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[Op-Ed] Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Posted November. 28, 2008 03:00,   


Though the Indian government renamed the city in November 1995 to its original Indian name, Mumbai is still called Bombay by the locals. The capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is the second-largest city in India and a commercial center with a population of 13 million. Mumbai also houses Bollywood and is considered the most flourishing and open city in India. The city, however, is riddled with endless crime, violence, assassinations and terrorist attacks.

The chronicle of the Mumbai terrorist attacks is as follows. In March 1993, the conflict between Hindus and Muslims led to 12 coordinated terrorist attacks per day, killing some 300 people and injuring around 800. The "Indian 9/11" was depicted in the film “Black Friday” and sent to an international film festival, and was even aired in Korea. In 1995, Islamic fundamentalists attacked a bus. In 2006, Pakistan-based Islamic militants attempted a series of bombing attacks on commuter train, killing some 200 people.

The latest terrorist attacks threw Mumbai into chaos Wednesday. A group of gunmen stormed into luxurious hotels, a train station, a hospital and a restaurant and fired guns and threw grenades. More than 100 people were killed and 300 to 900 were injured. The number of people being held hostage remains unconfirmed. Watching the bold plan and heinous killing of the terrorists is scary. Twenty-six Koreans held in the besieged Taj Mahal Palace Hotel managed to escape. What a relief.

The terrorist attacks targeted foreigners in India, clearly showing nobody is immune to terrorism in the globalized world. However noble the cause may be, the coordinated and intentional killing of innocent civilians is a crime against humanity. The problem is that terrorism grows fast under tyranny, poverty, ignorance and religious and ethnic conflicts. To win the war on terrorism, we must not only root out terrorist organizations but also recover our dignity as human beings.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)