Mar 24 2010

Was the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, ‘India’s 9/11′ ?

When India was attacked on 26th November 2008, news anchors and journalists started calling it ‘India’s 9/11.’ This film examines this terminology and the links between 9/11, 26/11 in Mumbai, Iraq, Afghanistan and Modern terror. The conversations between taxi drivers and their passengers in Mumbai taxis delve into these larger issues. A tragic terrorist attack, a lapse in security, the loss of the top Anti Terrorist Squad officials who were investigating the so called ‘Hindu terrorist’ attacks in Malegao lead the people to voice their notions of larger conspiracy theories at a time when the Mainstream media mentions none of this. These are not authoritative voices but perspectives like yours and mine on the events which affect and shape our lives. They are short takes, 140 characters long tweets in taxis, between real people riding in a taxi, in a city that experienced extreme violence, terror and loss.

The current poll on The Taxi Takes has a majority of 50% who say it should not be termed India’s 9/11 and 34% in favor of the Mumbai attacks being termed ‘India’s 9/11. However there are also a small 8 % who are not sure which hence makes this a rather balanced undecided poll.

Watch the film and cast your vote. But more importantly I urge you to listen to the common voices on the streets of the Mumbai Metropolis and gather a sense of where the Mumbai terrorist attack of might figure in the larger scheme of current happenings in the world. Please give your take and comments below.

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2 Responses to “Was the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, ‘India’s 9/11′ ?”

  • Watch Hindi Movies Says:

    nice blog post about this subject. this makes me ask a question though, so i dont really understand the relation of this topic and your entire blog. it just doesnt go together. But nontheless i found it very readable. Cheers, Rizwan

  • Vida Streeby Says:

    Well, that is my first take a look at to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new initiative in a regional community in the exact same niche. Your blog supplied us valuable information to work on. You’ve done a marvellous job!

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Oct 30 2009

Meeting Malalai Joya and Made in Pakistan

I had the great fortune of meeting Malalai Joya, a wonderful voice against the occupation in Afghanistan. She is against the warlords and drug lords in Afghanistan who she says are just as bad as the Taliban and are becoming stronger and more corrupt with the support of the US. A good account of the talk, written by Ellora Derenoncourt can be read here on the South Asia Solidarity Initiative site.
It was an honor to stand by this incredible human being.

In solidarity with Malalai Joya at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

In solidarity with Malalai Joya at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

On a separate but related note, this Sunday The South Asian International Film Festival SAIFF is screening ‘Made in Pakistan’ which appears to be an interesting documentary posing a fresh un-stereotyped view on what Pakistanis themselves feel and are doing in their country. Possibly some good post Halloween realism.
Tickets can be purchased here

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Sep 25 2009

Rory Stewart’s insights on Afghanistan

I just heard Rory Stewart on Channel Thirteen talk about his views on if the US is doing the right thing by increasing troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Stewart is currently the Ryan Family Professor of the Practice of Human Rights and the Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As a former British soldier he walked across Afghanistan in 2002 getting to know the Afghan people, understanding its culture and studying the country. He writes about his experiences in his book, The Places in Between
He eloquently spoke about how he believes that the US goal of creating a Nation State in Afghanistan with the indirect goal of added US security from the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits was impractical.

He goes on to add that it might take several decades for Afghanistan to have basic education, infrastructure, a judicial and military system etc. institutions that Pakistan has. However in my mind, this does not necessarily imply security against terrorism.

Unlike Mr. Stewart I am not an authority on such issues, but I do firmly believe that Pakistan’s current political instability and situation should be of greater concern to the US than Afghanistan. A new documentary called RethinkAfghanistan is currently online to be viewed. I’m personally not in favor of another war, this time Obama’s war!

An excerpt from Rory Stewart’s Irresistible Illusion :

“Furthermore, there are no self-evident connections between the key objectives of counter-terrorism, development, democracy/ state-building and counter-insurgency. Counter-insurgency is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for state-building. You could create a stable legitimate state without winning a counter-insurgency campaign (India, which is far more stable and legitimate than Afghanistan, is still fighting several long counter-insurgency campaigns from Assam to Kashmir). You could win a counter-insurgency campaign without creating a stable state (if such a state also required the rule of law and a legitimate domestic economy). Nor is there any necessary connection between state-formation and terrorism. Our confusions are well illustrated by the debates about whether Iraq was a rogue state harbouring terrorists (as Bush claimed) or an authoritarian state which excluded terrorists (as was in fact the case).

It is impossible for Britain and its allies to build an Afghan state. They have no clear picture of this promised ‘state’, and such a thing could come only from an Afghan national movement, not as a gift from foreigners. Is a centralised state, in any case, an appropriate model for a mountainous country, with strong traditions of local self-government and autonomy, significant ethnic differences, but strong shared moral values? And even were stronger central institutions to emerge, would they assist Western national security objectives? Afghanistan is starting from a very low base: 30 years of investment might allow its army, police, civil service and economy to approach the levels of Pakistan. But Osama bin Laden is still in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He chooses to be there precisely because Pakistan can be more assertive in its state sovereignty than Afghanistan and restricts US operations. From a narrow (and harsh) US national security perspective, a poor failed state could be easier to handle than a more developed one: Yemen is less threatening than Iran, Somalia than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan than Pakistan.”

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3 Responses to “Rory Stewart’s insights on Afghanistan”

  • eliotter Says:

    Just saw the same thing, and I share the concerns. His advice at the end seems spot-on. But Barack is his own man, charting a course, so only time will tell.

  • Bunny Smedley Says:

    It would have been great had you been able to make the point you raise in your second paragraph – about the relationship between development and security, and the crucial relevance of Pakistan to the USA – to Rory Stewart directly, as his answer presumably would have been quite interesting. I also wish the interview had included questions about the relationship between the USA and Iran – he walked across Iran on the same journey that included Afghanistan, so he ought to have insights of some value. But then I guess there is only so much time in any given interview, and so very many questions ….

  • admin Says:

    Well one one hand more development and infrastructure can create nuclear weapons which can help in increasing National security if you go by the tenants of the Non Proliferation Treaty. But in this case I feel that the US trying to develop Afghanistan will not necessarily solve National US security problems for now, since as R. Stewart points out the terrorists are hiding in Pakistan, which being a stronger and more developed nation than Afghanistan can actually shelter them against the World community.

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