Are there any impediments in the way of a terrorist?
I am not sure how many of you connect to my story. But I am sure, some of you do- some of you who have lived through September 11th in the U.S., November 26th in India, or many more such dates that I can’t recollect at this moment.
Right now, as I am writing this, I am shaken, shaken to the point of not being able to type as fluently as I do every day when I work on my laptop.
I have come to MIT to pursue my graduate studies, away from my home in India. Just this morning, I heard that there were 3 major bomb blasts back in India, in my home city, Mumbai, coinciding with Ajmal Kasab’s birthday- the only living convict responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. I know the places where the blasts occurred. They are either close to my residence or home to many loved ones I know back in Mumbai.
My parents usually call me every morning. They haven’t done so today. I have been trying to call them desperately. They are not online either. The phone lines are jammed and so is the case with the Internet. The incident has already brought back terrible memories of the 26/11 blasts that I experienced intensely because of my work as a journalist covering them.
Trying to maintain my sanity and cool, I am trying to get all possible connections to work to reach my loved ones back home. I haven’t seen anyone I know from India coming online for quite some time. I have logged into my Gtalk, gmail, Facebook and Messenger. You name it, I have done it.
I have finally managed to get in touch with a journalist friend who is making phone calls for me and confirming for me that my family and friends are safe. She has a list of those who are dead/injured and she is ensuring me that none of us we know are there on the list.
Living at a distance, apart from your loved ones, and not being able to get in touch with them when you know that they could be in danger is difficult. I am sure that a lot of people who have had friends or relatives stuck in locations that have been hit by a natural disaster or a terror attack have gone through the same.
So what’s the solution? I know a lot of people from my country who keep blaming the government for the attacks. Do we keep doing that?
Today, we probably all know that a terror attack is a given. When two countries are warring, we know the enemies. A terrorist is faceless and boundary-less. Enough has been said and written about a terrorist. But the question I can hear every person back home asking is, what’s a safe place? As I read through newspaper reports and blogs, I find myself looking for solutions to these concerns that the government would think of.
There have not been attacks on small towns or unheard of villages in India. It’s the cities that have been the targets. It is probably the case with the U.S. too. What is it about the cities that make them so susceptible? Cities are economically powerful, commercial centers, crowded and more diverse and extrovertly tolerant to different ethnicities and communities. It probably makes them attractive for terrorists to cause massive damage. Rapid media coverage of such incidents probably further fuels it and gives terrorists an incentive to spread the fear. It’s the same media that also allows me to cross hurdles and get in touch with my loved ones to see if they are safe.
Do you think it’s a feasible solution to spread out and make less of an epicenter of a city? Would this make cities less of a terror target or would this create more terror targets? Are there any impediments in the way of a terrorist preventing the terrorist from reaching point B?
Post by Alpita Masurkar. This post is part of Transit Secrets: The Unknown Paths from Point A to Point B, a current series on CoLab Radio.