Tuesday, 2 December 2008

LIBERTARIAN SUS: Mumbai, Muslims & Me

By Susan Ryder:

It could be the latest Frederick Forsyth.

  • Meticulous planning that took more than a year
  • Detailed reconnaissance training
  • Remote mountain camps in Kashmir
  • Marine commando techniques
  • Covert acquisition of ships
  • Hijacking fishing boats
  • Stockpiling weapons while holed up in the Taj Mahal hotel, itself.

But it’s not the latest Forsyth, more’s the pity. It’s not fiction. It’s commentary from the London Telegraph via yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, reportedly from the sole captured Mumbai terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, aged 21. “We wanted to kill 5000,” the newspaper quotes him as saying. Kasab and his cohorts fell a bit short of the mark, getting 172 as of yesterday; 172 innocent people including children, who this time last week were alive and well and planning for long and fruitful lives.

An end-of-year prize-giving ceremony was held at a secondary school in Sydney last Thursday evening. While the Principal was addressing the large turnout, there was a disturbance in the audience. It quickly became obvious that there was a problem that didn’t look like resolving itself in a hurry. Within seconds the horrified audience watched two students – sisters – gasp with horror and turn white with shock as they were bundled out of the auditorium by weeping family and friends.

News travels quickly and bad news the fastest of all. It transpired that the girls had just been informed that their father, in Mumbai on business, had been formally identified as one of the murdered.

Q: Do you think Kasab feels any sorrow – the tiniest bit – for having been party to deliberately taking the life of an innocent businessman from the other side of the Indian Ocean? Of depriving an innocent family of their much-loved dad? Well, do you?

Unless I have to be elsewhere, I routinely talk to my sister in Sydney every Friday night. We usually yak for ages, catching up with what each other’s been doing and swapping family news. We especially relish reliving old family stories guaranteed to bore all senseless, including the participants. We discuss politics, films, books and important stuff like facts about the Bay City Rollers whom we both loved with a passion 30+ years ago. (I’m not joking. You don’t joke about real love -- and that’s what it was, so there). It’s the sort of female phone call that men (most men … like 99 out of 100) just don’t get.

There was none of that last Friday. It was a sombre call and very brief. You just can’t scream with laughter over abject nonsense when your sister’s colleague is barricaded in the bathroom of his Oberoi hotel room in Mumbai and has been for two days. That the SAS has told him to push a mattress between the door and whatever heavy furniture he can drag over, as a makeshift shock absorber in the event of an explosion. That he’s had little or no food. That he doesn’t know what the hell’s going on for most of the time. That his cellphone’s almost out of battery and the power’s off. That while his Australian passport may (or not) offer some ‘protection,’ his religion, should it be discovered, is another story. You see, my sister’s colleague is Jewish.

After I hung up, I thought about the first Muslims I ever came across. It was in London’s Paddington where I lived in a grungy place just around the corner from the famous old station. Like Kasab, I was 21. Funds were tight, and I used to walk miles to avoid tube fares. Walking down to Oxford Street involved navigating Edgeware Road, which I always dreaded, thanks to its inhabitants who seemed to consist solely of young Muslim males. These guys never seemed to do anything, except loll about the footpaths mouthing obscenities at passing women. I’ve never been good at taking crap from anybody, least of all sexist pigs, and I was determined to stop them.

My efforts were in vain. The obscenities became so bad, so quickly, that I sought drastic action. I bought a Walkman, which I had vowed and declared I would never do (being anti-social, you see). I could then cheerfully walk past them all and not hear a thing. I can truthfully say that I detested those individuals, each and every one of them. I would have been delighted to change my mind had I met one – just one – who didn’t look upon me as nothing more than a piece of meat, but I never did. And what really disgusted me was that this feudal nonsense was occurring in one of the world’s leading western capitals.

Earlier last Friday, Paul Holmes chatted with Mike Hosking and Wendyl Nissen. When he opened the segment by deriding the terror in Mumbai, Wendyl immediately jumped in to remind us all that “not all Muslims are terrorists” and “most Muslims are lovely people,” blah blah.

I wonder if Wendyl would have been so quick to be so tempered had she personally known somebody trapped and terrified in the Trident-Oberoi right at that moment? Or if her children had received the horrific news of their father’s murder the night before?

Memo to the Wendyls of this world: Most of us know that all Muslims aren’t terrorists, thanks. Most of us aren’t altogether stupid. But the cold, hard truth is that while not all Muslims are terrorists – all terrorists right now would appear to be Muslim.

It’s been a long time since I walked down the Edgeware Road. I wonder if the next generation of young western women are being hassled by the next generation of young Muslim males. Something tells me it’d be a safe bet.

* * Read more of Sus’s brave and brilliant words at Sus’s Soundbites * *

Ridhima Mehra recounts the ordeal she went through trying to get a licence for her late father’s gun. “Even though my husband is a senior government official, I had a tough time,” she says.

Now that she has finally got the permission to keep the gun, she cannot buy the bullets that go into it. ”We don’t have a licence for the bullets,” she says.

Consider how less enthusiastic shooty terrorists might be to swarm a city if they knew their targets could shoot back.


Bollywood Rises Up
It’s difficult to imagine anyone from the Film Actors’ Guild ever making this much sense:

Wake up and strike terrorism with an iron hand, say Bollywood’s stars shocked by the brazen terror attack that targeted Mumbai’s poshest areas.

Shilpa Shetty further nails it: “This is an open war against humanity.”



  1. Q: Do you think Kasab feels any sorrow...

    No, of course not. To expect remorse from people with such a totally alien mindset to ours is futile. To even try and get them to see things from our point of view, using our values is pointless - especially when we're talking about extremists.

