Friday, 5 December 2008


Watched Christiane Amanpour on The Tonight Show last night. Noted that she made some interesting observations. When asked by host Jay Leno to give the audience some perspective on the Mumbai terror attacks, she was able to concisely describe the historical Kashmir conflict and how alleged elements within Pakistan carried out the attack. I was pleasantly surprised when, in the same breath, she also quickly stated that it was wrong for Americans to think that the attacks were all about foreign targets as most of those killed were Indians.

Other interesting observations were about the security at the Taj not being adequate enough at the time of the attacks, her belief about terrorists hitting softer targets, that the U.S celebrations after Obama won were reminiscent of a foreign country having it's first ever democratic election, Hillary Clinton being an instantly recognisable star around the world, about the ebbs and flows of Iran's' President Ahmadinejad's popularity and the politics behind it, Iran's anger at being included in the Axis of Evil, and about Iran and the U.S possibly having a close relationship in 30 years.

But getting back to the Mumbai attack thing, I'm glad she made that statement. I've noticed that a lot of people who aren't familiar with the region and it's politics and those who depend on CNN for their coverage tend to emphasise more on the international aspect of the attack i.e the foreign targets, possibly because the western media tends to do so as well, sometimes to the extent that they believe the whole point of the attack was to target foreigners in Mumbai, which is inaccurate. They tend to ignore the fact that out of the 10 locations attacked, only 3 constituted cases where foreigners were segregated, and even there, more Indians were killed. True, foreigners being targetted is an important part and a unique characteristic of this particular attack, but just a part nonetheless and not the beginning and end of the attack. It would do well for the Americans and British to understand this, and their media needs to play a larger role in facilitating this.

On another note, I hope all Americans aren't as dumb as those who appear on the 'Battle of the Jaywalk Allstars'. I mean, if they are, I fear for their country. I saw this movie recently called Idiocracy, directed by Mike Judge, and it spooked me tremendously.

To movie starts with an explanation about how dumb people outbreed smart people in the U.S, resulting in a population of more dumb than smart people over time. We then see an Average Joe (Luke Wilson) taking part in an experiment where he's put into a time capsule to be woken up in a year. Something goes wrong, and he's woken up after 500 years, only to realise he's now the smartest man in the U.S, and its only saviour.



moi said...

Thanks for the tidy update on Amanpour's observations. I agree with you wholeheartedly, the media seem to often forget that Indians were very much a target in these attacks. On the part of the foreign media, there is disproportionate emphasis on the Jewish victims, and on the part of the Indian and foreign media, there's something of a romanticizing of the cute and exotic Hasidim, and the gorgeous silken carpets and art that were destroyed in the Taj, where most of us don't go. Indeed, if there were other easily accessible and clean women's loos in Colaba, I'd probably never go to the Taj at all (to their credit, the Taj has always been gracious about Colaba shoppers coming in to use the loos).

Daniel said...

You're welcome, moi, and thanks for the comments.

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