Thursday, July 14, 2011


There have been bomb blasts in my home city of Mumbai. Again.

Two years ago, we all watched in horror and disbelief as gunmen took over various points in the city taking people hostage for several days. The reports that come through on the TV seemed more like a video game than a real life situation. Before that, there was train bombings. Several of them over a few years. Before that, there were riots, burnings, looting, mass killings and more bomb blasts.

Each time, both local and international media sprung into action. Around the world, expats frantically punched in telephone numbers trying to get in touch with loved ones. We watched the news reports and read every article about the event. There was much discussion, lamenting, anger.

This time, nothing.

My dad texted me with the news. I went onto the BBC website and read the report, then read it again later in the day when there were more details. There was a sense of apathy as I read. Like I've heard all of this before and been through the motions. It wasn't much talked about when I got him and in fact we spent more time discussing the fall out from the phone hacking scandal in the UK.

There was a point where I felt a twinge of guilt. Was I supposed to be sadder? And it wasn't just me I realised. Mumbai, and by extension India as a whole seemed to have shrugged off the incident and moved on. Did that mean people were carelessly indifferent? And, does indifference necessarily have to be a bad thing? The cowards behind attacks like these are looking to cause chaos and fear. But, they are also looking to milk the aftermath of the media attention for their own cause. Taking their cues from the Hollywood A-listers, they know that the more people talk about them the more power they have to cause fear.

What would happen if no one paid any attention? I wonder.

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