    They would not have even have seen the victims as innocent bystanders. Let's face it, from the terrorists' point of view, this is a totally justified war - and one in which only one side will follow the Geneva Conventions - at best, the victims would have been regarded as 'casualties of war'. Non-state armies (if that makes sense) can never fight conventionally, army vs army; they can only ever succeed by creating fear and uncertainty.

  2. "Most of us know that all Muslims aren’t terrorists, thanks. Most of us aren’t altogether stupid. But the cold, hard truth is that while not all Muslims are terrorists – all terrorists right now would appear to be Muslim."

    Well said. I was flatting with a Moslem a few years ago, he is a great guy (that was an interesting flat, we had a Catholic, a Protestant, a Moslem and an Atheist - lots of fun!). I also met a very nice Moslem couple at the A&P show a few weeks ago.

    There are some nice Moslems. But they tend to be the "nominal Moslems", the ones that go by the name but don't follow every last detail of the faith religiously. Moslems can be ok, but Islam is a worry.

    Islam has threatened the West for centuries. In the past however people were up-front about it and knew they had to fight to keep Islam out of Europe. Now governments are filled with too many wishy-washy lefties who won't recognise the threat until it is too late.

  3. Why arent the 'lovely muslims' up in arms about these terror attacks?

    I have waited and waited in vain for them to become vocal and tell their bretheren that this is not OK. That Islam is a 'peaceful' religon and they are digusted by these attacks. (perhaps also telling them that 30 virgins wont be waiting for them in paradise as what they are doing is wrong.)
    Makes you wonder doesnt it?

  4. 30 virgins, Lucy? I thought it was 72.

    Must be deflation, eh. Damned credit crunch. ;)

  5. whoops sorry make that deflation

  6. Lucy: "Why arent the 'lovely muslims' up in arms about these terror attacks? I have waited and waited in vain for them to become vocal and tell their bretheren that this is not OK. That Islam is a 'peaceful' religon and they are digusted by these attacks."

    Because the ones carrying out the attacks are actually following Islam correctly. It isn't a 'peaceful' religion. Calling Islam 'peaceful' is "lying to infidels", a practice which I understand is specifically encouraged in the Quran!

  7. OK Dennis, glad you've cleared that up for us.

    Time to fire up the ovens then, eh? Only good Muslim is a dead Muslim?

  8. Huh? Their film industry is more like Hollywood of the 40s than the post-60s? I predict they will soon dominate American screens with the first anti-jihad film that doesn't drool over or excuse terrorist attacks. It will be the first film to gross a billion dollars in its opening release.

  9. Oh grow up Frankie Lee.

    Comments like yours are the reason these terrorists act without fear.

    You try to guilt anyone out who does not buy into the bullshit that they really are good and it is the dirty captalists or Americans fault they do what they do.

    They hate us. We have nothing they want so we cant negotitate with them.

    I am talking about extremists only not the every day muslim.

    And before you bring up the ovens again my mother lost most of her extended family in those ovens. So be careful.

  10. Frankee Lee,

    Have you read about two year old Moshe Holtzberg?

    Do you know how his parents and other Jews at the Chabad House in Mumbai actually died.

    The only reason these people where targeted was being Jewish. Do you think the dogs that carried out the attacks wouldn't have any hesitation torturing and slaughtering every Israeli if they could get the chance? Yet you accuse us of wanting to fire up the gas chambers?

  11. Comments like yours are the reason these terrorists act without fear.

    Actually they kill because everyone who is not muslim is an infidel. Whether you are a fawning, anti-USA, liberal lefty hollywood flunky who claims to to 'understand' Islam or you are a straight shooting Bollywood actor or an inflammatory troll on a blog they want to kill you all the same. They make no distinctions.

  12. Shilpa is a fine actress, although I am more partial to Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, the former blogged quite heavily on the attacks on Mumbai.

  13. This really is facile:

    ``But the cold, hard truth is that while not all Muslims are terrorists – all terrorists right now would appear to be Muslim.''

    Given that the standard definition of `terrorist' is:

    ``Any one who attempts to further his views by a system of coercive intimidation'' (OED)

    it would appear that not all terrorists right now would appear to be Muslims at all. Some of them are also Westerners in Muslim nations.

    Blanket statements like that given by Susan the Libertarian are not helpful (to use a much maligned and, admittedly, over-used phrase, they create the climate of fear that allows terrorists to flourish) and we should be careful to make sure we do not endorse them.

  14. You're quite right, Horace. I should have added "or sympathisers".

    Call me old-fashioned - or Wendyl Nissen - Possum, but based on the rest of the article, I would have thought that was obvious?

    And as for creating a climate that allows terrorism to flourish, I'd say that western apologists are doing a pretty good job of that themselves.

  15. The above comment is mine.

  16. HORansome,

    Tell me, what sort of environment does your sort of moral equivalency produce? The inability to recognise and condemn profound evil is an evil in itself and urgently needs to be stamped out. There is a clock ticking you know. The jihadists are aiming for massive civilian casualties. If we don't stop them it is only a matter of time before they go nuclear or biological.

  17. You got hassle from Muslims on the Edgware Rd. Big fucking deal. If you walked down Coldharbour lane in Brixton you'd have heard the same kind of comments from Blacks. Pick a street in a shithole area in any city in the world and you'll have the same experience.

    Not too long ago in London it was 'oh, we know not all Irish are terrorists..it's just that all the terrorists are Irish'

  18. Oddly enough, my partner and I lived just off the Railton Rd in Brixton for nearly three years in the early nineties, and used to walk Coldharbour Lane most days.

    I just asked her if she was ever hassled in the manner Sus described.

    Answer: "No."

    Fact is, the problem is not cities' shitholes; the problem is the world's arseholes - and those who defend them.


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