt’s latest achievement of extracting information from your relative, based on your last phone-call or SMS. And you’re shafted—courtesy NDTV.

  • They were heroes in cummerbunds and overalls. The staff of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel saved hundreds of wealthy guests as heavily armed gunmen roamed the building, firing indiscriminately, leaving a trail of corpses behind them.
    Among the workers there were some whose bravery and sense of duty led them to sacrifice their own lives…
    Prashant Mangeshikar, a guest, said that a hotel worker, identified only as Mr Rajan, had put himself between one of the gunmen and Mr Mangeshikar, his wife and two daughters.
    “The man in front of my wife shielded us,” Mr Mangeshikar said. “He was a maintenance section staff member. He took the bullets.” For the next 12 hours, before Mr Rajan was finally taken out of the hotel, guests battled to stop the bleeding from a gaping bullet wound in his abdomen. It is not known if he lived…
    Faced with conditions that the troops, India’s toughest soldiers, said had tested them to the limit, the staff of the Taj Mahal remained astonishingly composed
  • Today, the platitudes flow like blood. Terrorism is unacceptable; the terrorists are cowards; the world stands united in condemnation of this atrocity. Commentators in the U.S. have pronounced the carnage India's 9/11. But India has endured many attempted 9/11s, notably a 2001 assault on its Parliament that nearly led to all-out war against the assailants' presumed sponsors, Pakistan.
    This year alone, terrorist bombs have taken lives in Jaipur, in Ahmedabad, in Delhi and several places on one searing day in the state of Assam.
    Indians have had to endure the unspeakable horrors of terrorist violence ever since malign men in Pakistan concluded it was cheaper and more effective to bleed India to death than to attempt to defeat it in conventional war. Attack after attack has been proved to have been financed, equipped and guided from across the border. And …I believe it is unlikely that this horror was homegrown.
  • The terrorists picked their targets well – by hitting Mumbai’s most-loved symbols of wealth and prosperity, cosmopolitanism and progress, they succeeded in their mission of demonstrating to the world just how simple it is to attack iconic institutions and hold a teeming metropolis to ransom.Yes. My daughter will get married. And yes,the ceremony will be at the Taj – burnt…. but not bowed. We will always love it. Terrorists may destroy a structure. But our souls are our own.
  • Foreign news agencies like CNN spare no breath in telling us how India always blames Pakistan in a “knee-jerk” fashion for every incident in the country. This is of course knee-jerk only when India is concerned, when the US identifies Al-Qaeda and Taliban days after 9/11 as the culprit…it is considered to be justice…
    November 26 has shown that there is a new kind of terrorism which has emerged—-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 country’s economic and political institutions, and which has multiple strategic objectives one of which is to promote and provoke sectarian violence.
    If one wants to see an example of how a country crumbles under such attacks, read the modern history of Lebanon where a multi-cultural, liberal country was decimated by a series of such attacks, fragmenting the country into essentially a group of warring militias.
    Dark days ahead.
  • We leave the premises at around 8:15 PM give or take a few minutes. Two hours later those bastards attacked. That night I see the Taj burn. The fire leaps from a room on the sixth floor possibly right next to the one in which I interviewed my CEO.
    I will never, ever forget that sight.
    My CEO was located unharmed the next morning. Perhaps many of the other people I walked past and nodded at politely were not.
    When the Taj returns to business, as it must, no prizes for guessing who will be among the first to go back into that lobby. I must.
  • …The significance of 9/11 was that it made Americans conscious of the danger they were in and aware that nothing was safe; that terrorists could destroy such powerful symbols of American prestige as the World Trade Center.
    In our case, 26/11 has had the same impact. By striking at the heart of prosperous and largely peaceful south Bombay, the terrorists have served notice that there is nothing they cannot do, and nowhere that they cannot reach.
    …The government must realise that this is not just another terrorist strike. This one has changed all the rules, both in terms of the impact it has had on the Indian psyche and in the anger and fear that now course through our veins.
    No more promises. No more speeches. It’s time to act.
  • I'm also not an economist, although degrees in economics and finance don't seem to have helped the masters of the universe in charge of our economy. Every year I teach my eighth graders about the Great Depression. We talk about how Americans in the 1920s spent more money than they had. We talk about the enormous debt they ran up, and how that debt finally caught up with the nation's overheated economy and sank it. Every year some fourteen-year-old raises his hand and observes, "Isn't that like what people do with credit cards today?"
    How can something that occurs to a kid in eighth grade slip past the Federal Reserve and the former CEO of Goldman Sachs? In fairness, there was more to the Great Depression than excessive personal spending. Back then people were buying overvalued stocks and other securities with money that didn't really exist.
  • A really good photo-essay. Some pictures are quite disturbing. Please ignore the comments.

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