As I write this, the terror situation continues in Mumbai, India. The Times of India first reported the initial news sometime around 10 am this morning, which means it has already been going on for over twelve hours. Although Mumbai has suffered from other significant terrorist actions in the past few years, this is the most violent and long-running attack that I can remember. According to the latest reports, at least 101 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured. The beautiful Taj hotel building has flames shooting through its top floors and terrorists are still holed up in the Oberoi Trident hotel.
One tragic outcome is that the Mumbai police have been hard hit by this attack, having lost three of their top people: ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, Encounter Specialist Vijay Salaskar and ACP Ashok Kamte, have been killed. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.
Atypically for terrorist activities in this region, this particular attack seems to have specifically targeted foreigners. That, and a high level of coordination across multiple targets, points to a new level of sophistication for the local terrorists.
The best way to monitor the situation from afar, I've found, is via twitter. The catchall twitter tag #mumbai (thanks to @fredwilson for pointing this out) is currently getting multiple updates every minute. Although CNN is much more visual and includes more analysis, it's hard to beat twitter for real-time updates of breaking news. Gaurav Mishra provides some great commentary on the role of real time citizen journalism in covering these attacks (as does TechCrunch).
"The purpose of terrorism," Vladimir Lenin once said, "is to terrorize." Perhaps, but I think that these terrorists have underestimated the resilience of spirit of the people of Mumbai. In the same vein as New Yorkers, the Mumbaikars will survive this brutal act of terrorism and eventually emerge the stronger for it. Terrorism has become a scourge worldwide, but in the end, it cannot succeed; by simply going on with their daily lives, the regular folks - unsung heroes all - will eventually prevail.