Forced to be brave

By Julia Fernandes

July 16, 2011


Practically every day from September 11 2001 to the end of his presidency in 2008, President George W Bush would ask his national security team, “Did we get him?” People may critique many of his decisions but you got to hand it over to this man who ensured that no terror attack took place on American soil after 9/11 attacks.


Unfortunately, in India things are different. Mumbai has been the most targeted city for terror attacks. We have seen the worst, right from the 1993 blasts to the brazen walk-in shootouts in 2008 to the numerous bomb blasts in trains and now the recent serial blasts. Each time it is the same rhetoric from the government, police agencies, and media while life goes on for the common man.


Nothing really changes much on Ground zero. For the next few days TV channels and the print media run stories related to the blasts. Then, gradually, the importance of the news begins to fade away. Life comes back to normal.


I don’t know if the frequent attacks have desensitized us leaving us with a fatalistic attitude towards life and death. As long as it does not happen to us we are all fine. It is only when we directly face the impact of such terror attacks or lose a life or limb that the gravity of the situation hits us real hard.


Just two days before the 26/11 terror attacks, I and my colleague had gone to the chemist shop located in Trident Hotel. I remember walking through the lobby. Little did we realise that two days later terrorists are going to walk through this same lobby and spray bullets on unsuspecting diners! I could not sleep for days. Just the thought that what if the attack had to happen when I and my friend were in the hotel at that time left me disturbed for several days.


The people of Mumbai are not brave. The so-called indomitable spirit of Mumbai is actually nothing. Truth is we have no choice but to be brave; we have no choice but to carry on with our lives and work with a never-say-die spirit. We have to leave our homes on a prayer, catch the bus and train, and sit with fear all along the journey.


On the website of the White House under the guiding principles it states: "The President’s highest priority is to keep the American people safe. The President is committed to securing the homeland against 21st century threats by preventing terrorist attacks and other threats against our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies, and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities.""


It is only when the government makes the security of every single Indian the highest national priority that we will be able to counter and prevent such attacks. Until then, we are all forced to be brave!