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Mumbai, survival, and information

December 1, 2008

I’ve thought about this recent massacre a lot, as many have, over the past week, but not actually written about it.

The killings in Mumbai in a way dumbfounded me. There’s not much to be said. The picture of that one terrorist, in blue, is haunting. He looked posessed, but calm, and the photo was taken apparently just before he let loose with his machine gun.

This has been one of the most striking aspects for me – the sheer madness, pointlessness and stupidity of it. And the singling out US or British tourists just does not make any sense.

Secondly, there are the witness reports. Jeff Jarvis in his Guardian piece summed up what I was thinking this morning as I watched the BBC talk to one of the survivors. The man, who was with his wife in the studio, talked about a ‘BlackBerry network’ and the need for information.

He mentioned he knew he could live 10 days without food, three days without water, but not a single day without communication. This contrasts with Jeff Jarvis’s comment about how (unconfirmed) Indian officials wanted a ban on Twitter/emails etc, citing that this information may also be used by those terrorists in the same hotel.

But the Guardian article talks a lot about ‘news organisation’ as there are a growing number of ground reporters armed with the right technology. Surely this type of exchange of information whould be welcomed by any government in a crisis, and even tapped into. A social media equivalient of a ‘999’ call perhaps?

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