Updated: added a few more links to stories in the British press; see below
Riz explores the aftermath of the 26-11 attacks on Mumbai, where 10 attackers besieged the city, leaving at least 174 people dead in their 60-hour rampage. What was the motivation of the attackers? How could Indian security forces be so unprepared for such an attack?
compiled by Cem Ertür
Mumbai attacks in the British press:
Britain unprepared for Mumbai-style attack, former head of SAS says
by Sean Rayment, Sunday Telegraph, 30 November 2008
Tip-toeing round extremists will not make Britain a safer place
by Ed Husain, Sunday Telegraph, 30 November 2008
Let Bombay remind us: they haven’t gone away
by Peter Clarke, Sunday Telegraph, 30 November 2008
Police must hunt for the true enemy within
leading article, Sunday Telegraph, 30 November 2008
editorial, The Sun, 29 November 2008
The Mumbai atrocity is a wake-up call for a frighteningly unprepared Britain
by Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 1 December 2008
David Miliband: ‘The Mumbai tragedy makes us more determined’
by UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, Daily Mirror, 2 December 2008
The appalling attacks in Mumbai will give new impetus to today’s Nato summit… I believe this tragedy in India will reinforce our determination to tackle terrorist operations at root and prevent Afghanistan becoming an incubator for international terrorism again.
Mumbai attacks: India demands Pakistan hand over terror suspects
by Vikram Dodd, Julian Borger and Mark Tran, Guardian, 2 December 2008
But this is a critical moment for Pakistan to bring all its institutions into a common strategy to defend Pakistan. And defending Pakistan means rooting out extremism, defending Pakistani interests means cooperating fully…
[US Foreign Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Roundtable with Press, London, 1 December 2008]
If each of us carried a gun . . .
. . . we could help to combat terrorism
by Richard Munday, Sunday Times, 7 December 2008
The firearms massacres that have periodically caused shock and horror around the world have been dwarfed by the Mumbai shootings, in which a handful of gunmen left some 500 people killed or wounded.
For anybody who still believed in it, the Mumbai shootings exposed the myth of “gun control”. India had some of the strictest firearms laws in the world, going back to the Indian Arms Act of 1878, by which Britain had sought to prevent a recurrence of the Indian Mutiny.
The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all “prohibited weapons” under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug-related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.
The Mumbai massacre also exposed the myth that arming the police force guarantees security. Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor on the Mumbai Mirror who took some of the dramatic pictures of the assault on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, was angered to find India’s armed police taking cover and apparently failing to engage the gunmen.
Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.
In Britain we are not yet ready to recall the final liberty of the subject listed by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England as underpinning all others: “The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” We would still not be ready to do so were the Mumbai massacre to happen in London tomorrow.
“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” The Mumbai massacre is a bitter postscript to Gandhi’s comment. D’Souza now laments his own helplessness in the face of the killers: “I only wish I had had a gun rather than a camera.”