Thursday, November 27, 2008

Report from Delhi, India - Join us in Praying

I just received the following update from dear friends in Delhi, India. Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in India and for God’s peace to be manifest in the midst of terrorist attacks.

For their protection, I have deleted the names of my friends, replacing their names with I and S.

New Delhi, India

November 27, 2008

21:30 hours IST

It is now exactly 24 hours since the first terrorist attacks began on Mumbai/Bombay – I
ndia's first city and commercial capital. And it has not yet ended. After 125 confirmed dead – including seven foreigners – and almost 300 injured, India's crack anti-terrorist squads in their hundreds have engaged the terrorists, and armed forces troops in their thousands have been on the streets, there are terrorists still holed up in the top two five-star hotels with hostages and one house with Jewish residents in downtown Mumbai, with a curfew in force. The city is at war!

The good news is that our family is safe in Delhi. Our daughter, who was supposed to
go today to lead an educational seminar in Mumbai, has cancelled it. Our families – S's eldest sister in downtown Mumbai, I's mother and younger brother's family in northern Mumbai – and friends are also safe though shaken, as are we.

Both I and S were born in Bombay (name changed to Mumbai in 1995). I was educa
ted and had his first job as journalist in Bombay. In fact, I's office was very close to the then new five-star Oberoi Sheraton (now Trident) hotel, the scene of many press conferences. But it was with the beautiful 105-year-old Taj Mahal hotel across from the bay and the Gateway to India that I had a close association. He did regular travelogues for their glossy house magazine and had his hair - that's when he had hair - cut there by the hairstylists to Bollywood's stars. So it was very difficult to see portions of the heritage Taj hotel go up in flames last night.

I was up working on his PhD studies when around 1:30AM a CNN Breaking News email alerted him to what was going on in Mumbai. Since S woke up a little later they put on the TV and watched in horror and did the only thing they could – prayed and prayed. A call to S's eldest sister who lives not far from the Taj hotel put any fears to rest. The rest of family and friends were contacted in the morning. I stayed up till 5:15AM following developments in the unfolding macabre drama. A lot of today has been spent "watching and praying".

I and S are no strangers to terror attacks on Bombay. They were traveling out of the city, about half an hour ahead of the very first serial bomb blasts in March 1993. This was Islamist vengeance for the killing of over a thousand mainly Muslims during the earlier communal riots in Bombay. The current dastardly attackers also came by sea – possibly from overseas (Pakistan?), possibly at least trained by Al-Qaeda. Whatever their immediate motivation there is, as Vishal Mangalwadi would call it, an underlying "spirituality of hate". Ditto for the so-called "Hindu terrorists" who reportedly were behind bomb blasts against Indian Muslims in recent years. The head of the Anti-Terrorist Force who was leading the investigation against the "Hindu terrorists" was shot dead by the Islamist terrorists in the Taj last night. The only answer to tit for tat terrorism is the spirituality of love (agape). Join us as we watch and pray for India.

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