Wednesday, September 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India


O P E N   F O R U M 

‘We don’t know what tomorrow is going to be’

We are flooded with letters from our readers here and abroad on the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Keeping in view the global importance of the subject, we shall carry on this page viewpoints of our readers in the next few days.

— Editor

IT is about 11 p.m. and I just cannot sleep. I had lost my sleep in excitement about visiting India after six years for the last two weeks, but this is different. This incident in America has totally shaken me. I feel like our freedom is taken away. I do not feel safe at all even though I am so far away from where this happened I live in ,Vancouver, BC, Canada

Two days ago, I was going shopping, buying gifts for my relatives in Chandigarh that I would see in October, just talking about doing all the things that I missed, and now, since yesterday morning, all that I have done is watched TV.

Now even thinking of getting on a plane gives me shudders. I think about all those people who would have left their homes or returned home in those planes, all those people who went to work not knowing that they would never come back and my heart goes out to their families.

Nothing seems important now. Things that would bother me earlier seem so petty now. All that seems important right now for me is to be close to my family here and in India. Family has always been my first and foremost priority, but now it has taken on a new meaning. We don’t know what tomorrow is going to be, so don’t forget to tell someone you care about how much they mean to you. Live each day like there is no tomorrow. Live life to its fullest, which does not mean spend more than you earn. It just means enjoy small things in life. Try and be happy and make others around you happy.

Anoo Bhushan, Vancouver


Without the intention of offending any sensibilities in this tragic time, we must do some soul-searching. The worldwide phenomenon of terrorism is the outcome of certain misguided policies. Paranoia and greed have for long dictated the foreign policies of the developed countries, especially the USA. The tyrannical dictators were imposed upon the people of many countries because of the US fear of communism. Many people of these countries have justly developed an instinctive hatred towards USA for the atrocities borne by them in the name of democracy.

Secondly, almost all developed countries are indirectly responsible for inciting terrorism by selling them their sophisticated armaments. The greed of their armament industry is dictating their myopic foreign policies in the naive hope that these would never be used against them.

Thirdly, the extreme fanaticism in the name of religion is the biggest killer. We can see its ominous inklings in the rabble-rousing saffron brigades and jehadis of Kashmir.

Only a very strict control of armament industry with heavy punitive action in cases of lapse can contain this problem. We also need a rethinking on the term “Freedom”, which if it is only licentious and not responsive, carries no meaning. No country should be allowed — in the name of appeasement, geo-political compulsions, UN charter of freedom etc — to pursue or harbour the nurseries of terrorism. All the world should agree to it or should be made to agree by force.

It has become a global menace. If it could happen in the USA, it can happen anywhere. Now is the time for tough actions and honest soul-searching. The Frankstein has bared its teeth and it affects everyone. This is the only time to contain it or it will be too late, if it is not already.

Brijinder, Chandigarh

How they do it

I live in Toronto, a thousand kilometres away from New York. Toronto also took necessary precautions and closed down CN TOWER, big plazas and other historic buildings. The Pearson International Airport in Toronto was closed down. However, this airport accepted more than 200 US diverted flights along with thousands of passengers.

The Trontorians open their doors to fellow Americans and welcome them into their houses. The sight was taking away all bitterness one could have against some body on account of this kind of attack. We discuss this whole episode in open forums, but I could not find any kind of bitterness against anyone.

Whereas I remember what had happened in India in 1984. I really appreciate the way the whole situation was handled by the Canadian citizens, setting the right example of a global village. Instead of spreading hatred, they were donating blood to save life.

This was an attack against humanity and we all should join to condemn it and should take necessary steps, like changing ourselves so that such acts do not happen any more anywhere.

Devender Assi, Toronto

Double standards

The attacks on America are shameful and a blemish on humanity. But what is happening in America after that, is it promoting the cause of humanity? Muslims and Sikhs (whosoever) is supporting a beard like the Afghanis) over there are being attacked.

One can understand that the tragedy that has taken place is magnanimous. But still this is no way the citizens of a secular, democratic country championing the cause of human rights behave. All the times when India was facing this terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of the country, international opinion was always pressurising India on human rights, whenever India tried to curb that terrorism.

Now why these double standards, when it comes to confront the United States of America. But at least at the cost of all these lives lost in New York, the USA will better understand India’s point against international terrorism and the countries which harbour it.

