(This was on the third and final day of the attack)
A few random thoughts, watching live TV of the latest “final assault” on the burning Taj Palace Hotel, typing as fast as I can before I have to leave for work:
1. They are still fighting. I’m frankly in awe of them. What sort of people are these? You can call them fanatics and terrorists, but it takes more than guts to hold out for sixty hours against hundreds of soldiers and policemen. They can’t even take time off to sleep. I can see them, wolfing candy bars to stave off hunger, dry-swallowing amphetamines to stay awake, urinating and defecating where they lie because to get to a loo is impossible. How can they carry on? How long can they carry on? They do, though. Yet, they do.
2. A huge black dog, a Great Dane obviously, wanders back and forth between the yammering lines of reporters and the hotel, whining. Whose dog? Where is its parent? Dead? What will happen to it?
3. Police commandos in bulletproof vests but no helmets crouch and point guns up at the windows. If you were to have one or the other, I’d rather have a helmet than a vest. A head shot is more liable to be fatal than a body shot, after all.
4. The fire brigade. If there are any heroes from the Indian side, it is these people. They went in the first night, under fire, and got out people from the hotels. Now they are going in, with firing all around them, to put out the flames, right in the middle of the battle. I’ve been told I’m condemning everyone unfairly. Maybe so, but I give the fire brigade credit. You guys win my appreciation.
5. Nobody has yet begun a religious riot in retaliation for this. Positive point again.
6. I noticed that while Indian media refer to the (presumed) jihadis in the hotel as “terrorists” the international media still calls them “gunmen” or “attackers”. Interesting, especially since the same media don’t have any trouble referring to the Iraqi resistance as “terrorists” – which they clearly are not.
7. I wonder how long this latest “final assault” will last? It’s been since yesterday noon that the “final assault” was launched.
8. They found two dead terrorists at Nariman House and two at the Trident/Oberoi Hotel. Where the hell did the rest of them go?
9. What are the Hindunazi parties in Bombay, Raj Quackeray of the MNS and Bal Quackeray of the Shiv Sennapod, so eager to murder North Indian labourers and Muslim shopkeepers, doing? Not a peep out of them so far. Jihadis not so easy to face as unarmed civilians, eh?
OK, next update after it’s all over and I have some sort of information, not speculation.