Reports are still coming in about the shocking night of terror in Mumbai. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was attacked covering the usual target of Mumbai's common man. But if some news sources are to be believed then what is peculiar about these Mumbai attacks is that the terrorists seemed to be specifically targeting tourists, Americans and British nationals. Several scattered accounts provide information about the gunmen picking out people with US and British passports.
Mumbai has been attacked several times before. So has the rest of India. It is not uncommon for me to rush and dial home in the middle of a work day and make sure my family and friends are safe. I selfishly heave a sigh of relief when everybody I know is alive and well. This time when some of the headlines stated that foreigners, specifically Brits and Americans were being targeted I was puzzled. And then it made sense. With the security heightened in the US and in Britain as well in recent years, it is hard to target Americans and British nationals inside their own country. Mumbai security has never been particularly terrorist-proof and hosts tourists from all over the world. Everybody is aware that most foreign tourists reside in the Oberoi and Taj hotels in the city. While heinous acts of terrorism are not unusual in Mumbai, this attack though carried out in Mumbai, is in reality an attack on the people of 3 nations that should come together as a stronger, more united front in the fight against terrorism.
It will be a while before the complete agenda of this militant group is revealed. But there are some obvious truths that are staring us in the face as this tragedy unfolds. I find it hard to understand why so many bomb blasts and terrorists attacks later Mumbai's security is still not as stringent as it could be. The media glosses over the "spirit of Mumbai" that rises up the day after every senseless attack and then...nothing. Reports about investigations tracking the terrorists die down after a while. Life goes on like nothing happened for those of us who don't lose someone we love in the explosions or shootings in India. The Indian government has done absolutely squat towards increasing the security for the cities that have the potential to be terrorist targets. The international news reports all agree on one thing: the police response to the attacks was slow and people were still able to get through to the very entrance of the hotels even after the explosions and gunfire had begun. The rumor mill also reports that police cars fired shots at civilians in Mumbai. The questions being asked by the international news media include: How could a group of terrorists launch such a widespread attack within a commercial capital without anything being detected at all by the government or by the Indian intelligence? I cringe as I hear about the lack of training of the Indian police forces in tackling terrorist attacks and watch footage of policeman running around aimlessly as injured men and women are assisted, as is usual in Mumbai, by other civilians. The attention brought about by news of American hostages may put additional international pressure on India to make some much-needed changes in the system. If terrorists can arrive in boats through Gateway Of India and launch such a large-scale attack in a commercial capital of the nation, it really says abysmal things about a nation's homeland security.
The U.S too will now need to recognize and acknowledge that it cannot protect its citizens against terrorism and Islamic militants by X-raying shoes and handbags during airport security checks alone. Terrorist attacks can be carried out in foreign countries where security provisions are lax. It is possible that in the aftermath of this terrorist attack American leaders may wake up to the reality of terrorism being a global issue that the rest of the world has been dealing with for a very long time. Homeland security is within the borders but terrorism is not.