26/11: Did We Really Learn?

1 year ago… something happened… that changed our lives.

We still question ourselves as to why it happened and whether the vengeance is over. We still wonder how the families who lost their loved ones are coping up with the grave loss. We still wonder if the government is doing enough to ensre justice so that the history does not repeat itself.

It’s been one year. Nothing has shaken us out of our long long slumber. “We will never forget 26/11!!”, “this day has woken Indians up”… these were the “dialogues we all heard! But the real question is how many of us actually remember what happened and the reasons behind it?

The fact that it is only today, after a year, that we are thinking about reviewing our situation means that we have not learnt the most important lesson–terrorism isn’t going to wait for the time when we are ready to fight it and then strike! An attack can happen at any moment and anywhere. The hotel you’re planning to stay at when you’re out on a family vacation, the mall you go shopping to, every place is under a terrorist threat.

We complain that the government does not take enough measures to ensure our safety—how many of us really wait in lines when we are at the metro station or at the airport and get ourselves frisked properly?

It’s easy to think that since nothing went wrong in the last 1 year, things have improved. The truth is far bitter to acknowledge. We know that there is a security lapse in most of our public places, be it railway stations or airports or shopping malls, we ourselves refrain from getting frisked.

When the whole hue and cry was made over the Hedley-Rana case, I sat up wondering, am I supposed to suspect each person who’s nice to me? Thinking maybe this person is a terrorist? If I help him/her now, I may get pulled into a case couple of years latter? Let’s face it, we have given the terrorists what they want—the end of humanity, the power to control where we go, when we go, and sometimes even how we go!!

The whole point is we still make the same mistakes. We still wait in front of a check post cursing the fact that the police should have a better system. So what about the people in those countries? Aren’t we different from them? And if so how can we expect that the police here and there are supposed to be the same? After all they are part of “us”!!

This doesn’t mean the government isn’t to blame; they have screwed up their protocols time and again. What I am trying to reiterate here is that what is required is a collective effort. Something that we all get together and make the system happen. Let’s not find ways to break the system, let’s take steps to strenghten it.

The 26/11 attacks have remained in our hearts but not our minds! That is the reason we still have the fear of similar attacks. Keep a lookout for anything around you contact the police without fearif you see something amiss or an unidentified object in a public place. We don’t just need to mourn together as a nation, we can also come together and take action. Action against terrorism, an action to restore systems and become more responsible citizens.

Priya Ganguli

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashish_tibrewal/3084075534/]