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Caribbean: Watching Mumbai

Three Caribbean nations — Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago — have substantial populations of Indian origin, and many of the region's anglophone territories have cultural links with India rooted in British colonialism. (Cricket — the "national" sport of both the West Indies and India — is the most obvious manifestation.) Unsurprisingly, many people in the Caribbean — bloggers included — have been closely following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai with anxiety and consternation.

As news of the horrific events spread on the evening of Wednesday 26 November, MediaCritic at Living Guyana wondered how the Guyanese media would cover the Mumbai attacks:

If 80 people were killed in five separate attacks in any single US city it would be the leading news item in the local television newscasts.

Let us see if the local newscasts lead with this or if they shuffle it down in their international news segment or if they opt to cover it at all.

Later that night he reported: "Just as we thought, none of the local newscasts covered it." He added: "People want the news live from India, not the filtered crap CNN is giving us."

For Ian Ramjohn, a Trinidadian living in the United States, the situation in Mumbai reminded him , disturbingly, of the 1990 attempted coup in which Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister and others were held hostage and the city of Port of Spain suffered severe damage. "It’s a little bit like re-living the most traumatic experience of your life. Not quite re-living it, but kinda," he said. He reflected further:

We are victims of our own experience. I am unable to see the events that are happening in Mumbai through any filter other than my own experience. It may serve me badly or it may serve me well…. the thing that struck me about the Mumbai police were there in riot helmets, armed with antique rifles. Probably more than adequate for crowd control in the city (although, again, I was struck by the fact that the face plates were mesh, not plastic), but no match for AKs and grenades. And once again I was reminded of the coup.

Annie Paul, an Indian writer and critic who lives in Jamaica, posted an excerpt from a Facebook conversation which she "overheard" — a discussion among a group of young Indians about their country's priorities, in light of the Mumbai attacks. It begins: "It is high time India stops sending missions to the moon and starts focusing on national security…." The Guyana Providence Stadium blog made a similar point:

Seems like total chaos, disorganization and misinformation being bandied around in India — this is the impression being painted on CNN…. Is this the same India that just sent a rocket to the moon?

And Bermudan blogger Jonnystar, currently studying in Britain, described the reactions of students in his postgraduate housing, including "a large number of Pakistani and Indian nationals":

Nationals of both states huddled together in front of computer screens and the televisions at the nearby student pub, in a mix of horror, silent contemplation and frantic attempts to contact family and friends living, working, studying or otherwise visiting Mumbai….

Ironic in our modern technological society that we in Edinburgh were at times better informed than those in Mumbai itself. For a while students here served as centres for relaying information and compiling lists of who’s injured, what hospital they were at, who’s okay and were they are and so on. And then of course the cellphone network in Mumbai either collapsed due to traffic or was disabled by the authorities, we don’t know.

He added: "There are no signs of tension between the Indian and Pakistani students here, only shared concern and disgust at these atrocities."

  • Ahmed

    Most humbly, most respectfully and sharing your grieves whole heartly, I would like to state my views about why Pakistan is

    not involved in Mumbai attacks due to the following reasons:

    - They are not damn fools to leave clues like boats, GPS devices, mobile phones, etc. this is all orchestrated and rubbish

    - The culprits of Samjhota express bombings and other bombings were identified and being interrogated and many Hindu elements

    were angry on it, why would Pakistan do an act that would divert the whole flood towards them and make a safe passage for

    real culprits ?

    - Pakistan will never kill the three MOST important COPS of ATS who were interrogating RAW and INDIAN army officers over

    Melagaon blasts.

    - Pakistan and ISI are already too much troubled and they won’t like to open a new front whereas all the countries like USA,

    UK, India and Israel are their sworn enemies at the same time.

    - Pakistan army is already fighting terrorists in its own land.

    - why Pakistan will take such an action, result of which would be all attention diverted from Hindu elements in different

    blasts towards them ??

    And FINALLY some questions to think ….

    - If terrorists were looking for UK and USA citizens and when they had held hostages from Israel, whey didn’t they kill them

    and let them GO ?

    - Why and How the ATS chief and other two important officers who were interrogating some HINDU elements were hit in the very

    beginning while they were in their Jeep?

    - When Kashmiri freedom movement is at its full swing, why would they do such an act that would destroy their movement ?

    - Why it has taken more than 48 hours for black ops, black cats, this marine commondo, that marine commondo to complete the

    task ??? and still doing ???

    …………

    It is very much clear who benefited mainly from the MUMBAI blasts.
    Think about it.

  • Sanjay

    It may not be the government but other rogue elements who the government of pakistan has no control over. If pakistan does not stabilize itself and root out the madrassas and training camps, India should do it for them. Worse comes to worse, India will have to nuke Pakistan out of existence once and for all.

  • ella

    Ahmed

    Respectfully – they killed 135 people and some of them were Canadian. And one of Canadian hostages was a doctor. And the doctor was working with poor people, providing care for them in Quebec.
    They did not “let them go.”
    Less respectfully – why the terrorists spoke with punjabi(pakistani) accent?
    Still less respectfully – why their action was planned with military precision and they got into town by boat?
    Even less respectfully – how come that they were so well trained that it took couple of days for indian military to root them out and who trained them so well?

  • http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/11/28/israel-updates-on-the-chabad-home-hostage-operation-in-mumbai/ Kaylee

    Sanjay, I know your upset, as am I over these montrous attacks, I want to find whoevers responsible for these crimes, drag them in the street and shoot them all in the head one by one. But to incite violence against a whole country is another thing.Not every Pakistani is a terrorist,Lord knows they have enough terrorists bombing their own country. If anything Pakistan and India must root out these monsters together, everyone in the world should unite and I do think there should be a global anti-terrorism force.Remember in the top blog Jonnystar said both Pakisstani and Indian students huddled together and they were all disgusted by these events. What we all should do now is pray for the hostages and people still trapped, the injured, those who have lost loved ones and the people of Mumbai and India. As well does anyone know of anyway to donate money or other help to the victems?

  • shamgar

    India should make use of ‘chandraayan’ to pinpoint terrorists locations and proceed to dimantle them.

  • Ad

    FYI for everyone who above thinks that all three police officers killed by the terrorists were investigating the Malegaon blasts, they were not. Only Hemant Karkare was investigating that, the others were normal officers with the Mumbai police. Hemant Karkare rushed to the scene of crime with the other officers because he is the chief of ATS Maharashtra.
    So if anyone above is cooking up any tales about 3 officers killed by Hindus because they were investigating hindus, get your facts right first.
    Secondly you have conviniently forgotten the point that NO MUSLIM TERRORISTS OR SUSPECTS CAUGHT HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO ANY NARCO TESTS, WHILE ALL HINDU SUSPECTS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO IT WITHOUT PERMISSION.

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