Friday, November 28, 2008

When Bad Things Happen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 was the scene of unspeakable horror in Mumbai, India as terrorists opened fire in the financial district that has left at least 143 dead and hundreds injured so far.

It soon became clear that foreign tourists and/or citizens, especially those from the US and UK, were being deliberately singled out by the gunmen for death.
One of the first targets chosen to be a scene of destruction was the Cafe Leopold, a famous hangout popular with foreign tourists.

The attackers also singled out British and US citizens staying in the upscale luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. The pictures and video aired on television showed how blood-thirsty and brazen these attackers were: two men were shown shooting at random as they drove through streets in a stolen police jeep.

The sieges at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels seem to be over as dozens of stunned hostages have made it safely out of the hotels into the now empty streets of Mumbai - a city of 19 million.

Not long ago, Indian soldiers stormed the last hideouts of Islamist militants in Mumbai. Helicopters dropped masked Indian commandos onto the roof of the city's Jewish center where Islamist gunmen were still holding out. Bursts of gunfire and blasts from concussion grenades could be heard and felt in the streets around the Jewish center. The tear gas used to drive out the terrorists now wafted out into the streets.

At the time of this writing, the gunmen, thought to be between three and seven strong, are believed to be isolated on the third and fourth floors of the five-storey building. It is unknown whether they have hostages. The Indian army claims two gunmen had been killed at the Oberoi hotel.

After more than 24 hours of mayhem, gangs of heavily-armed young terrorists have attacked two luxury hotels, a hospital, a popular restaurant and a railway station.

World leaders were quick to condemn the attacks. The chorus was led by the US president-elect, Barack Obama, who vowed the US would work with "India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks".

I have chosen photographs which I believe show the horror of the situation without being graphic. I know I have given thanks many times over in the last couple days that I, my family and friends are in a country that is still safe at this moment in time. I have prayed for my brothers and sisters in countries that are not safe. I weep for those involved in an attack that, unfortunately, will be remembered forever.

The aftermath of a blast in Colaba market
Photograph: Gautam Singh/AP

The aftermath of a blast in Colaba market
Photograph: Gautam Singh/AP

A suspected terrorist with a rifle outside the Chatrapati Shivaji railway station
Photograph: AP

A policeman escorts a survivor out of the Chatrapati Shivaji station
Photograph: AP

A policeman gives water to an injured child
Photograph: Reuters


kathi said...

God love us one and all. :(

Pippa said...

I'm with you, kathi!! For some reason, this one has really touched my heart. May God bless the survivors and help them heal.