The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai were unprecedented on a variety of levels.
Most terrorist attacks involved a single target, whether a train, market, plane, or building. This time, multiple targets were targeted at the same time in a sophisticated, coordinated attack.
Most terrorist attacks involved a single incident, whether opening fire or exploding a bomb. This time, the terrorists took over two major hotels and a Jewish center, staying there for days.
Most terrorist attacks targeted random bystanders. Reports indicate that the terrorists singled out people from Western countries (particularly America, the UK, and Israel).
But the terrorists, I think, accomplished their goals, even though most were killed. They spread immense panic and unrest throughout the world.
I think it is a little difficult, perhaps, for some people in the West to realize what role, status, and stature hotels have, particularly in South Asia. Americans don’t often go to hotels unless they’re staying in one or are attending some grand function or gathering. In South Asia, hotels are often the gathering places for the elite, who dine there and go to see and be seen. They are very much a part of the local community’s life, not just those of guests or banqueters. Attacking the Oberoi and Taj hotels dealt an immense blow to the communities and elite of Mumbai.
More on these attacks, what they mean, and issues behind them, will be forthcoming.