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November 29, 2008

Terror in Mumbai Leaves 102 Children Dead

By: Bernard Chazelle

The world was shocked to learn that a 3-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai has claimed the lives of 102 young children. Indian authorities admitted to being powerless:

"It's much easier to save Westerners and Indian businessmen. That's what we're trained to do. Home-grown terrorism aimed at children is impossible to eradicate. We just have to get used to it and move on."

"It's a shame," said the acclaimed journalist Thomas L. Friedman, but "you have to take the bad with the good. On the bright side, the Taj and the Oberoi have just reopened for business, and I bet their veggie samosas are still dynamite."

The terrorist killers who took 102 innocent lives, all under the age of 1, have been identified. They are called malnutrition, dysentery, and respiratory infections. Indian authorities expect more deadly attacks in the days ahead. About 700 children are born every day in Mumbai: 34 of them will die in their first year -- only 2 of them if they lived in France. "Which only shows," said Friedman, "that India is 17 times flatter than France."

Globalization has worked wonders for India: child mortality is on the rise and still higher than in that other economic powerhouse: Bangladesh. Despite economic growth averaging 9%, four in every 10 children in India are malnourished.

Child malnourishment in India is higher than in Ethiopia and well above the African average of 28%.

But the golf courses have never been greener.

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at November 29, 2008 12:06 PM

The killing in Mumbai, the publicized killing, was for religious reasons, probably payback for past religious killing in Mumbai, with some religious killing tossed in for people with the wrong religion killing other people in Iraq and Palestine.

People killing each other over their fear and hatred as conformed to the shape of Heaven in their amygdalas is a great way for the people who kill for money to make more money. Just consider the recent events in Mumbai to be a loss leader. Sometimes a few folks get trampled when the doors open.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 29, 2008 01:09 PM

If you want to write about malnutrition and diseases killing children in India and Africa, do it. And if you want to bring in the masters of globalism and free markets and their indifference to suffering and death, good.
But that's not what this event was about, or why the terrorists paid special attention to Amis and Brits and to the oldest scapegoats of history.
Grade: C- (with grade inflation)
Bob has it right, but he's too polite to say that you engaged in a smoke-blowing exercise on this one. But then, even at Princeton not all endeavours should earn the A.

Posted by: donescobar at November 29, 2008 02:08 PM

Ah yes, Professor Chazelle how piquant of you to remind us that the world is weeping crocodile tears over the murder of (mostly) poor Indian hotel workers and some tourists.

Have you been to that train station? It is filled with barefoot villagers sitting on the floor. Oh but the Chabad rabbi, with whom I had the pleasure of celebrating Hannukah last year at the old synagogue in Bombay, surely bears SOME responsibility for all disease and famine in Maharashtra. And no doubt the waiters at the Leopold did not volunteer sufficient time to combatting rural poverty.

Yes Professor, how noble of you to point out the world's hypocrisy. Thank goodness you are here to feel the pain of the truly suffering.

What's your point? You have never once written anything funny. Your music analysis is tendentious. Your political satire induces seizure-like cringes. It is torture on a Guantanamo level to read your musings.

Posted by: Seth at November 29, 2008 03:42 PM

You know who really deserve pity? Your students. I can only imagine the obiter dicta they have to smile through.

Posted by: Seth at November 29, 2008 03:53 PM

Thanks Bernard. Our governments can move the world to eliminate any problem at the point of a gun. All the "terrorists" were killed. Why so? Because "terrorists" have no legitimate complaint against the masters of society. Can we not all agree that "terrorists" are bad? Terrorists have no wives, husbands, children or parents. Of course, the press had complete access to record the carnage. Why no such comparable access to the devastation in Iraq or such comprehensive and timely publicity?
Screw the posters casting shame and aspersions your way.

Posted by: rich at November 29, 2008 03:59 PM

Why, terrorism is a symptom of something, and high infant mortality is definitely a symptom of something. And they are probably symptoms of the same thing, except that nobody seems to care about the infant mortality. And what's wrong with pointing this out?

Posted by: abb1 at November 29, 2008 04:37 PM

"Something...something...probably symptoms of the same thing..."
Well, if only the Wall Streeters and terrorists could drink a Coke together, they'd sing the same song...or something.
I know it's the "holiday season" (aka shopping and football frenzy), but still...

Posted by: donescobar at November 29, 2008 05:18 PM

Well Don, those terrorists probably did indeed drink Coke, but the Wall Streeters don't, rather they snort coke, and this is where your plan falls apart.

