The last two weeks have been a blur of activity all over the world. Ranging from the good to the bad and the ugly, everyday we learn not only how flat our world is but how interconnected everything is.
The attacks that took place in the Indian city of Mumbai were just the kind of excitement that we did not need this holiday season. I can understand Kashmiri freedom fighters and their supporters wanting to lash out at India, and its economic centre, saw the Indian occupation of Kashmir and the treatment of the Kashmiri people. I can even understand their frustration that61 years have gone by but the rest of the world does not seem to care about United Nations resolutions calling for the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.
In the meantime more and more American, and European, investment continues to pour into India. From Bombay to Bangalore one can see India becoming a magnet for international investment as well as outsourcing of jobs from countries like America. Even the Indian film industry, which used to be entertaining, to say the least, has now become a force and is beginning to make its mark felt even in Hollywood and the West.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the Mumbai attackers decided to target tourists and visiting businessmen, whose Dollars and Euros are strengthening India and enabling its to continue its policy of occupation and terrorizing of the Kashmiri people.
However, there is no excuse for the indiscriminate murder of innocent Indian citizens going about their daily lives. I cannot understand how this attack on Mumbai in any way made the Kashmiri issue more important to the rest of the world. Or, how it made the world in any way more sympathetic to Kashmir.
Even if calling attention to the Kashmir issue was their primary goal, one would at least expect some communication from the masterminds or strategic leaders of this kind of attack. One would request them to at least explain their version of a rationale for such mayhem. Even the PLO, when it was successfully hijacking airliners in the 1970s, was communicating to the rest of the world that it was trying to call attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. Of course, as we can see that did not lead to the independence of the Palestinian people from Zionist Israel.
At the same time, carrying out an attack like this when it would obviously lead to severe Indian reaction against Pakistan shows that these terrorist killers were no friends of Pakistan. It would be foolish of us to argue that they did not come from, or have some support in, Pakistan – as my fellow Pakistanis tend to do. At the same time the jingoistic and "let’s use this as an excuse to bash Pakistan" tone and tenor of India’s words on the issue is not the smartest response either.
One hopes that saner heads prevail on both sides. Not that I am in any way advocating war, but India would be well advised to remember that Pakistan is its nuclear armed, capable and militarily strong neighbor.
Pakistan may not be able to "defeat" India in a conventional war, but any war that takes place because of the circumstances can easily spiral out of control and turn into a nuclear conflagration. In that, neither India nor Pakistan would win. They, and the whole world, would be defeated.
It is for this reason that it is essential for Pakistan and the Kashmiri people to immediately start using more effective tools of communications to call world attention to these issues. We are living in a connected age. Almost everybody has access to the global network, either through computers connected to the Internet or even through SMS on their cell phone.
Services like Twitter, which enable millions of people to have a real time conversation with short messages of 140 characters (called Tweets), are where the current and future battles for hearts and minds of the global audience take place.
In places like these Muslims in general, and Pakistanis in particular, are few and far between. People from, and supporters of, India and Israel are always active in general. They become even more hyperactive when Muslims, or Pakistanis, or Palestinians, carry out these types of murderous attacks we saw in Mumbai, which backfired on all of us.
If you have not already done so, and have Internet connectivity, I invite you to join up Twitter. Follow the conversation and respond to it. The easiest way to start is to go to http://twitter.com/imrananwar ,sign up and use the Follow button. This way you can see what I am saying in response to the attacks on Pakistan.
Then simply by clicking Reply you can join the conversation. In this case not only would your response come tome, but it would go on the "global public timeline" which means it is there for the whole world to see.
As you say interesting and useful things, or have interesting points and counterpoints, more and more people will begin to follow you. That enables you to build relationships as well as open doors of communication with people from all over the world.
Remember, just because you are not in the same room as the person you are responding to, don’t lose your sense of decorum no matter how angry they try to make you.
Being abusive, narrow minded, or just plain offensive only ensures that your words reflect poorly on the very country or cause that you are trying to support. Or it will mean more and more people blocking your messages AND opposing whatever you were supporting!
Remember, a conversation is most effective when you are open minded and balanced. Even people with opposing, or somewhat negative opinions of your country or cause, can become more aware of your point of view, or even become supporters. Be opinionated, but be courteous. Be firm, but be open-minded.
That is the most effective way to communicate your point of view, as well as helping educate the rest of the world on what the root cause of the Pakistan and India problem is. In one word, it’s Kashmir.
The only way to win that battle of hearts and minds in a global, interconnected, world is through using tweets instead of bullets to win your war. Get online, follow and tweet me!