A long article about the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26th, 2008
November 19, 2009 12:04 PM   Subscribe

It has been nearly a year since the Mumbai terror attacks. Journalist Jason Motlagh has written a four part article about them for The Virginia Quarterly Review. The first part is about the initial attacks and the history of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization responsible. Part two continues describing the events of the first night as well as police and media responses. The third is about the events of the second day and includes intercepted phonecalls between the gunmen and their handlers as well as recounting the initial interrogation of the sole terrorist captured alive. The last part is about the last day of the attacks and the aftermath. The article has a large number of photographs and is a harrowing read.
posted by Kattullus (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I posted a link last year to Jason Motlagh's great article about the Naxalite revolt in India
posted by Kattullus at 12:06 PM on November 19, 2009

I was about to post this to Metafilter Projects, so confused was I that nobody had posted this in the bue yet. :) Thank you, Kattullus! Also, I've combined all four installments at one URL, though then you don't get to see the comments to each blog entry, which are often quite interesting. I'm amazed to see that we're getting comments from survivors of the attacks.
posted by waldo at 12:07 PM on November 19, 2009

BTW, the awesomesauce in the photos is Flickr. We got maybe half of the images in the article by searching around on Flickr and contacting the photographers to ask permission to use them. (Some were available under a CC license, but were watermarked, so we needed permission to crop those out or get versions without watermarks.) All of the photographers agreed. One fellow turned out to be a professional photographer, who we've hired to work with a writer on a photoessay for an upcoming issue, which was a happy outcome for us. Staging an attack like this in such a densely-populated area meant that there were lots of opportunities for regular folks to take photos. For instance, Vinukumar Ranganathan's Flickr set of the Nariman House got a great deal of attention at the time, and justifiably so. He captured this amazing photo of commandos taking Nariman via helicopter, for instance, which we used in the article. So, yeah, yay Flickr and the people who use it.
posted by waldo at 12:34 PM on November 19, 2009

This is really well done. Painful to read.
posted by marxchivist at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2009

marxchivist: Painful to read

I welled up at one part while reading it. I hesitated in posting it because it's such a horrifying read but because of the quality of the article and images made me decide that I should go with my first impulse and post it to MetaFilter.
posted by Kattullus at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2009

Thanks. A really terrifying read.
posted by Wolof at 7:01 PM on November 19, 2009

A number of moments got me to some degree, but the one that stays with me is the motorcycle cop who charged the guy with the AK-56, and held the barrel until he was shot in the stomach -- but may have given enough time, and courage, to the other cops to shoot to kill. My God.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 PM on November 19, 2009

really difficult to read. I'm freshly angered now at the incompetence of the Indian police, and I hate those young men. What utter in the name of Allah bullshit. So easy to do whatever evil a rich lunatic wants, so easy to parrot stupid political views in a desire to feel important.

I'm not saying anything original but this just dredges up a desire to scream and yell, and beat those youths to death, then bring them back to life to make them suffer more beatings. Not smart or the right thing to do and I worry deep down I am not merciful, but I'm still unconstructively angry about this and was obviously not ready to read this article. I should just have a cry about this and be sad. Those pictures are shocking and horrifying, and I feel like screaming and crying. Can you add a stronger warning about some of the pics, especially the ones of the bodies in the window at Nariman House?
posted by anniecat at 7:18 AM on November 20, 2009

Excellent article; well worth the time. Unfortunately, I think it is just a matter of time before someone will take inspiration and reenact this massacre in some other big city. It's a type of attack that's hard to defend against without turning all population centres into martial law zones.

My respect to those, civilian and in uniform, who rose out of the chaos and reached out to their fellow man, either to comfort or to rescue.
posted by Harald74 at 8:12 AM on November 20, 2009

Very high quality stuff here. Thank you for sharing.
posted by autoclavicle at 8:28 AM on November 20, 2009

A long, but great, read.
Thanks you for posting this.

As I read, I kept wishing that more of these guys had been captured alive.
Ending the article on the words "hangman's noose" pissed me off.
As much as I dislike any government sponsored execution, I cannot understand executing someone whose goal was to be martyred.
posted by Seamus at 9:23 AM on November 20, 2009

I spent last Thanksgiving at my girlfriend's family home, trying in vain to get through to my relatives in Mumbai, who live a few blocks from Nariman House, and excusing myself from the table to flip through the news channels every half-hour. This was a difficult read, but worthwhile. Thank you for posting it.
posted by Errant at 1:33 PM on November 20, 2009

I probably should have added that I was able to get through to them a few days later, and they were all fine, if shaken.
posted by Errant at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2009

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