Anant, Shimla

Lunatics galore

I along with my family have been in the USA for 20 years. I am a daily reader of the online Tribune edition. We Indian Americans feel double loyalties, to India as well as to our adopted country, America. Our hearts sink when we hear of tragedies in India and now we cry for tragedies in America.

Unfortunately, the world is full of lunatics who hide behind religious extremism to further their twisted ambitions in the world. Ironically, America is one of the few countries in the world that embraces diversity and allows its citizens total religious freedom without discrimination.

Be assured, they may have destroyed two buildings, but they will never destroy our spirit or our freedom.

Gurdeep Singh Sethi, New York

A rejoicing rat

When a mighty and huge elephant asks an undersized and meek mouse to cooperate with him in his fight against the “terror” of some other ferocious animal, it is somewhat natural for the mouse to rejoice.

In the present situation, risen out of the recent terrorist attacks on a couple of US cities, our position seems to be like that of a ‘rejoicing rat’!

It is another matter that it is this very USA that did not pay no heed to our continual requests for the mere acceptance of the well-known fact that Pakistan is a terrorist state. Had we asked for their assistance to curb the crossborder terrorism that we are facing now for decades, one can easily imagine their response.

It is not that we should not cooperate with the USA in this drive against terrorism. For it would benefit, though indirectly, us as well. But before that the US government must be made to realise that our injuries that we have been getting out of terrorist activities coming from across the Pakistani border, are no less painful than those it got in a single day.

Rupinder B. Singh, Chandigarh

Recover with grace

On September 11, 2001 not only was a symbol of American prosperity brought crumbling to the ground, but a large number of people who had helped build that prosperity fell to their deaths. As an American, I am deeply saddened by the course of events and feel that only a mad man could come up with such a scheme. The sheer brilliance and cleverness of the evil behind such a horrific tragedy is inconceivable and disgusts me. I am angry and feel that every American deserves retribution for their neighbour’s death.

The American skyline is forever changed, not just Manhattan’s. We are the citizens of a new America, one that has suffered great losses, one that will rise higher than ever before to maintain its people’s rights, and one that can still be looked up to in a moment of crisis and fear. As we wake up tomorrow to rebuild our spirits and dreams, let us join hands with the silent heroes who do not need verbal recognition but only want the satisfaction of helping others. When the events of September 11, 2001 go into the textbooks to join Pearl Harbour, the Oklahoma city bombing, we need to keep in mind that the severity of how hard you’re hit can be overshadowed by how fast and with how much grace you can recover.

Tarranum Kohli, Langley High School in McLean, Virginia USA

It’s tragic

It’s beyond one’s comprehension how people could harbour hatred of such magnitude. I was in New York city this past Sunday. While on transit from LaGuadia airport to the hotel in Manhattan, I looked outside the cab window and there they were, emerging out of the concrete jungle...the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

A thought came to my mind: how strong these monuments are that even a terrorist attack in1993 could not bring them down. Unfortunately, on this Tuesday morning, in total disbelief I saw them coming down. The twin towers are gone, so are the lives of thousands of innocent hard working people. My wife is grateful to the God that I came back home safely.

Dr Subhash Rajora, Detroit

What we can do

I am happy to see that our worthy Prime Minister has spoken so stronghly against terrorism. That is the kind of support that India should give to the USA against terrorism. This the time when India can vindicate its position and help in fighting against senseless murder.

I still feel this support should have come on the day the bombings took place in the USA. But better late than never. The coming days are going to be a test of mankind’s will to root out evil. God Speed.

Prabdeep Singh Bajwa, Iowa State University, USA

A terrorist state

We feel sorry for all the human lives lost and have all the sympathies for the dead and the injured in the recent attacks on the US installations.

There could have been nothing worse than that. Come to think of it, the USA has been asking for it for a very long time now. The only friends of the US governments have been either dictators or monarchs. And the USA has always been ignoring democracies like India. On the contrary, we have always been told that Pakistan cannot be declared a terrorist state for lack of evidence. And whatever actions we took were all criticised as violating human rights as if the dead did not have any. Well, now that the USA has been bitten by the terrorist bug, let us see what they do about the terrorists and their human rights? President Bush has vowed to take revenge and will spare no one, including the harbourers. I would strongly recommend the inclusion in this list those Senators who have been lobbying for Pakistan and other such states.

Vinay, by e-mail


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