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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    American Media Coverage of Mumbai

    I didn’t spent Black Friday shopping. I did not eat leftovers, and I did not revel in the wonderful afterglow of a wonderful and happy holiday. I spent Black Friday sitting in front of my television, watching the continuous coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

    The attacks began sometime on or around Thanksgiving and continued well into the next day. I’m not quite sure when they ended, but by Black Friday, most news channels had moved on to something else. CNN was the only channel I could find that devoted the next day almost completely to the terror going on halfway around the world.

    As the day went on, I continued watching. There wasn’t much new information rolling in, but I found out which hotels had been held captive, the age of terrorism, and the measures being taken to stop the attacks. It was mentioned more than several times that Westerners were specifically targeted. For the first time, in my own memory, it was dangerous to be American in India, as five of us were killed in Mumbai.

    What surprised me, over the hours I spent watching the news, was the total lack of coverage of the actual Indian people whose lives were cut tragically short. There was one clip on the Indian commandos as they went into the hotels, but that was all. The news focused completely on the Americans that were killed and the Americans that survived.

    The mother of one survivor told her daughters’ story, and one Canadian survivor told his. A few passing words from the people of India were filmed, and they were seen in the background of some of the other clips showed, of course. I had to wonder, though — with the death toll at 150 in India and constantly on the rise, shouldn’t some Indians have told their story, too?

    Finally, towards the end of the day, they promised that some of the Indian stories would be told. And they were — briefly. Almost immediately afterwards the news returned to the five American deaths. I had to wonder, didn’t the Indians and their families deserve a voice, too?

    Of course, this is America and American veiwers are more likely to relate to American stories. Even so, Americans don’t benefit from the fact that so many of the Indians remained nameless and faceless. If this attack has shown us anything, it’s that terrorists seek out all “free” people wherever they find them. Should we not want to hear the stories of all those people, so that we can better stand united against terror, in all of its ugly forms?

    One survivor advised everyone to “go right now and buy a plane ticket to Mumbai, because they are wonderful people.” This survivor, hours before, had gotten on a plane as fast as he could after narrowly escaping a hotel that was under siege.

    I’m not suggesting that he should have stayed in Mumbai after what happened, but that, rather than repeat this quote all day, the media should have given some attention to the wonderful people of Mumbai that he referenced, so the world could see their courage and strength for themselves.

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