The nightmare on television screens is real

November 28, 2008

Just returned from the Oberoi where hundreds are still inside – Indians, foreigners, cooks and cleaners. London in 2005, Mumbai trains 2006.

Each time I follow the same movements – learn what, locate where, retrieve family, check team, do phoners, make frantic calls with London desks.

And then reflect… strangely I was in both hotels just hours before Wednesday’s attacks.

Heavy security at the Taj in place since Islamabad Marriot bombing had just been lifted. As I entered to pick up a cake at 6 p.m., I pushed my way around a metal detector. I was in a hurry, the security guard gave me a knowing glance.

At 6:30 p.m. I was at the Oberoi – I walked in for a haircut (I have a thing for the hotel’s traditional barber shop). In the lobby two heavily decorated Maharashtra police officers chatting. One carrying a wooden baton with shiny metal tips. How odd it looked – what would it be used for I wondered… a marching band?

As I waited for an elevator down to the shop, I listened in on three French women chatting about shopping – the barber shop was its usual calm – one of the quietest places in the city – and just 15 minutes in and out.

As I made my way home through Mumbai’s insane traffic I could feel my blood pressure rising… it happens every day.

Never mind. As this tragedy unfolds there is an image in my mind – the lobby of the Oberoi – bustling with foreign business people, tourists, and even police. Now that polished white marble floor is host to a different world.

Until now this has been about the “rest of India” – bicycle bombs in bustling vegetable markets, cinemas, attacks on trains. Now the nightmare on television screens is real.


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As a muslim Pakistani, and as a person who works next door to Marriot hotel in Islamabad and had walked past the front of the hotel only the morning of 20th sept, the day when the hotel was bombed in a barbaric way. I can percieve the pain people in Mumbai are feeling. My condolences from heart go to the family of victims who lost their lives and i wish speedy recovery of those injured.
We in Pakistan emerged stronger after the Islamabad Marriot bombing and i feel people in India will overcome this tragedy. There is a need to stay calm and face this with steadfastness, as the terrorists are nabbed and punished. This could well be an occassion where both India and pakistan could unite to eliminate a common enemy. Islam has no place for reckless killing spree’s, certainly those who did this are not muslims by any definition. They are terrorists, plain and simple.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Welcome to the nightmare, friend! The nightmare has become real and real life is a distant dream to tell your children and grandchildren…

It is no longer India, Pakistan, UK, US, Bali or Madrid…we are all world citizens…citizens of a world seen through the other side of the binocular…distorted and real.

Will you ever be safe again? Anywhere, any part of the world…you will always hear the shells and the sound of the blasts…and see the blood splashed on the marble floors.

I don’t want to be part of this world any more…

Posted by Last Mohican | Report as abusive

How soon will we see a inexperienced senate member doing circles to try to reason with a handfull of countrys that have been at war and in cival conflicts for over 100yrs. wake up America we do not have a leader, just assk our muslim imperial king Obama how he will change this!! Thank God he was not in a school room with children. ashamed of him. Colorado

Posted by davidcloer | Report as abusive


Your pathetic and you words are as ridiculous as the actions of the people that committed these crimes. Get out of your 25 km bubble and see the world for what it is. Your as much of the problem as these killers.

Posted by BR | Report as abusive

My condolences to those who were affected by the events in Mumbai. It seems that we need to take a different approach in how we handle international relations. Maybe the idea of winning friends and influencing people will make more sense now than this constant war on terror. The world has gotten smaller with the advances in technology so we need to focus on how we are going to live together in the twenty first century and beyond. Peace everytime.

Posted by Ian | Report as abusive

This is a horrible thing to consider, but to stop this sort of thing we’ll have to “DRESDEN” them. It broke the heart of the NAZI and eventually their back. We saved many Allied lives in Europe. We also saved Amrerican many GIs and civilian lives in using the atomic bomb on Japan. They are trying to do this to the rest of the world and US. Make them afraid there will be no one to mourn them and carry on the WAR against THE REST OF THE WORLD WHO ARE NOT MUSLIMS.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive

The cowards with guns must be denounced by all people who love peace. Those Islamo-facists do not represent the majority of people in the world! They are cowards who pretend to be working for some noble cause, when in reality they are the most non-religious hypocrites in the world. They are not in the league of freedom-fighters–they are instead just the lowest mass murderers who care nothing for their fellow human beings. If they are so brave, why don’t they attack military targets. If they are so religious, why do they kill the innocent around the world? They have killed innocent people in America, Britain, Spain and let’s face it, all around the world. True evil is on display when they do what they do. They are more like the devil than like a just and holy God.