Posted by: abb1 at November 29, 2008 05:33 PM

Looks like the "Chip on Their Shoulder" brigade is out in force tonight.

I am glad there's empathy for the victims of Muslim terrorism on this site. They're getting so little attention in the media I was beginning to worry I was the only one who cared about them.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 29, 2008 05:44 PM

Knowles was right--sarcasm is the protest of people who are weak.
Hoping for posts where you are strong and don't need sarcasm to answer critics.

Posted by: donescobar at November 29, 2008 06:30 PM

If the implication of this post is that THIS act of terrorism pales in comparison to the greater, daily, and overlooked crime of poverty, I agree with you. Bombay is a disgusting city, where the unimaginably wealthy live surrounded by the unbelievably poor, and only a handful of people are at all interested in altering that equation.

But I disagree that the recent terrorism in India should be ignored; internecine conflict is one of India's worst plagues, and the distrust it produces tend to rot the fibers that hold society together. Indians need to learn how to recognize each other's humanity; that's a prerequisite to solving the problem of poverty. A society torn by violence becomes atomized. People retreat into tighter groups, with hard shells and spines pointed outward. In that context, it makes sense to confront this kind of violence, understand where it comes from, and reject the actions that would perpetuate it - i.e., the kind of nationalism and bellicosity that's sure to follow these attacks. Yes, we all know there's terrible poverty in India, but this is a problem that needs to be dealt with as well, not brushed aside or ignored.

Posted by: saurabh at November 29, 2008 07:19 PM

saurabh: I agree that the terrorist attacks deserve our attention. But they've been covered 24/7 on all the news outlets. If I had anything original to say about it, I would have written a post on that subject.

But the truth is that Muslims and Hindus by and large get along just fine in India. The Kashmir conflict and nasty episodes like the Gujarat riots keep radical minorities hyperactive, but in a country of a billion people the level of such violence pales in comparison with the daily violence of unattended misery in India's slums and rural areas.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 29, 2008 08:12 PM

Well I'm just glad that there is some sympathy for the families of the Muslim terrorists on this site--they definitely don't get enough attention and concern--except in Professor Chazelle's seminars.

The "chip on the shoulder" brigade sounds like something David Irving would sneer.

Posted by: Seth at November 29, 2008 09:04 PM

Seth, I agree Prof. Chazelle is awful, but at least he isn't as bad as that Beverly Gage.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at November 29, 2008 09:43 PM

And at least he isn't Bush!

Posted by: Duncan at November 29, 2008 09:46 PM

...but seriously, I pay real cash $10/month to run this site, and I'm trying to run a reputable establishment. Vigorous disagreement is welcome. Straightforward ugliness is not. Moreover, it's counterproductive to anything you're trying to achieve. Please don't make me bring down the tiny hammer.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at November 29, 2008 09:49 PM


While Hindus and Muslims DO by and large get along just fine in India, incidents like the Gujarat riots do not pop up out of nowhere. There is a very diverse spectrum of political ideology in India, and much of it thrives on fomenting tension between Hindus and Muslims - from both sides. This is the kind of shit that breeds fascism. And if it isn't opposed, it grows. There's no reason to abdicate this particular fight JUST BECAUSE there is another battle to be won somewhere.

I'll probably write something on this in the next couple of days.

Posted by: saurabh at November 29, 2008 10:08 PM

saurabh: no one's mentioned "abdicating this particular fight" (at least if you ignore the commenters who mistake jon's place for a urinal). Looking forward to your writing. Maybe you can cross-post here.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 30, 2008 12:20 AM

Thing is we know the dynamic that's dropping kids in Mumbai. Various whinings to the contrary, we, meaning open-minded viewers at a distance, have no idea who did this, or why it was done.
The steady insistence without evidence that it was the already accused and prosecuted near-mythic "Islamic terrorists", by people who have no concrete proof, is deeply disturbing. Because it's hysteria, irrational panic,and it's easy to manipulate frightened people.
That's exactly what produced the crime of Iraq. A terrified US citizenry was bamboozled into a proxy war. A war that has broken the country's spirit, by breaking its pride.
The concept of false-flag terrorism has been kept below the common threshold for this reason, as well. Because it's effective, and as long as the suspicions are confined to the margins of discourse it will remain so.
Remember the Maine!

