The US has not suffered a terrorist attack since 9/11. India, however, has lost 1,193 people since that date to islamist terror attacks. (Not counting the terrorism inflicted by other religious groups...)
This latest horror seems to have been committed by a group calling themselves the Indian Mujahideen, which is said to be a front for the "Students Islamic Movement of India" (SIMI).
SIMI took responsibility for the nine explosions in Jaipur last May, as well as the sixteen bombs set off in Ahmedabad later in July. The islamic group was also implicated in a similar attack that saw nine bombs rip through Bangalore the same week as the Ahmedabad slaughter.
I have many friends working in India, and since the carnage of the bombings in Mumbai back in 2006 I've despatched so many emails at the news of each latest attack when I've seen them in the headlines, it's getting to the point that they now proactively email me every month or so, essentially to reassure me that they weren't killed in the latest massacre.
We "talk" about the public mood over there, and what is being done about the ongoing bloodshed. The answer remains the same: not much. They always point with a resigned helplessness to the general inefficiency of a government riddled with corruption and other problems. "We just learn to get used to it", as one friend put it in her last letter to me... an attitude echoed in the Indian media's own reporting of this latest islamic attack: "It has become nauseatingly familiar...."
The Wall Street Journal account of this week's bombings in Delhi goes into specific detail about the additional challenges that exist in stopping these bloody attacks:
Indian police, however, have had severe difficulties in bringing successful cases against alleged SIMI members in part because confessions to police in India aren't admissible in court as they are in many other countries. Indian intelligence gathering rarely is of a quality that passes evidentiary scrutiny in court. And witnesses for the prosecution frequently renege on their testimony because of the time -- often more than a decade -- it takes for cases to be heard.
Because of that reality, this is what happened this week in Delhi:
The first blast took place at Ghaffar Market at 6.10 pm. Soon after that, two explosions rocked Connaught Place, one at Barakambha Road near Gopaldas Building at 6.30 pm and the other near the Metro station at the Central Park at 6.31 pm. Almost simultaneously, a blast hit M-block market in Greater Kailash-I near McDonald's and seven minutes later another bomb went off near Prince Pan Corner in the same market.
In the shadow of such a long trail of monstrous evil, the search for any light of hope seems futile. Maybe we should settle for the consolation that not all the bombs planted in this vile scheme went off as planned. Three of them were located, somehow, and defused... including one secreted at the Children's Park at India Gate, here:
Try as I might, I just cannot imagine the mind of a man that would delight in setting off bombs in a place like that. And maybe a similar failure of imagination can supply the initiative India seems to struggle for, that we all struggle for: the will to renew their collective efforts to do what is necessary to truly live in peace, not the false peace of the willfully blind, but the tragic peace of the adult who summons the patient discipline to honestly perceive what is really going on before their very eyes.
We must not let ourselves become apathetic to slaughter, lest we become no different than those who have declared war on us.Godspeed to the families of India, may they find the resolve to see themselves through their latest nightmare, and live to see better days.