Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bomb bay and Hindoofascism

Who knows who did it - no one yet. The attackers might have been Pakistani Muslims, they might have been Indian Muslims... Or something else. They might not have been Muslim at all; perhaps it was a false flag operation run by the Hindu right, or, my favorite monniker, the Vedic Taliban. (My apologies to the Taliban, who don't literally idolize Hitler and Mussolini.)

The Vedic Taliban is an umbrella term for an alphabet soup of organizations sharing the common dream of a "Shining India" made rich and powerful by whatever economic ideology happens to be reigning and most politically advantageous at the moment. And, additionally, by ethnically cleansing the country of non-"Hindus" - a concept whose application is at least as stupid as the concept of "Aryan" is in application to Germans. My favorite organization in this alphabet soup is the unfortunately-named Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJ Party. Unfortunate, of course, for blowjobs, which do not deserve the association. (As in the cartoon, its logo is a lotus flower, and its favorite weapon for hoisting the fetuses cut out of pregnant Muslims post-gang rape is a trishul, or trident.) For a Unitedstatesian audience, perhaps the best name for the whole lot of them, from the BJ Party, to the RSS, to the VHP, is Hindoofascists. Unlike the "Islamofascists", for whom political philosophy ended when Allah sent the last page of the Quran floating down from heaven, Hindoofascists love them some newfangled thinkers like Mussolini. The Vedic Taliban also has a somewhat less than charming infatuation with Hitler. From a high school textbook in Hindoofascist state of Gujarat: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time by establishing a strong administrative set up. He created the vast state of Greater Germany. He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race. He adopted a new economic policy and brought prosperity to Germany." And he had such nice things to say about Aryans - which the Hindoofascists consider themselves to be.

What with Hindoofascism such a strong force in India, you had better believe the Anti-Defamation League, with its mission to "secure justice and fair treatment to all" and to fight "all forms of bigotry", is all up in their Hindoofascist faces. Oops. Not so much. Guess when we say "Never Again!" we mean "never again will we allow Hitler in 1939 Germany to start a world war that resulted in... etc."

At any rate, if you look at who benefits most from this attack, it is clearly the Hindoofascists. They have an election coming up in a few months, and the BJ Party, with its troll-looking president LK Advani, is looking to win. I saw this troll on NDTV on the day of the attack; they had the feeble ghoul on for an eternity, yammering away like a crazy old patriarch on his deathbed, as if he were a Fox anchorman. An anchorman who will be milking the Bombay attack like a rBHT-enhanced cow udder for the next few months of the presidential campaign. Nothing like a little domestic terrorism to yolk the locals into voting for the right, and getting them to ignore the murderous poverty they'll continue to live... er, die... under during Hindoofascist BJ Party rule.

But bringing up the concept of "voting" might suggest to some that India is a democracy, as in, a functioning democracy, as in, a society where political power is shared equally by all. In reality, where the earth is round, India is a "democracy" only in the sense of a country where an uninformed, uneducated and overburdened electorate is swayed by political propaganda/advertising into voting for politicians whose only true loyalty is to the elite. Whose only true loyalty, in turn, is to enriching themselves at the expense of the poor and their land. Winston Churchill said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. If he had taken a five-day trip through modern India, he might have changed his mind.

So the Indian government says, to no one's surprise, that the culprits were Pakistani Muslims. But when the Indian government speaks on responsibility for acts of terrorism, it speaks with all the credibility of Karl Rove giving an ethics seminar. Regardless, it seems that most Indians have bought this explanation. And it may well be true - it would certainly make some sense (Mumbai: Exporting Pakistan’s Resources by Gary Brecher). Besides, determining responsibility solely on the basis of who benefits most from an act is a misleadingly incomplete method of inquiry.

What is important at this point is not so much who did it - because we just do not know (As the Fires Die: The Terror of the Aftermath by Biju Mathew) - but what the response will be. And in a country where Viagra is accessible only to the rich, political commentators are urging the country to follow the example of an aroused penis, by engaging in a "hard" response, and avoiding being "soft". Where on the hard/soft spectrum the cushy-sounding "carpet bombing" falls I do not know, but it has been advocated as the proper treatment for Pakistan. As Mathew writes:

"The dead are on the floor. The vultures are moving in. The conjecture will try to unite the country into a series of unexamined positions. That POTA [Prevention of Terrorism Act - the Indian Patriot Act] must be recalled. That States must be allowed to pass even more draconian laws. That Hindu terror is not a big issue and must be forgotten for now - especially now that we may not find an honest policeman or woman to head the ATS [Anti-Terror Squad]. That the defense budget must go up. That the coastline must be secured.

