It's now 20 years and several terrorist attacks and bomb-blasts have gone by. Mumbai still carries on, but there is no pride in doing that anymore. Everyone just wants it to stop. It's been easy for the government to quickly clean up and talk about how terrorism doesn't impact us. The Mumbai residents keep calm, but no one wants to move on like this.
The treatment though of these events is somewhat schizophrenic.
The local take has generally been one of gallows humor/pride(?). One of the most common questions people have is "is everyone I know safe" and "so is tomorrow a holiday or what?" (the answer is always no, it's not.)
Its when people look and compare what Bombay/Mumbai goes through regularly and when it gets kudos for being itself that people suppose they should feel pride, but I suspect this sensation isn't the natural self grown variety.
The best treatment of the phenomenon has been by the Taj staff. During an tour of the art in the hotel after it was re-opened, curious tourists asked about the attacks and where it happened, the guide spent just enough time to be polite and make it clear that such questions were not answered and moved on to discussing his work.
Honestly, what else are you going to do?
I suspect part of the state side reaction is likely media influenced or focus on those aspects. By the looks of it Boston is acting rationally to the issue and will likely carry on as well once there is an all clear.
Its funny what is being called "several attacks". For context this refers to the train bombings, which opened up railway bogies like sardine cans, the attacks of 26/11, the bombings in Jhaveri Bazaar, random riots.... the list goes on. And the city's response has generally been apathy. The attacks elicited anger at the Government and embarrassment.
But oddly, apathy is probably the best answer to terrorism. The point of terrorism is to make a political statement. If no one cares then while violent, the statement is essentially ignored.
Not just that.
But think of it this way, most people who are already having hand-to-mouth have no other option but to show up at their jobs next day.
It's just what you do.
I have no solution to that dilemma that won't put us as a society as low or lower than the terrorists we're fighting...
Got back and look at the UK in the 70's and 80's during the worst of the Northern Ireland troubles for an example.
There was a period of a couple of years where "suspect device" was a regular reason used for my train being late.
And last month as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/20/al-qaida-iraq-an...
We're too young to remember a time when terrorist attacks and school shootings weren't regular occurrences. We carry on rationally because we've seen the stupid crap people do when carried away by their emotional reactions to terrorism. That doesn't mean we don't dearly wish it would stop.
But we don't need perfect safety to be proud. The most common statement going around my social networks is "Most of what you need to know about Bostonians is summed up in the fact that their blood banks were already full today". People lend each other their cell phones regularly. Those hospitals are always saving lives. These things are part of being decent human beings. Just because there are non-decent human beings out there can't diminish that.
We are cynical, because we have to be. But in cynicism we've found hope for ourselves, because we can be different.
It's pretty much the best option, under the circumstances.
I'm less confident in this country's political leadership.
We here tend to work more of a spirit of freak-outery and cynicism. And as much as it annoys me, I think its more a symptom of how relatively little most of us and our ancestors have had to worry about in the US as much of our history was as a mostly rural international backwater that quickly transitioned quickly to a world power with oceans and, almost always, peaceful neighbors on its borders.
Which is something to be thankful for, even if it has led to a fairly weak resolve.
But that is just me making up a hypothesis that fits the data in retrospect. Maybe something else is going on.
I don't remember much about NYCs reaction, as I was in school in Atlanta at the time. But my father worked on an air force base at the time and reactions there and around that town were anything but carrying on.
Large chunks of the London population would have also lived through the various IRA campaigns in the 70-90s.
One of the thing that seemed darkly humorous to me was that in the aftermath of the July bombings the tube/rail services rolled out the old warning messages used during the IRA campaigns which didn't really apply to suicide bombings (they were all aimed at suspect packages being left somewhere - rather than things being carried / suspect behaviour).
News media gives us a rather distorted image of how things stand. I remember when living in Beijing during the Kosovo bombing campaign in 1999. The Chinese naturally took great offence for deaths in their embassy.
CNN was day after day showing video of violent anti-US demonstrations outside US embassy in Beijing. Foreigners were warned of sticking their nose out. I took a walk in the Sanlitun embassy area. The closest thing to a riot I saw was an overweight woman walking her poodle. The demonstrations were well organised in front of the cameras, without causing disruption elsewhere. They were mostly over in a day; CNN just kept replaying the same footage for a week.
Chinese colleagues were clearly angry, but they also just carried on, as always.
1. A HUGE police presence, like nothing I've ever seen anywhere - that day it was the safest city in the world.
2. It was quiet, yes people were carrying on but it wasn't like the London you expect, people from outside the city were definitely steering clear.
One thing to remember is that London (and the UK) is "used" to terrorist attacks from years of the IRA. Back in those days it was a bit different as they generally gave a warning but still, I think over time it has built up a resilience.