Posted by: roy belmont at November 30, 2008 01:29 AM

Come on, guys, the BJP just needs love.

Posted by: StO at November 30, 2008 04:38 AM

I don't think Prof Chazelle makes light of the victims of Mumbai in the least. Merely pointing out the asymmetry of concern (at least in western circles) for top-shelf types getting the Afghan Wedding Party treatment with those who are equally innocent yet suffer due to thoroughly preventable conditions is not to disregard the former. I'm still waiting for coverage in the MSM that remotely approaches these feverish levels over the remote-controlled "collateral damage" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I suspect I'm in for a long wait.

Posted by: Coldtype at November 30, 2008 07:58 AM

"the commenters who mistake jon's place for a urinal)"

That should be "commenter", not "commenters". Donescobar was making a legitimate point, more or less the same as saurabh's. Seth, otoh, was just ranting.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at November 30, 2008 08:36 AM

It is as foolish and disingenuous to automatically assign every act of terror to segments of Islamism as it is to ignore such a connections.
Since the boys Mumbai saw fit to single out the Jewish Center there and kill a rabbi and his wife (possibly no friends of Israel's secular ambitions), one would not be Islamophobic to suspect a "religious" motive here, not necessarily tied to the suffering of India's children.
Why the oppressive "either-or" here, why not "as well as?"
Speaking of suffering, poverty and malnutrition, where are the progressives collecting food and medicines and schoolbooks and calling for the tearing down of Indian "reservations" and the dismantling of the Gestapo-like Bureau of Indian Affairs?
So much closer to home and yet so much farther away from our consciousness than India. Now, why is that?
I suspect, in my nasty little way, that it poses the risks of having to do something and taking hits for doing it. This from personal experience in getting involved with a Navajo reservation near Chinle, Arizona, years ago.
Go there and take a look. Talk to the kids and mothers. It's a piece of India in America.
Twenty years have gone by since I was on that reservation. I discovered only recently that hardly anything has changed since then.
Our elites and our establishment march on to the tune of the global drummer of greed, and we sign petitions, write letters, post our indignation or compassion on websites. Hip hip hurra.
My own rage is directed as much against myself and others like myself. All the world is, for the most part, our self-made cage. But the beat goes on.
Now what? Both are killers: the money--grubbing, capitalist, market-ueber alles, merciless children of Ronnie's revolution and the boys trained to hate and kill by imams or rabbis or priests. And worst of all, the Ivy-educated explainers and excusers of both.
There. Have I left anyone or anything out? Probably. But how do we get out of our cage?
I don't have that much time left.
Make a lot of foolish suggestions. One of them might turn out to be wise.

Posted by: donescobar at November 30, 2008 01:27 PM

Spectacle and concern disparity go together like fresh snow and hot cocoa.

A certain amount of guilt is inherent in the dynamic, so it's hardly surprising that people get angry when this is pointed out, especially when it's done in a skillful, blunt force fashion.

Nicely done, Bernard.

Posted by: Arvin Hill at November 30, 2008 01:54 PM

donescobar: I KNEW I WAS FREE the day I dropped that SSN.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 30, 2008 03:04 PM

Donald: The s in commenters was not a typo. I come here to have a civil discussion. Seth is a troll. We all know that. But Donescobar is not.
However, his point was not legitimate. My post was about the MSM and its selective focus on the particular Indian tragedies that fit into its framework. So, when he writes a nonsequitur like:

>> But that's not what this event was about

I must conclude he's being deliberately mean or obtuse, a hunch confirmed by his gratuitous "chip on the shoulder" snark.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 30, 2008 04:10 PM

Well I seem to recall having read many mainstream news articles about the plight of Indian farmers who have swallowed pesticide because of debt.

And I also seem to recall that when a certain American company gassed thousands of Bhopalites in the 1980s that it gained more than scant coverage.

I think anyone who pays attention to the coverage of India in The New York Times would have to admit that, while the paper of record is, perhaps unfortunately, not The Militant or The Daily Tiger or whichever ideal news source exists only in the mind of certain commenters, it does address to some degree questions of concern to progressives and other well-intending people. Tom Friedman's lunatic rantings about Bangalore aside, there are occasional quality news articles about rural Indian poverty, etc. to be found in the NYT.

Would Herr Doktor Professor Chazelle prefer it if every day the paper had an article about all the children who died of dysentery the day before? Each and every day, so no one could ever forget, as he surely never forgets?

