Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Bombay and India is still an ally ... just

Still on the subject of the atrocities in India, an ally and a country that is or ought to be part of the Anglosphere, here is a very good article by Christopher Hitchens on Slate. Among other things, Hitch reminds us all that Bombay, which is still called that by many Indians, was renamed by Hindu extremists after a Hindu goddess. By calling it Mumbai, we collude with their desire to keep India away from the rest of the world, to destroy Bombay, one of the country’s greatest cities. So let us not give in to that and continue calling the place Bombay.
This may seem like a detail, but it isn't, because what's at stake is the whole concept of a cosmopolitan city open to its own citizens and to the world—a city on the model of Sarajevo or London or Beirut or Manhattan. There is, of course, a reason they attract the ire and loathing of the religious fanatics. To the pure and godly, the very existence of such places is a profanity. In a smaller way, the same is true of the Islamabad Marriott hotel, where I also used to stay. It was a meeting point and crossroads for foreigners. It had a bar where the Pakistani prohibition rules did not apply. Its dining rooms and public spaces featured stylish Asian women who showed their faces. And so it had to be immolated, like any other Sodom or Gomorrah.
The main point of the article, though, is an assertion of the importance of India in our world and in our fight against terrorists and the importance of the West, whose leaders have been making rather mealy-mouthed statements, to make it clear that we believe this to be so, despite the many problems India faces.

While we are on the subject of the events in Bombay, here is Neo-neocon writing about some people’s outrageously stupid reactions. Personally, I think she is being too kind to the morons who can see no difference between victims and murderers but she also links to a posting by Yaacov Ben Moshe, who is less kind. [Warning: some of the descriptions of what the terrorists did may well make you queasy.] I just wish they would all call the city Bombay.

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