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Article by Mohan Babu


Terrorism: The aftermath

America is a melting pot of ethnicities and the recent terrorist attack will go down as a test of the resilience and tolerance of its people, writes Mohan Babu

By the time you read this column, the World Trade Center bombing would have become the talk of so many office gossip sessions that reading another article on this topic will be passé. I must however pay my homage to the dozens (if not more) innocent Indians who are still unaccounted for. I am not going to be talking about the bombing per se but the aftermath, especially for Indians and those from the subcontinent.

A concerned dad wrote to me a few days after the New York bombing, expressing fears of backlash against Indians. He said, “My daughter has got admission into an undergraduate course for Fall 2001. Under the present disturbed circumstances in USA is it advisable to let her continue or bring her back home?”

Being a techie, having lived in the US for over four and half years, and having had a glimpse of the ethnically diverse melting pot that makes America, I was initially surprised by his query. However, thinking about his question for a few minutes, I was able to empathise with a father who was concerned about his daughter’s safety and wellbeing. It is perhaps with lots of hope and joy that he had sent his child to the US and watching all the news channels telecast the gory details of the blast, it is but natural to be concerned about the safety and wellbeing of one’s loved ones. Adding fuel to the concerns about safety of loved ones are sporadic reports of backlash on Indians and other Asians.

The scenes of bombings and images of ‘alleged’ terrorists including Osama Bin Laden are repeatedly being flashed across the media — TV, newspapers and magazines are carrying graphic stories of those “suspected” terrorists. Frequently watching gory images can either leave a bad taste in the mouth or cause acute anxiety and anger. Most Americans have, until recently, been shielded from violence, and images of shootings and killings abroad didn’t seem to faze them. However, this carnage at home has angered many of them, leaving some traumatised. Added to this is the fact that many, if not most Americans are ignorant of foreigners and foreign cultures, and are unable to make out the difference between a turbaned Sikh and a turbaned Islamic militant being shown on TV. This leaves some Indians, vulnerable to “hate crimes”.

Americans are by-and-large tolerant of foreigners, and historically have welcomed them with open arms. Most Americans, except for Native Indians, can trace their roots back to Europe, Asia, Africa or other parts of the globe. The fact that the government and media moved swiftly to isolate these incidents proves the resolve of Americans to remain level-headed during tragic times. They are going to uphold the values upon which this country was founded — liberty and equal rights to its citizens (should be read as residents, since most of us in the US, even those with Green Cards and H1 visas enjoy the same civil liberty rights).

Sitting in India and reading my column, you are probably wondering what this all means to you, especially if you plan to move here to work or study or have relatives or friends here. The fact remains, even though Americans are still reeling under the aftermath of the attack and the economy is on the brink of recession, people and businesses will rally around to help rebuild the nation. Technocrats, academics and thinkers are still going to be in demand.

Visas will still be issued to foreigners who have legitimate business in the US, although the immigration department will be picky about who gets those visas. Even at the port of entry, there will be stricter controls and vigilance to ensure that only authorised people enter.

America is a melting pot of ethnicities and this incident, although it has shaken us all, will go down as a small blimp that tested the resilience and tolerance of its people. At the end of the day, what makes America great is the tremendous amount of economic and business activity taking place here; and to man and manage the affairs of business, including technologies that keep businesses humming, they are going to need talented people, even if it means getting talented foreigners.




About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
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    For FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America, visit the Ask-A-Desi section

    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


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