Friday, December 12, 2008

The Pettiness of Arundhati Roy

I've been reading Indian author Arundhati Roy's article "Mumbai was not our 9/11" in The Guardian.

Not surprisingly her article is sanctimonious and awash with moral equivalence and leftist pablum. Two examples:

If you were watching television you may not have heard that ordinary people too died in Mumbai. They were mowed down in a busy railway station and a public hospital. The terrorists did not distinguish between poor and rich. They killed both with equal coldlbloodness. The Indian media, however, was transfixed by the rising tide of horror that breached the glittering barricades of India Shining and spread its stench in the marbled lobbies and crystal ballrooms of two luxurious hotels and a small Jewish centre.

There were simultaneous attacks throughout Mumbai. Should the Indian media have ignored what was going on at the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal? Would Roy have been happy had the Indian media confined its coverage to entities built by the government?

Why does Roy object to coverage of the Chabad Center? Were the people killed there insufficiently ordinary for Roy's taste? Or does her hatred for Israel inhibit from feeling any sympathy for Jews?

Let us remember that India's population exceeds 1.1 billion people. Of those billion plus there are 5,000 Jews. That two hundredths of 1%. Yet one small Jewish centre in Mumbai was one too many for the Decca Mujahideen. They murdered a pregnant woman for G-d's sake. These people were killed simply for being Jewish. If Roy thinks the Indian media spent too much time concerning this fact I feel pity and contempt for her.

Consider this other passage.

While they did this they indiscriminately massacred unarmed people, in railway stations, hospitals and luxury hotels, unmindful of their class, caste, religion or nationality. (Part of the helplessness of the security forces had to do with having to worry about hostages. In other situations, in Kashmir for example, their tactics are not so sensitive. Whole buildings are blown up. Human shields are used. The U.S. and Israeli armies don't hesitate to send cruise missiles into buildings and drop daisy cutters on wedding parties in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.)

So let's see if I get this straight. The U.S. and Israeli armies have reconaissance teams seek out wedding parties so they can wantonly kill civilians? There was an incident in back in August where Israeli settlers allegedly threw stones at Palestinian civilians attending a wedding in Hebron on the West Bank. Not the smartest thing to do. But a far cry from the IDF launching a cruise missile to crash the wedding as Roy as claimed.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai did criticize U.S. forces for an attack that resulted in the deaths of 40 civilians at a wedding party last month. U.S. forces had been fired upon by the Taliban and retaliated. The U.S. military is investigating the matter and if steps can be taken to reduce the loss of innocent life I'm all for it. But Roy would have us believe the U.S. military launches airstrikes on wedding parties for the fun of it and never mentions any provocation on the part of the Taliban.

I imagine Roy might have been referring to an attack in Iraq by U.S. forces in May 2004 near the Syrian border which resulted in the deaths of 40 Iraqis. It was alleged U.S. forces had attacked a wedding party. However, U.S. forces said it was a safe house for insurgents and had been fired upon. I'm sure Roy doesn't believe the U.S. military's version of events because she doesn't want to believe them. After all, back in June 2005 she praised the insurgency when she spoke at the opening session of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul, Turkey. (

But let us assume for a moment the U.S. military did, in fact, attack a wedding party. They did not set out to attack a wedding party. They did not do knowingly seek to kill civilans. The civilian deaths were unintentional and not deliberate. It is a facet of war that is sadly unavoidable. But there was fire coming their way and they were obliged to retaliate.

There was a terrorist attack in November 2005 on a wedding party at the Radisson Hotel in Amman, Jordan by Iraqi al Qaeda which killed 38 people. It was part of several attacks that took place simultaneously in Amman at two other hotels - the Grand Hyatt and the Days Inn. In all, 62 people were killed and over 100 injured. No one was attacking al Qaeda from those hotels. The late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi an al Qaeda sought to kill as many civilians as possible. Roy makes no reference to this terrorist attack in her article. Quel surprise.

Arundhati Roy can't see the difference or doesn't want to see the difference between U.S. soldiers trying to protect innocent life and falling short and terrorists who seek to kill civilians and lament that they don't kill enough of them. Or perhaps she would simply complain that we're spending too much time dwelling on people because they had the misfortune of being killed
in bourgeois luxury hotels.

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