None of the well educated masters of the media will write that the 7000 odd kilometer coastline cannot be protected - that all it will translate to is billions in contracts for all and sundry including Israeli and American consultants. Nobody will write that a hundred POTAs will not prevent a terror attack like this one; that Guantanamo Bay has not yielded a single break through. Nobody will write that higher defense budgets have been more often correlated with insecure and militarized lives for ordinary citizens. Nobody will write that almost without exception all of US post-9/11 policies have been disasters. Bin Laden is still around, I am told and so is the Al Qaeda. The number of fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews have probably gone up over the last decade. So much for good policy. But the conjecture will go on.

The foreign hand and its internal partner will be floated without ever naming anything precise. But the country will read it just as it is meant to be read - Pakistan and the Indian Muslim. Everything will rest on the supposed confession of the one gunman who has been captured. A Pakistani from Faridkot, I am told. Why should we believe it? Didn't the same Indian State frame all the supposed accomplices in the Parliament attack case? Didn't the same Indian State claim that the assassins of Chattisinghpura were from across the border until that story fell apart? And more recently, didn't the same Indian State finally agree that all the accused in the Mecca Masjid bombings were actually innocent? And even if Mr. Assassin supposedly from Faridkot did say what he did say - why should we believe him? Why is it so difficult to believe that he has his lines ready and scripted? If he was willing to die for whatever cause he murdered for, then can he not lie? Oh the lie detector test - that completely discredited science that every militarized State trots out. And the media love the lie detector test because it is the best scientific garb you can give to conjecture.

I certainly don't know the truth. But I do know that there is more than enough reason for skepticism."


Most important to recognize amid all of this, is that the death toll of 195 in these attacks was small change for India. This is terrifyingly vulgar to say; but more relevantly, true. India grinds through 6,000 children's lives every day due just to hunger; and these are just kids. Adults, as you might imagine, needlessly die too. Fuck, if Bombay was following the annual average from 2002-2003, it would take just two weeks for the Bombay train system to kill as many people as died in these attacks. But what makes these attacks such a big deal is that these weren't just a bunch of Adivasis (also known as "tribals" in India) dying out in the countryside. A good number of the victims of this attack were rich enough to afford a night's stay at the Taj or Oberoi, which costs more than two years' wages for the vast majority of Indians. (Praise be to the Free Market!) This, and the fact that the attack can be used as a pretext for war against Pakistan or (more) pogroms against Indian Muslims, means that the victims were actually important. To a Hindoofascist, after all, to be that rich one must have been saintlier than Nathuram Godse, Ghandi's Hindoofascist assassin, in one's previous life.

So now, according to leading intellectuals in New Delhi and Bollywood, Pakistan and Muslims must pay. Which is why the tragedy of of "26/11" has yet to begin.

Sterling dumbfuck Fareed Zakaria recently wrote:

"I think India is showing remarkable resilience. They're trying to get back to business as usual. They were planning to open the stock market, which is not far from the Taj; they ultimately decided that that might have been a bridge too far, but they're encouraging people to go back to work. That's the best thing about an open society. They're trying to project an image of resilience."

To which an intelligent observer responded:

"Remember the Republocrat resilience rhetoric?

What else can you do? What else especially the subcontinent's working poor and middle class can do? From New York, I called my sister and nephew in Mumbai on the morning after the terror strike. Both of them work in the private sector, one as a receptionist, and other as a junior computer professional. Both of them told me that their companies had not called them yet not to come to work, even though it was extremely dangerous to go out and even in Mumbai where the subway is the lifeline of millions of commuters, it was all but shut down. Resilience? Of course, my sister and nephew must go back to work and 'show courage' to stand up against those ghastly cowardice forces. Or else, Zakaria must know, the private sector would show them the door.

Welcome to the globalized, neo-liberal, Wall Street-modeled world, India being at its forefront, along with its corrupt, criminals and crooks."

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