Posted by Rando | Report as abusive

Here is a question for our leaders, our neighbors and ourselves;
Will the Religion of Peace allow us to live in peace, or does the Koran tell a much different story with a different outcome?
I think Islam may have jumped the gun, again. It has given itself a bad name… just to speak it brings back the horror inflicted in it’s name.

I will not submit.

Posted by Randall, USA | Report as abusive

We are accustomed to blaming Islam every time a terrorist attack occurs, yet we ask for little real evidence. Be more wary of the war mongers in the political establishment. Watch as our constitution continues to be shot full of holes, as our civil liberties continue to dissolve, as our national defense progressively disintegrates, and as our economy falls to desperate status. Watch as we kill more innocent people in foreign lands while the threat of terrorism increases.

We must all know by now that few if any of our victims in Iraq and Afghanistan have ever played a role in commiting acts of terror and we should logically expect that few if any of our future victims will ever play a role in committing such acts. The truth is that more war crimes will never solve this problem, because the problem has been defined to mislead us. (Remember Osama?)

People who knowingly profit from war have little incentive to stop it and are, quite logically, inspired to create more opportunities. Muslim rage (too often justified) and acts of terror serve the goals of the power elite in the West, which will be quite happy to keep the problem alive and to keep us at war forever (already a stated goal and not a secret). The history of US counter-terrorism activity makes it impossible to reach any other conclusion (see jsp).

This is the key: the real job of a political leader is not to solve national problems, but to get the public to participate in the undoing of democracy, to sacrifice their children, etc. Our job is always to think more critically.

Posted by Anit | Report as abusive


the US and its Allies are not the problem, not evil, and do not kill innocent lives for the reasons you describe. The WORLD is trying to be held hostage in fear by a band of thugs and killers. Someday, heaven forbid, a terrorist is ready to murder you or your loved one, rape your children, or take away every freedom you have – I would like to see your response. Walk away? try to talk to them? or defend yourself and stop the agression before it confronts you? I pray for all those affected by terrorism every day – may God take away this evil.

Posted by randy | Report as abusive

Some thoughts on our situation in the world today….

What you see is plain Terrorism, it is not a thing done by logical minds but those of persons with misguided views. It is Fanaticism. There is no reasoning with a fanatic. Their views make no sense or are at all logical. Unfortunately in the world today Islamic fanaticism is at its highest. Like any religious text, it is open to interpretation, and the fanatics in some Islamic sects choose to interpret it to their advantage. Do not get me wrong, Fanatics exist in Hinduism, Christianity and even in Oriental religions that purport to be based in Buddhism. It is just that at this time the Muslim fanatics are the most prevalent.
Why is this, there are many reasons, oh sure they say they want countries like the US, GB etc to leave their lands, but lets say they did, what would happen then, the fanatics would take over the government, suppress the people and reveal the real reason for their fanaticism, not religion, not getting foreign powers to leave, just plain and simple to have the POWER to do what they want and control the people and the counties wealth.
There is a need for men and women in the world to see and realize the results of fanaticism and to unite to stamp it out. There is a need for WE THE PEOPLE of the world to unite against it, and show some resolve, and eliminate these misguided ones in society if they do not wish to be enlightened.

Posted by Misra | Report as abusive

speaking from a civilian perspective, i must say i’m so disappointed in Muslims. They allow this sort of terrorism to spread throughout their commumities and do nothing but try to defend their religion after these deadly deeds are done. They condem them sure, but what do they do after the fact. Nothing! It’s the responsibility of the Muslims to control and stop this fanaticism amongst their people. To sit back and continue with their lives and cry over their youth giving their lives for some crazy group, is just a bad as picking up a gun and participating in the henious acts. There’s no way i will ever respect this Muslim religion.

Posted by sm swafford | Report as abusive