And is the occasional coordinated mass murder and intentional infliction of mayhem and terror on a major urban center really not worthy of notice, because to mention it would hypocritically denigrate the other deaths that escape notice because of their banality?

Chomsky's analysis of how media sources filter and distort news stories is not a template for complaint every time AN ACTUAL NEWS EVENT OCCURS.

You lurk and wait for a tragedy so you can jump out and scream "J'accuse!" when people are shocked and report it. So who is the troll?

And who is carrying a chip on his shoulder, and what is the chip?

Posted by: Seth at November 30, 2008 05:56 PM

The chip is delicious, and soaked liberally in partially-hydrogenated cottonseed and/or soybean oil. Its ruffles produce a delicate sensation on the tongue, and its salt content encourages one to take a hearty swig of Gatorade.

Seth isn't a troll, Bernard, he just dislikes you. Perhaps you two could email about it.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at November 30, 2008 06:38 PM

Yo, Bernard, I never made a "chip on the shoulder" remark.
Did you miss out on close reading in the Intro to Lit course?
How our MSM treat terrorist attacks--attackers and victims alike--may well be worthy of scrutiny, but I don't see you doing that.
My impression is that you're squirming a little now, but after a weak post, why the hell not. It's not personal with me, it just struck me you were holding on to weak poltically correct reeds.
More Orwell, less Faculty Lounge please.

Posted by: donescobar at November 30, 2008 07:14 PM

This Chazelle dude can't take any heat...typical product of the French educational system...their elites are even worse than ours in holding themselves above all reproach or criticism.

Anyone who suggests that his points are offbase is stomping on the face of a poor third world child and is beneath contempt.

Posted by: Seth at November 30, 2008 07:58 PM

See, that's what email is for.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at November 30, 2008 09:28 PM

Now I get it!

Posted by: Seth at November 30, 2008 09:32 PM

I'm finding the sniping in all directions here to be tiresome.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2008 01:16 AM

Ok Jon point taken. I happen to enjoy the sniping, but maybe that's just because I'm. a sharpshooter.

Posted by: Seth at December 1, 2008 06:51 AM

It may get tiresome, all that sniping, but I wish there were more of it to clear the air, to propel all to examine what they said or wrote, to push all of us make connections when we know they're there and are valid. As long as it doesn't attack the person, but only his/her ideas or cogency, accuracy etc.-- I consider sniping conversation.
Some posts invite it, others create thoughtful and even warm exchanges. Let all conversational flowers bloom.

Posted by: donescobar at December 1, 2008 09:21 AM

Hey, any post that skewers friend Friedman and his strap-on hard-on for shock globalization is A-OK with me.

But will no one weep for the delicious onion bhajis? (Oh---I can still get them. Never mind.)

Posted by: Baldie McEagle at December 1, 2008 10:36 AM

I am an Indian and I approve of the heading of the article.

Posted by: almostinfamous at December 1, 2008 12:28 PM

another thing that intrigues me is that India is a very very rural society. even today around 70% of our populace(700 million people!) lives in a rural setting. the urban populace, concentrated further in teh so called 'metros' - mumbai, delhi, kolkata and chennai and the 'new metros' viz. bangalore, hyderabad and pune - accounts for 30% which although a large number(300 million) on it's own, is small by comparison.

as a result most of our english language news is directed at the urban, middle-to-upper class population which have been the direct beneficiaries of the processes of 'liberalization' (disclaimer: i am part of this class of society. proof - i have an internet connection and 24hr electricity).

whatever you see in the media as a perspective on india is generally to be seen keeping in mind these peril-sensitive glasses.

Posted by: almostinfamous at December 1, 2008 12:56 PM

Thanks for your perspective, AI. Interesting!
Curious where in India you live.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at December 1, 2008 02:48 PM

almostinfamous: Perhaps free satelite uplink and solar laptops at afforadable prices, State subsidized across India? If what YOU say is true about YOUR internet advantage.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 1, 2008 02:53 PM

Guess I should have commented on the substance of the post before now, but better late than never. I agree with Bernard's point about the media. I think that the millions of people who die from malnutrition and disease should be at the center of our public discourse (pompous phrase--I can't think of something better at the moment). They're not, and IMO there's two reasons for this--

1. Ideology. If the deaths can be blamed to some degree on the callousness of a market society, then they will be treated as background noise and if global poverty is mentioned, the blame will be placed entirely on the poor (or their culture or their own government, but none on us). Starving people are only of moral interest if the deaths can be blamed on an enemy like North Korea or the Taliban. This is Chomsky 101.

