Terrorizing World – "Enough is enough"

Time to ACT tough . Now !

Pakistan : should we attack ?

Posted by :) on December 12, 2008


Make it count

Anand G Mahindra

When the guns fell silent at the Taj in Mumbai, an eerie silence replaced their staccato rhythm. A few days later, boisterous noises more familiar to the city returned when SMS-summoned crowds gathered at the Gateway to declare “enough is enough”. Queues began to form in front of the forest of TV microphones that were there to record the vox populi.
And then the war cries began. “There is no alternative but to launch a full-scale attack on Pakistan,” shouted a college student. “George Bush did not hesitate before going into Afghanistan to avenge 9/11!” George Bush, a role model? I could not believe my ears as the speeches
grew more strident and unreal. It was as if all the lessons of the past eight years of dubious US diplomacy had been lost through collective amnesia. As America prepared to repudiate its follies and install a president that would be more thoughtful and collaborative, we in Mumbai were casting a halo on the misguided adventures of his predecessor!
The sheer naivety of some of these brave-hearts was astonishing. Had they simply overlooked the fact that Bush’s broadsides never targeted nations with nuclear missiles pointed back at him? Perhaps they were too young to have seen photographs of Hiroshima and the terror of remote-controlled radiation. Perhaps they were just too emotional at that point to weigh the devastating consequences of a protracted war.
The lesson from Iraq is that if ever a country in today’s times wishes to carry out attacks on a sovereign nation, then it should do so only with the assent and collaboration of the international community. Let us give our diplomats in Delhi the legroom to pursue a strategy of talking tough, while simultaneously providing evidence to the US of Pakistan’s hospitality to terrorist groups. There should be unrelenting pressure on Pakistan to prove its anti-terror credentials, which it will be able to do only by permitting other nations to join forces with it in an uncompromising assault on rogue regions and terrorist camps within its territory.

Even more distressing than the war-lust at the Gateway, however, were reports carried by the media about unprovoked verbal assaults on innocent members of the minority community. Terrorism ultimately is bred by poverty and prejudice. How can this country prosper if the target of prejudice is 150 million citizens who are made to feel they are not part of the mainstream?
I believe that what we have seen in the last few days is the true manifestation of the much-maligned “spirit of Mumbai”. I take pride in the fact that the public behaviour of all communities has been exemplary. Because of this the attackers did not achieve one of their principal goals, which was to incite a resurgence
of communal rioting in Mumbai. The strongly expressed anger and the newly minted demands for accountability have been and must continue to be combined with the intrinsic resilience and spirit of tolerance that have always characterised Mumbai. This is not simply a warm and fuzzy utopian aspiration. Mumbai’s survival is dependent upon enhancing the strength of its community networks.
There has been speculation about the local support that may have been extended to the terrorists. Indeed, every campaign of terror relies on segments of the local population that are alienated and marginalised. It is only when citizens grow disaffected with the objectives of the terrorists, and recognise that their interests lie elsewhere, that the tide turns against the violence.
The most effective weapon we have against terrorists is to become even more steadfast in our resolve to band together as a community and ensure that no member of the minority cowers with the fear of reprisals or discrimination after an attack. We need to erect a wall interlopers cannot penetrate. Behind that wall will be a city that will eject them rapidly and forcefully even if they do manage to stray into it. When every street is filled with informers and defenders of peace, then Mumbai may be held up as a template for battling terrorism. That would be a true victory for people power.
The writer is a Mumbai-based industrialist.

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