The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Living Terror …
December 3, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Following on from my previous post, I thought I’d show an email I received from someone whose father was a victim of the Mumbai attack.

I have deleted names to maintain privacy and edited it abit … but maybe this will help people realise why they should let issues like this interrupt their own lives of troubles because true to chaos theory – there’s a liklihood they’re connected somehow.

By the grace of God my father was rescued from the Oberoi on Friday with two [minor] bullet wounds and is now speedily recovering. He did however lose the two best friends he was dining with that fateful night who are like godfathers to me].

We also lost a lot of other friends and colleagues and have watched our beloved city reduced to a war zone and brought to its knees.

On Wednesday night, my father and his two friends arrived at the Indian restaurant on the first floor of the Oberoi Hotel for dinner at about 10pm.

They had barely sat down when they heard gun shots in the lobby of the hotel.

The terrorists, armed with AK-47s, grenades and plastic explosives, had entered the hotel and were executing everybody sitting in the ground floor restaurant.

Realizing the situation, the staff of the restaurant my father was in asked them to quickly exit through the kitchen. As the guests tried to rush into the kitchen, one terrorist burst into the restaurant and began to shoot anyone that remained in the restaurant. At this point my father was in the kitchen and along with his two friends rushed to the fire exit. They had barely descended a few steps when they were trapped from both ends by terrorists.

The terrorists then rounded up anyone alive [about 20 people] and made them climb the service staircase to the 18th floor.

On reaching the 18th floor landing they made the people line up against a wall. One terrorist then positioned himself on the staircase going up from the landing and the other on the staircase going down from the landing. Then, in a scene right out of the Holocaust, they simultaneously opened fire on the people.

My father was towards the centre of the line with his two friends on either side. Out of reflex, or presence of mind, he ducked as soon as the firing began. One bullet grazed his neck, and he fell to the floor as his two friends and several other bodies piled on top of him. The terrorists then pumped another series of bullets into the heap of bodies to finish the job. This time a bullet hit my father in the back hip.

Bent almost in double, crushed by the weight of the bodies above him, and suffocating in the torrent of blood rushing down on him from the various bodies my father held on for ten minutes while the terrorists left the area. When he finally had the courage to wiggle his arms he found that there were four other survivors in the room. They communicated to each other by touch as they were too afraid to make a sound. My father moved just enough to allow himself room to breathe and then lay still.

The survivors passed over twelve hours lying still in the heap of bodies too afraid to move. They constantly heard gunfire and hand grenades going off in the other parts of the hotel. They feared that any noise would bring the terrorists back. After approximately twelve hours, the terrorists returned with a camera and flashlight and joked and laughed as they filmed what they thought was a pile of dead bodies. They then moved to the landing below where they set up explosives.

On their departing, my father decided that it was too risky to remain where they were due to the explosives. Along with the other three survivors he climbed the rest of the stairwell, where they discovered a large HVAC plant room in which they decided to take shelter. They passed the rest of the siege hiding in this room trying to get the attention of the outside world by waving a makeshift flag out of the window. They drank sips of dirty water from the Air Conditioning unit to survive.

Finally on Friday morning they were spotted by a commando rescue team that was storming the building and were evacuated to safety and taken to the hospital.

How do we fight such hate?

How do we inject humanity into such monstrosity?

How do we convince those who think they kill in god’s name that no God would condone such barbarity? How do we maintain our own values and humanity when faced with such hate and provocation?

Over the next week as we say goodbye to those we lost and help those that survive, Mumbai and India will ask themselves these questions.

I hope the rest of the world does to.

16 Comments so far
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and there i was expecting a post on fucking electronic flu.

this is amazing and horrendous all at the same time. i need a stiff fucking drink

Comment by andy@cynic

My God, that is unbelievable.
Andy, order me one too. Your shout.

Comment by Age

Thank you for posting this Robert. I cannot deny it made for difficult reading but it is powerful and important.

My best wishes to the father of the author.

Comment by Lee Hill

Please thank the author for sharing this. It’s the laughing and taking pictures on top of it all. I truly don’t understand how a person can get to that place.

Comment by Emily

i agree with emily – it’s the laughing and the taking pictures that i don’t get. i think violence and warfare are a larger part of human nature than modern civs have been willing to accept. but the spectacle of warfare – the ‘look mum, no hands!’ aspect to it that has come into play in the last century, makes me ill.

Comment by lauren

I’ve read this post 3 times and still find what has been written beyond anything I can or want to comprehend. I know there is still speculation about who was behind this horrific attack but institutional religion has a lot to answer for.

Comment by Bazza

Could you please pass my best wishes to the person that sent you this. And to the father. I will spend the day thinking about this properly.

Comment by Marcus

That’s the problem Bazza, this isnt institutional religion. This is hate disguised as religion to attract those who are outcast.

This is no more a real branch of Islam than the BNP is a real political party. The problem is (which the founders know) that Muslims treat their religion with infinite respect; and by labelling their hate as such, make it hard for the vast vast vast majority of decent Muslims to speak out against it.

This is an amazing story. My best wishes go to the father.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I agree with you Mr M … the guys behind this had sod all to do with religion … however I also agree with Baz that regardless of whether it is institutionalised or not, religion has caused a lot of the problems that the World is going through.

As I said yesterday, part of mankinds DNA is hypocracy.

Comment by Rob

As someone once said. God, his son and all his prophets spent their lives teaching peace. We then spend the next 2000 years killing each other over how he said it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

“The most heinous crimes in history have been committed in the name of religion”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Comment by bhaskar

“The most heinous crimes in history have been committed in the name of religion” ???

Just a historical point on “institutional religion” the three biggest mass-murderers of all time (Mao, Stalin and Hitler) were atheists, pursued anti-religion policies, and exterminated (literally) institutional religion in the areas they controlled.

Comment by andrew

To be fair Andrew, that wasn’t what Bhaskar said, it was Gandhi – and whilst murder is an evil that has nearly no other parallel … institutionalised religion is guilty of horrendous wrongs … wrongs that have left the pain and horror on easily as many people as the terrible deaths carried out on the orders of Mao etc.

I appreciate you can’t really compare like with like … but to imply atheists are more likely to commit mass murder is just as wrong as claiming anyone who is religious wants to rid the world of followers of other religions.

Comment by Rob

It was not my intention to defend organised religion Rob, but to point out that Ghandi was factually wrong.

Comment by andrew

fuck me andrew youre a bit of a bastard arent you. hold most people up to the light and youll see something not perfect. picking on a globally acknowledged man of peace and wisdom? why the fuck arent you working for us?

Comment by andy@cynic

Hi Andrew, what you said is completely true about those 3 being atheist, hence Gandhi was factually wrong. I guess the bloke was just trying to bring to peoples notice how easily people have been mobilized & coaxed in to war and murder, in the name of GOD!! Ironical isn’t it.

Comment by bhaskar

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