2. And then there's just human nature. Death by violence is much more dramatic than death from malnutrition. Lots of people flock to movies featuring car chases and gunfights--the ones about malnourished poor people don't pull them in to nearly the same degree.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 1, 2008 02:53 PM

EDUCATION IS THE ROAD TO EQUALIZATION. YOU are no longer able to afford to put a school on every street coner, if YOU ever were. But YOU STILL can well afford to put a laptop in every childs hand.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 1, 2008 03:00 PM

Donald, in this case it's also
3. a bunch of westerners got killed among other people. Some of them rich. That's nerve-wrecking, not supposed to happen.

Posted by: abb1 at December 1, 2008 03:50 PM

I think it would be great if starvation and misery and infant death were the only topics covered in the news, and crazed suicidal gunmen maurauding through urban centers blowing up major landmarks were just shrugged off as irrelevent and anecdotal, unserious and unimportant.

I wonder what kinds of laws one would have to pass in order to force people to read these newspapers.

Also I wonder why Indian newspapers are even covering the massacres in Bombay: don't they understand how inessential this reportage really is? It's like hearing about Brangelina all the time. Pure pap.

Posted by: Seth at December 1, 2008 07:49 PM

I also like the assumption that the root causes behind the gunmen's actions were somehow the same issues that the commenters profess to hold dear: poverty, infant death, illness, etc. Somehow, despite shooting people in cafes and train stations, the gunmen were the real humanitarians.

They MUST have been! How dare we question their motives? Western injustice is so manifest that there could be no other possible reasons.

How strange that the Indian press is so blind to the helping hand the gunmen were offering to the poor!

Posted by: Seth at December 1, 2008 08:00 PM

"a bunch of westerners got killed among other people. Some of them rich. That's nerve-wrecking, not supposed to happen"


Posted by: Coldtype at December 1, 2008 09:06 PM

Abb1--That's probably true too, at least here. I'm not sure how Indians see it--with 1 billion people they probably see it in large numbers of different ways. I would have thought the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, when around 1000 poor Muslims were killed with the connivance of local officials would have been a bigger shock, just as it would be a bigger shock than 9/11 if some local state government helped rioters massacre large numbers of Americans.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 1, 2008 09:35 PM

@ Bernard - I'm in Hyderabad, sort of a poster child for the outsourcing industry.

@ Mike, we have several well-regarded distance education programmes run through television. a lot of it is run by regional universities since the curriculum needs to be translated and localized for most states as most of us speak different languages. the rationale is that computer penetration has not been too high on the rural side although a lot of people now have TVs and thus can reach more people.

Posted by: almostinfamous at December 2, 2008 02:02 AM

Um, Seth, the hypothesis that the root causes behind the gunmen's actions might have something to do with the root causes behind poverty and infant death doesn't imply that the gunmen were humanitarians. Come on.

Posted by: abb1 at December 2, 2008 07:24 AM

Surely whenever there are two opposed groups of people, one of them must be completely morally justified in all actions? Oh my god, this conundrum is killing my brain!

Jonathan, that's actually the contrapositive. The converse is that because all involved were humanitarians, the root cause was slavery. The inverse, to round things out, is that because the root cause was not slavery, not everyone involved was a humanitarian.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at December 2, 2008 10:27 AM

Abb1: Yes it does. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that the gunmen cared about human life, poverty or anything except their own glory. I see no connection between the various supposed roots. That's just a liberal fantasy-that even maniacs mean well. "Well, we don't agree with their tactics, but their hearts are in the right place..."

Why do you feel the need to excuse them by suggesting that there are any root causes to their actions aside from causing maximal injury, probably in hopes of fomenting nuclear war over Kashmir? How is that different from excusing the invasion of Iraq on the basis that America "really" cares about democracy? Why is the disparity between word and deed only significant in one case?

You don't need to start your comment with "Um," unless you are praying for the (primarily non-Western) Hindu dead, in which case it is spelled "Aum."

I hope the screwballs who did this are enjoying their new life as Satan's bitches in hell. "Wait, you mean WE are the virgins?"

Now THAT'S funny. Why aren't I writing for this site?

Posted by: Seth at December 2, 2008 11:21 AM

I have no sympathy for the gunmen whatsoever; in fact, I resent your insinuations. The gunmen are a statistical phenomenon, just like, say, the spread of dysentery. Dysentery is caused by something (i.e., on the most superficial level: less clean water - more dysentery), and so are the gunmen.

