I'd just like provide a window into some of the intense feelings circulating around the Aotearoa Ethnic Network wires in the wake of - sigh - 7-11. There's thankfulness for those relatives and AENers themselves who escaped the blasts, shock and sadness for those who may not have, and a sense of pride in the resilient 'spirit of Bombay' - not unlike what we've heard about London's 'spirit of the Blitz'.
When the news broke I thought immediately of resident AEN firebrand Sapna Samant, who had been riding those very Bombay lines a few days previously - thankfully, she is alive to rant another day - although one of her nephews was injured in an explosion while riding the trains. Sapna, a Bombay native, will have much to say in the coming days - even in her state of shock she got off a few choice hits on George Bush and the BJP.
Still, the Independent reports here on Muslim-Hindu solidarity in Mumbai followng the blasts, that even had Shiv Sena impressed.
Rohan Jaduram from the Human Rights Commission circulated a piece by his friend in Bombay, Naresh Fernandes, editor of Time Out Mumbai, who had gotten off the train at Bandra an hour before a train exploded there. The full article has just appeared in the New York TImes.
Despite the long history of sporadic violence, Mumbai has always picked itself up by its bootstraps and marched off to work as soon as the trains started working again. Our ability to jeer at misfortune is attributed in the Indian press to the "spirit of Bombay," which is variously described as "indomitable," "never say die" and "undying." But our spirit has been saluted so frequently of late, all the praise was beginning to annoy me.
Before I left the office Tuesday evening, I finished a magazine article complaining that this illogical faith in Bombay's innate resilience had the unfortunate consequence of absolving the city's administrators of the responsibility of actually fixing our problems. No matter how bad things get, they seem to suggest, we have an infinite capacity to cope.
After the bombs went off, and he witnessed the city's poor hauling the injured out of the destruction, and the waves of volunteers flooding in to pick up the pieces, Naresh became a little less cynical. His original point was pretty good though - not only in terms of local government - but national governments.
Meanwhile in the nexus between the real and unreal worlds, the Guardian has noticed the activity of the desi blogosphere in response to the blasts, particularly local Mumbai blogs such as Mumbaihelp (link in my last post), but Sepia Mutiny notices a deafening silence in the Western blogosphere.
What gives? I emailed the following question to three significant political bloggers:
No opinion on the Mumbai bombings?
I’m surprised. Many more have died than did in London a year ago, and the death toll is currently just a little under the death toll from Madrid. Yet the blogosphere is largely quiet. Why?
SM received this response:
The blogosphere tends to be relatively quiet on straight news like this, since it doesn’t provide much of a vehicle for opinion mongering. And in this case, it appears (so far) to be related to India-Pakistan tensions, rather than the broader Islamist movement. I suspect most Americans, at any rate, find that sort of uninteresting. [Kevin Drum]
It would be a shame if non-'Asian' New Zealand bloggers were of the same persuasion.
In that same post, Sepia Mutiny goes on to outline a few clear blogging points of interest coming out of these attacks, which SM blogger Ennis says "are rich in implications for American foreign and domestic policy. I don’t find it too hard to connect the dots, and I don’t think it’s just because I’m brown." Check it out.