Several bombs exploded this evening in Hyderabad, killing at least 18 people. Dozens are injured.
I started my day as usual, by reading my mail, then looking at Facebook. That’s where I learned about the bombings.
I checked on the only person I know in Hyderabad, and she’s ok. Then the feelings started to sink in. I am sad beyond belief. My future home was bombed. I feel powerless to understand the situation. And I am amazed that just on Tuesday, a very nice man from Chennai whom I spoke with at the airport had warned me about the sometimes volatile situation in certain neighborhoods of Hyderabad. He talked about riots, not bombs. But we all remember the attacks on Mumbai.
I have spent the last few hours reading the news from Hyderabad and from India, and I don’t understand a thing. They write about “Group This” and “Group That”, and that the “Team of Something or Other” will be dispatched there. The VP of the “Minister of I Don’t Know What” made a statement. The Mayor of Hyderabad (heh, this one I recognize) also made a statement. But I am at loss. I am an outsider. I can’t decipher the subtext.
I decided to read the comments. I had stopped doing this for American and local papers, because they are just plain stupid, but I think you get a taste of reality when looking at these opinions. And indeed I learned a few things. I learned some words used as insults by Indians (good to know I guess), that Indians trust their government even less than we do. It is clear from the comments that the readers are already blaming the attacks on a particular group. Experience I guess, or pure racism, I don’t know. And I learned that Indian newspapers also have trolls!
Then I looked at CNN and USA Today for their coverage of the bombings. Nothing. I am not surprised, because there is no doubt that the death of Reeva Steenkamp in South Africa is of utmost importance to all of us and deserves one third of the front page. And since no Americans were killed or injured in Hyderabad, it will not be mentioned. I checked the International section of CNN and still didn’t see anything. I understand that our media needs to sort out what is important and a couple of little bombs in India are probably not going to shatter our national conscience.
But I am French. In the 1980’s, France suffered dozens of deadly terrorist attacks. The French will recognize, among others, the bombing of the Paris Synagogue at the Rue des Rosiers, the bombing of the Marseilles train station on December 31st, the bombing in the store Tati. Americans didn’t care.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, we are still going to India.