Posted by: abb1 at December 2, 2008 02:26 PM

And another elected official created an uproar by an offnensive remark in realtion to an NSG's death. Wonder, how such uncaring jerks are elected to position of power.

hi Rupa... apparently this incident involving the Chief Minister of Kerala has been blown more than a little out of proportion, in true corporate media style. i havent seen any direct footage either, but apparently the father of the NSG commando said some disparaging things about the CM(which he probably deserved) when the latter wanted to pay his respects and the CM made his remarks extremely tastelessly, but as part of a response to a different question and not in direct response to the bereaved father.

of course the fact that the CM of Kerala belongs to the Communist Party plays no small part in determining the angle in which the story has been portrayed.

Posted by: almostinfamous at December 2, 2008 03:18 PM

"I resent your insinuations"

Waste of emotion, abb1. He's been a troll throughout this thread. He doesn't care what you say or think--he's only concerned with the words or thoughts he wants to attribute to you.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 2, 2008 03:28 PM

Sorry for the typos-- head not straight and typing even worse.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at December 2, 2008 04:18 PM

"I will defend to the death Professor Chazelle's right to say it"

Posted by: Solar Hero at December 2, 2008 05:02 PM

"I will defend to the death Professor Chazelle's right to say it"

Posted by: Solar Hero at December 2, 2008 05:10 PM

Wow-you will defend someone's right to post on their own website against a random commenter. What heroism.

Don Johnson-How am I troll for responding to what even Jon noted was a non sequitor?

Posted by: Seth at December 2, 2008 06:25 PM

Seth: Dude, I know you're not a troll; you've been here forever, and most of what you say I find useful. On this thread, though, you're not listening to anyone else is saying, just sort of banging your drum. I think we all agree people who go on murderous rampages bombing and slaying children are fucked up, this notwithstanding the fact that something might have set them off. It isn't sympathizing with them to note that they probably weren't born into a homicidal rage. We can hate the bastards and still want to figure out what made them tick.

Anyhow, fuck them.

There are also millions of extremely poor people in India who have been victimized by India's own corrupt government and elites and the various "victories" of globalization. They exist too. Perhaps we can find room in our hearts for the neglected poor and the victims of flashy mass murderers.

Now we can take a break from saying terrorists are bad and calling Bernard a dick.

If we can't agree on these rather neutral-seeming statements, we might as well stop the thread, or leave it to Rupa and almostinfamous, who have been pretty much the only educational thing about this thread.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at December 2, 2008 07:10 PM

Fair enough. I spent some time in Bombay last year in all the spots that were hit, and I met and hung out with that poor rabbi. I have friends there who are regular office workers from humble backgrounds, whom I treated to sundaes at the Leopold. I didn't think it necessary to make it all about the hollowness of press coverage, as though the whole thing was overblown.

I'll try to be more gentle regarding Bernard's feelings from now on-I didn't know he was so sensitive.

Posted by: Seth at December 2, 2008 07:35 PM

almosti: India is the most fascinating place on earth I have ever visited. I also found it emotionally wrenching. But I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Rupa: thanks for taking the time to write this long, thoughtful, moving piece. It is incredibly sad, indeed. Maybe you heard Aravind Adiga talk about it on NPR. (He lives there.) To hear an Indian perspective was fascinating. Just show how brainwashed we in the west are by our media.

To everyone else: Quite clearly, some of you come here simply to be obnoxious to anyone who does not declare their open hatred of Muslims every time there is an opportunity. Not only is it quite unpleasant for the rest of us, but it does make you write prose that is remarkably dull and incoherent. If you can't do better, please go away.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at December 2, 2008 07:50 PM

You know what, I'd rather be banned from the site than take that kind of shit...nobody on this whole thread including me has said anything anti-Muslim. Wtf are you talking about you constipated twerp?

Posted by: Seth at December 2, 2008 08:09 PM

Um, Seth, for a guy who hangs out with rabbis you seem awfully coarse.

Shouldn't you be saying that Prof Chazelle is correct and his critics are correct too, and then, when your wife points out that all of them can't be correct, telling her: and you, my wife, are correct as well?

Posted by: abb1 at December 3, 2008 03:14 AM

These comments are going nowhere, and are hereby terminated.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at December 3, 2008 05:17 AM