Thursday, December 18, 2008

Arundhati Roy " 9 is not 11(November isn't September )

Anyway from Democracy Now we get Amy Goodman's interview of Arundhati Roy and her Response to the Mumbai Terrorists Attacks.

Arundhati Roy has argued that in our Media-driven world the in depth contextual analysis of some event or issue has been replaced by the sound-bite , a snide remark, the punch-line or the GOTCHA MOMENT.

Attempts at intelligent discourse is drowned out by so called journalists and self-appointed experts or political pundits who shout over each other while making wise-cracks about those who disagree with them. Just watch Fox News and much of CNN where everything is simplified or turned into a joke or the hard news is mixed in with celebrity news or other fluff pieces so they won't lose their audience who have been trained and have become accustomed to shorter periods of time being spent on any particular item unless its a piece that can be sensationalized such as O.J. Simpson or a police chase or interviewing people five minutes after they have just lost a family member in a homicide or some other tragedy. But it is all mixed into together as if each and every item is of great consequence so wars, famines , genocides are lumped in with Brittany Spears personal problems or Janet Jackson's nipple.

So the Mumbai terrorists attack gets described as "India's 9/11" which assumes that this is the first terrorist attack in India . Yet India has undergone numerous home-grown terrorist attacks by various extremists groups including Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs. India is no longer the free and democratic state it once was. Large numbers of people especially Muslims are picked up on trumped up charges by the police and those detained are often denied their basic rights and are abused and tortured . India compared to the rest of the also has one of if not the largest number of deaths of those who are imprisoned .

The sound-bite has replaced the harder task of thinking about an issue in a thoughtful manner. Instead we prefer buzz-words , sound-bites , the funny or snide sly remark . We prefer issues reduced to a few lines rather than the long thoughtful contextual commentary which captures the nuances and the various shades of grey which need to be addressed.

Given all the threats and bullets fired and bombs dropped and a couple of million dead which have resulted; according to the simplistic views on terrorism the war on terror should have been over years ago. But the issue is much more complex and is complicated by the wrong-headed knee-jerk purely military solutions to the problem. With enough bullets and bombs the terrorists and insurgents and those who have been disenfranchised can be obliterated leading I guess to world peace.

Speaking about the terrorists attack in Mumbai India writer and commentator Arundhati Roy argues that establishing a massive Homeland Security offensive it will not work in India and that America's response to terrorism since 9/11 has just led to more terrorism :

If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colors, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The US army is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unraveling of the American economy and who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire. (Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?) Hundreds of thousands people including thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequency of terrorist strikes on U.S allies/agents (including India) and U.S interests in the rest of the world has increased dramatically since 9/11. George Bush, the man who led the US response to 9/11 is a despised figure not just internationally, but also by his own people. Who can possibly claim that the United States is winning the war on terror?

Homeland Security has cost the US government billions of dollars. Few countries, certainly not India, can afford that sort of price tag. But even if we could, the fact is that this vast homeland of ours cannot be secured or policed in the way the United States has been. It's not that kind of homeland. We have a hostile nuclear weapons state that is slowly spinning out of control as a neighbour, we have a military occupation in Kashmir and a shamefully persecuted, impoverished minority of more than 150 million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and pushed to the wall, whose young see no justice on the horizon, and who, were they to totally lose hope and radicalise, end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world. If ten men can hold off the NSG commandos, and the police for three days, and if it takes half a million soldiers to hold down the Kashmir valley, do the math. What kind of Homeland Security can secure India?

Nor for that matter will any other quick fix. Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they're for people that governments don't like. That's why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They're just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go. Terrorists like those who attacked Mumbai are hardly likely to be deterred by the prospect of being refused bail or being sentenced to death. It's what they want.

What we're experiencing now is blowback, the cumulative result of decades of quick fixes and dirty deeds. The carpet's squelching under our feet.

The only way to contain (it would be naïve to say end) terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We're standing at a fork in the road. One sign says Justice, the other Civil War. There's no third sign and there's no going back. Choose.

From: Arundhati Roy's article of Dec. 13, 2008 at The
The monster in the mirror The Mumbai attacks have been dubbed 'India's 9/11'

And see Monster In The Mirror at Tom's Dispatch

and at Huffington Post

This is not the first terrorist attack within India - there have been other attacks by Indian Mulims & Indian Hindus
There are have been Hindu extremists or Hindu Supremacists attacks on Indian Muslims. There have been attacks on Indian Hindus by Indian Muslims.

DN! Arundhati (1 of 3) Roy: 9 Is Not 11
Dec. 15, 2008
Arundhati Roy: 9 Is Not 11 (And November Isn't September)

As comparisons between the attacks in Mumbai and the September 11th attacks continue to be made, Indian officials unveiled a massive revamp of the country’s security and anti-terror infrastructure last week. I am joined now by someone who warns of the dangers of comparing the attacks in Mumbai to the attacks in New York: award-winning novelist, essayist and activist, Arundhati Roy.

DN! Arundhati Roy ( 2 of 3 ): 9 Is Not 11
India has more than 500,000 troops in Kashmir

DN! Arundhati Roy (3 of 3 ) : 9 Is Not 11

Hindu Supremacists Fascist style party
India a very feudal society which still holds onto its prejudices & social structure including " The Untouchables ' and Hindu prejudices against Muslims. The issue in India is in fact more complex than it is in the United States. The religious or racial tensions go back at least to India's Independence from Britain and the separation of Pakistan from India.

and so it goes,

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