Citizen journalists report Mumbai attacks

29 November 2008 at 1:22 pm 2 comments


KARLOS RANSA, YouTube Review

As militants took hostages and killed at least 195 people, including 22 foreigners, during a shooting spree in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, citizen journalists provided horrifying accounts of the three-day carnage. 

As mainstream media tried to make sense of the horror that befell Mumbai (formerly Bombay), net citizens broke the news and provided quick updates on the seige. 

US-based Arun Shanbhag, who was just visiting his parents in Mumbai, used Twitter to send micro-blogs. He later wrote a running blog on WordPress, providing blow-by-blow account of the ensuing gunbattle between elite commandos and a small band of determined militants. 

He reported an emotional eyewitness account, telling about a “pool of blood in front of my barber shop.” On seeing the Taj Hotel on fire, he said: “OMG! One of the domes of the Taj is on fire. It is burning like a bonfire! I can actually see the structs/frameworks under the tiles in full blaze. OMG! NO! This can’t be happening!” 

YouTube also began carrying videos, some taken by horrified eyewitnesses while some were recordings from television networks. The video above, uploaded on YouTube by user midday, was taken by an Indian police officer as he was being shot by militants. 

Vinukumar Ranganathan used his Flickr account to upload photographs showing the grisly results of the rampage. 

In the aftermath of the violence, bloggers began to examine its causes and impacts.

Manoj Khatri, in his Mumbai attacks: the lethal combination of business, politic and religion post on WordPress, wrote: 

“The problem is much more complex than apparent. And perhaps the root cause is the lethal combination of business, politics and religion. The financial crises, the terror attacks and lots of other grave issues we face today are the result of these three forces conspiring hand-in-glove. 

“I reckon that the world is a victim of the ‘business of politics’ and the ‘politics of religion.’ Notice that the common thread is politics. Yes, politics is no more than business for our politicians, who leave no prospect of raking in millions. These same politicians also use religion to terrorise the core human spirit. They design dirty divisive strategies just so that they can come to power and then abuse it to their advantage. What is tragic is that people fall victim to the ideologies of political and religious leaders who have nothing but their own self-interest in mind.” 

Another WordPress blogger condemned the attack: 

“We, at Asoka Lifescience Ltd. are deeply aggrieved at the mayhem and manslaughter caused in Mumbai by a handful of gun-toting youth brainwashed and bought into believing that killing people for money, chauvinism, and fake patriotism is justified.” 

Moin Ansari, meanwhile, expressed fears about the impact of the attacks on India’s tourism and business outsourcing sectors. In his blog he wrote:

“The marketing campaign of ‘Incredible India’ is dead…

“The long term economic impact on Mumbai is incalculable. This is huge. Companies that outsource to India and enjoyed themselves in hotels like the Oberoi will rethink their strategies. ‘Incredible India’ and the tourism industry will take a colossal hit. It remains to be seen whether New Delhi can overcome the images streaming out of the financial capital of India.”

Blogger midfield, on the other hand, wondered: ”Could the horrific multiple-target terrorist attacks in India’s financial center Mumbai happen in the Philippines.”

And even as Mumbai authorities declared “all operations are over” and “all terrorists have been killed,” citizen journalists will still continue to stream news, give insights, and write history online.

Entry filed under: Citizen journalism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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