In the past two days, terrorists have made a ten-point coordinated attack on significant landmarks in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Estimates at this hour indicate that upwards of 160 people have been killed and several hundred wounded. I'm not going to post news here, as you can get that at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Usually I visit The Times of India for a snapshot of a country I very much want to visit and to check out Hindi film reviews at both incarnations of the entertainment section, each with their own staffs, the Times of India AND IndiaTimes.com . This week it's been invaluable as a source of information in the crisis, with regular updates from the field.
But this age of instant news has presented a problem: conflicting information. In one article I have read about the attackers NOT knowing their way around the Taj Hotel. Yet in another posted at a similar hour, I read that it was believed that the terrorists had studied the plans of the hotel and prepared well to have more than just a working knowledge of the ins and outs of the hotel's floor plan. One article might say that a target has been cleared of terrorists, and then another moments later saying that there have been more flashes or explosions. Not to mention the conflicting reports of any background info on the terrorists themselves or their connections to other groups. The mere volume and rate of the information stream is bound to lead to new insights as well as problematic inaccuracies. One can only hope that in the coming days a clearer picture will be drawn of the terrorists, their plan of action, their motives, and more importantly, how the Indian government can better protect its citizens (and visitors).
I am not dissuaded from my strong desire to travel to India, including some days in Mumbai, but the attack does render me doubtful as to whether I might choose to stay in hotels widely known to cater to Americans. I typically choose other accommodations anyway, wanting to have a less sanitized experience, so I suppose it just reinforces my existing instincts.
I haven't let terror scare me away from London and Istanbul, and these attackers have not scared me away from Mumbai.
Someday I will go...and when I am in front of the Taj Hotel or the Gateway of India or the Victoria Terminus I will think of those who lost their lives to this insanity.