Mumbai massacre beyond comprehension

If you’ve been following the news at all lately, you’ve heard about the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Details are still sketchy, but the latest news seems to indicate a group of terrorist gunmen came ashore on rubber boats and attacked six different locations in Mumbai.

The Taj Mahal Hotel, the Oberoi-Trident Hotel, Leopold Cafe, a train terminus, an orthodox Jewish outreach center, and the Cama hospital.

It’s such a tragedy, and one of the most abhorrent things in a while.  Beyond the mere barbarism of a suicide bomb, this was carefully and methodically planned.  What makes it most terrifying is that it was done with almost sociopathic precision.  The gunmen were prepared with tons of ammunition, bags of grenades, and some reports are even saying they carried bags of almonds because they knew they needed the energy.  And, they were smart.  They used Blackberrys to watch the horror they caused and get a sense of how the media was reporting it.

It’s almost like something out of a movie.  They stormed in and opened fire.  They lobbed a grendate into a crowded cafe.  They fired mercilessly and aimlessly into a crowded train platform.  So many people died, and for what?

No one knows what these idiots wanted.  No one even knows what group they belong to.  There were early reports that they were rounding up British and American expats, and that foreigners were being targeted.  But most of the dead ended up being local Indian nationals. There’s no political agenda to be seen.  No statement.  Nothing.  Some accusations are being thrown around that accuse Lashkar-e-Taba of being behind it.  India seems convinced it’s Pakistani-based.  Pakistan says no.

The Boston Globe has a series of pictures (some of them extremely graphic), and there’s one (non-graphic one) which I’ll repost below.

That’s what one of the terrorists looked like.  A young, well-dressed, man.  This is one of the douchebags who opened fire into the crowd and killed many.  But the crowd got revenge on one of the gunmen.  The mob overpowered one of them and beat him with sticks until police arrived.  He was the only one taken alive.  It is through his interrogation that these allegations of Pakistani-based backing is emerging.

Could anyone have seen this coming?  The US says yes. According to them, India was warned of the possibiltiy of an attack more than a month ago.  That is a rather scary thought, and one I hope is not true.  But I can only imagine how impossible it must seem to try and monitor a country of over a billion people.  Mumbai alone has 12 million people in it.  That’s bigger than some countries.

There are countless stories of heroism that are coming out of this.  As always, ordinary people have been stepping up to try and save lives left and right.  The announcer at the train terminus helped guide people to safety.  Hotel employees helped hide guests and protect them, even as their own lives were threatened.  The security forces did their best to stop these gunmen, storming the hotels and other locations.

The thing I think is most fascinating, and I think sends the strongest message of disapproval is the decision of a major Muslim cemetary near Mumbai to refuse to bury the militants.  Their statement? “”People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim,” said Hanif Nalkhande, a trustee. “Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.”” According to Islam, even criminals must be accorded the right to be buried in a Muslim cemetary.  The refusal simply means the cemetary does not believe they are actually Muslims.  It may be mere semantics, but it does send a strong message.  Further, since it is unlikely that anyone else will come forward to claim the bodies, they may lay in the morgue until they can find a place to bury them.  Since this is outside the traditional burial period, and the place may not be a Muslim cemetary, I wonder how this will affect their progression.  Assuming, of course, that they are truly Islamic militants in search of martyrdom, does this failure to be buried in accordance with the rules of Islam mean they do not achieve this martyrdom?  I kind of hope so.

I think it is a powerful message for the Muslim community to send, to say that those who perpetrate heinous acts like this aren’t true Muslims and will not receive the blessings and salvation that they seek.  This may actually have a bigger effect at deterring terrorism than many other initatives.

I guess, in summary, I hope these evil men pay for what they did.  I’ll leave you with a paraphrase I find appropriate.

Today we are all Mumbaikers.

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