Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bad Craziness in Mumbai

At this point in the morning I should be jamming clothes into a weekend bag in preparation for my trip up to D.C. in order to partake in the culinary family festivities which I loathe so much, but I feel compelled to bang this out as a sort of know, just in case I get bumrushed by some overzealous jarhead in his SUV on 95 North 'round Quantico, VA.

At this writing no one is really sure what the terrorists ransacking Mumbai want or whom in particular they are targeting. We know that about 100 hostages have been killed and that upwards of 300 are injured. There have been no demands yet. And most "experts" looking at the trend, seem to find no preliminary connection to Al-Qaida. Although reports of sequestering "Westerners" based on their passports have been coming in, an equal amount of questions regarding the dispute of Kashmir has been floating around the buzzing news outlets.

The half-century struggle for control of Kashmir between India and Pakistan is a complicated issue---one that for some odd reason has interested me for a while. To try to simply break it down into black and white might do no justice to history or to the Indian and Pakistani people, but since I'm paid no stipend for this, and since there's no tyrannical Managing Editor to hold my livelihood over my head, I'll attempt a quick and dirty version here.

In 1947 when the Brits high-tailed it out of India (and the region), the Hindu and Muslim states had a choice to make. Hindu provinces aligned themselves with India while Muslim territories amalgamated into Pakistan. The Kashmir region (northwest of India and northeast of Pakistan) was predominantly a Muslim inhabited land. However, it was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja who pledged allegiance to India. Three organized wars were fought over Kashmir; one in 1947, another in 1965, and the last in 1999. Currently, India has control of about half the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls a third of the region, the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. To complicate things, there's a third angle to this. There are separatists pining for an independent state. These boys aren't necessarily well-organized, but nevertheless they're working hard to see their version of the dream come true. And to throw one more little detail into the whole messy pot: both India and Pakistan have nuKular weapons.

I suppose an omniscient "to be continued" would be an appropriate close here, as details of this terrorist action are still coming in and the story is developing. Is this the prophetic action the White House and the McPalin campaign warned the incoming administration would have to face in order to be tested? What we do know is that Obama is mulling over the appointment of Bubba Clinton as some sort of official envoy to the Kashmir region. Maybe preliminary word of this has stirred the separatist faction, and what we're seeing is an extremely organized attempt to derail future talks or negotiations between India and Pakistan. Maybe.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the jive turkeys reading this site, when they should all be with their warring, bitching uncles and grandparents, stuffed with tryptophan and shaking their fists at some crooked college zebra who just made a bullshit holding call.

1 comment:

Deni said...

Just to add to the complication, China also claims part of Kashmir.

Though I think they are waiting for the Indian and Pakistani factions to destroy each other before they make a move.

And lucky me today, not spending the day with family. Staying at home with the wife and the new baby girl.