HARI SHENOY writes: July 11, 2006 is yet another date that will go down in the annals of our history for its infamy. The terrorists, it seems, just can’t get enough of targetting us, be it the IISc, the Akshardham temple, our Parliament, crowded bazaars in Delhi or our vital railway commuter lines in Bombay.
The usual rhetoric spewing from the mouths of everyone important who can actually do something about it is disgusting to listen to, given that they seem disinclined on doing anything.
Our country has continuously exposed itself as a “soft” state, and despite all that talk and negotiations with the leading countries in the world about “rooting out the evil menace of terrorism”, all our great leaders do is to sit and read out statements prepared by their secretaries expressing “deep shock and anguish” in a flat monotone that does not convey either sentiment.
Kudos, therefore, to Bombay-ites who jumped into rescue efforts without waiting for any specific authority figures to appear on the scene and for taking the initiative towards addressing the immediate needs of those injured.
But what next? Will we sit there twiddling our thumbs till the ‘T’ gang strikes at us again?
The whole world has examples showing us what we can do in the face of terrorist threats. Shift focus a little towards the west, and you see Israel.
A tiny state, surrounded on all sides by its foes, it still manages to wield power like nobody else in the middle-east can. Though I am not personally appreciative of all their tough-guy acts, there is a very poignant lesson to be learnt from the Israelis, specially in the light of events that have taken place in the region over the last few days.
Three kidnapped soldiers, one kidnappd by the Hamas in Gaza and two by the Hezbollah in Lebanon, has had the nation go on a full-scale battle agenda, and they say they will not rest until the soldiers have been given back to them. The airport in Beirut has had its runways badly damaged by Israeli air-strikes today, with the latter blaming the Lebanese government for the kidnappings.
The entire country has the guts to go to war for the sake of three soldiers and a few home-made rockets that have been launched into their territories.
How about us?
The whole world knows that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is a breeding ground for terrorist activities that harm our “State” in more ways that it can bear, and yet the champions of the cause for democracy, the US, wants nothing to do with it, since Pakistan has its own arrangement with them, and buys a lot of defence supplies from ‘big brother’, fuelling the arms race in the subcontinent.
Our country cannot aim to please everyone all the time, and it is high time we put our money where our mouth is. As a sovereign State, we have every right to defend ourselves like any other country under threat has (like the US has done so in Iran and Afghanistan, and we could quote the same example for justifying our actions). And now is as good a time for us to start proving to the world that we can be tough when the circumstances demand so.
Otherwise, there is no telling how many more innocent and unsuspecting civilians have to pay the price for our country being considered a “soft” state by the terrorists.