The ruthless terrorist attacks aimed at high profile luxury establishments in Mumbai were specifically orchestrated towards Britons and Americans to get premium media coverage. The destruction of the attacks is said to be unprecedented in scope and terror. Its Mumbai's 9-11--only to the power of 10. Taking a page right out of the book of 'Al-Qaeda systematic attacks', the prehensile Deccan Mujahideen, who have taken responsibility for the attacks, were following the blueprint for simultaneous terror. Understanding the global reputation of Americans, thanks to the likes of Bush, it's not a huge mystery as to why the Deccan Mujahideen picked their targets. The five star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, an Indian Landmark and Oberoi Towers where mostly foreigners and NRI frequent would surly create some very high profile coverage for a virtually unknown Deccan Mujahideen.
The Granger Causality Test created by Nobel Laureate Clive Granger says that coverage causes more attacks, and attacks cause more coverage. It's no wonder why the Deccan Mujahideen follow in the footsteps of Al-Qaeda attacks on high profile locations. The tactical and strategic gain for the perpetrators creates an ominous future of fear for us but seems to produce favorable results for them. Every news channel, print media and virtual medium is bombarded with the same message: Fear. Mission successful.
Pictures of terrorist activity are distributed everywhere with the now famous burning dome of the Taj Hotel and very young gunman gripping his AK-47. Stories are leaking out as to how the terrorists went from room to room in search of UK and US foreigners. Gunmen were heard shouting, "Who has UK or US passports?" The hostage situation now gives even more legitimacy to the Deccan Mujahideen. It suggests that they have a plight so intense and their message can be heard not only in Mumbai but also globally. Yes. The world is listening.
Every bit of information that comes out creates new anxiety and fear. Now I know they had a kill-list. Not a Hit-list but a Kill-list. When did the hit-list become a Kill-list? The shaping of perspective by the media and even potential glamorization only adds to more violent and powerful attacks. The sophistication by the Deccan Mujahideen and the copycat blueprint of 9-11 attack suggests to me that perhaps they had intention of "doing it bigger" to provoke stronger reaction. All these publicity seeking attacks, including the assassination of several high-ranking officials in Mumbai emphasizes the group's desperate attempt to create political, economic and national terror on the global stage.
The terrorist operative also bloodied a famous restaurant immortalized by Gregory David Roberts in Shantaram called Leopold's. Having frequented Leopold's while staying at the Taj Mahal Palace on my trips to Mumbai, it was always filled with NRI and foreigners. A hot spot for travelers on a budget. Attacking the highly visible hot spots like Leopold's adds further to disorientation and despair. The fact that the attacks were not scattered or isolated but very concentrated, since Leopold's is a mere walking distance from the Taj Mahal, intensifies the psychological impact.
India's image as a violent and unsafe country, under siege by a possible Kashmir sympathizers who may be Pakistan-based is domestic political challenge as well as a global challenge. In and instant, by way of extensive media coverage, India has become a symbol of violence and fear.
Mumbai has lost her charm for the holidays, she is caught in a superfluous war that has wounded her spirit. I am sure many events and gatherings will be canceled, as my friend Anouskha Shankar just reported her concert with her father Ravi Shankar scheduled in Mumbai was canceled for tonight. Yes, there is a deeper emotion experienced in anticipation of danger, an anxious feeling when people congregate but Mumbai is resilient. She has survived the battery of so many and somehow she lifts herself from the ashes and rises once again.