Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Last Year's Thanksgiving
This year, our Thanksgiving will be low-key and at home, and I will be thinking, on and off, of the Mumbai terrorist attacks that happened a year ago this weekend.
During "11/26," as it is known in India, hundreds of people were killed, wounded and terrorized at multiple sites across the vast and tangled metropolis of Mumbai. The attacks went on for days. A landmark hotel was occupied and burned. The head of the police force's terrorism unit was killed. Suspicions that the perpetrators were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives were bandied about (and later confirmed).
The siege began at 9:15 p.m. local time Wednesday, November 26 -- Wednesday morning, for us -- and so my husband and I were glued to CNN for long stretches of the four-day holiday weekend. I'm pretty sure I detached myself first when I realized I had all the information I needed and wanted. In that respect, it resembled my reaction to 9/11 -- it is a horrifying event, but watching the same thing over and over serves no purpose.
We called my husband's parents, who live in far-south Tamil Nadu, because it seemed possible that the whole country was under threat. The only aberration they reported was heightened security measures. I e-mailed my cousin, who was staying at a school outside Bangalore with her family at the time. She said that they hadn't been aware of the attacks until someone from the outside world (her mother, I think) notified them.
HBO has come out with a documentary about the attacks that uses cell phone audio and suveillance footage to reconstruct the sequence of events. According to this review, "we're not left in awe of the precision and strategic cunning of the terrorists' plan as we were in the wake of 9/11. Instead, ... what's stunning is that such a haphazard attack could've resulted in such a staggering loss of human life."
Ugh. Despite my curiosity, I'm now struggling with the "to watch or not to watch" question for the same reason I quit watching the live coverage last year. Concentrating on making good food may be the better choice.