the great escape

I look around and eye the **exit** my great escape, the red flashing sign, the word EXIT, written up, loud and clear, I eye it. And I make a run for it. The two hosts grab me before I even take a step, each with one arm locked into mine, they **crack a joke** about me, the audience laughs. They hand me a metal statuette, I hold it --the heaviest thing I’ve ever held on to-- it falls through the stage, through the wooden floor, with me holding tightly onto it, through and through. “Ladies and gentlemen we just witnessed **a great escape** for the first time in the history of this event, has the winner escaped in such a dramatic fashion, and without giving a speech either.”

Saturday, October 17

What Does Televized Terror Accomplish?

Yesterday a string of terrorist attacks ripped through Lahore, the attacks were all aimed at security infrastructure and personnel. Lahoris woke up to the news of the attacks, which started as early as 9 AM, blaring all over the airwaves. While five civilians, and twelve security personnel are reported to have been killed in the violence propagated by ten attackers who were also eventually slain, the casualties from the attack seemed to have been kept at bay. Reports suggest that the attackers were bent on creating a hostage situation involving the families of police officers, probably as a bargaining chip either to get concessions, prisoner exchange, or manipulate government policy in some way. The only good news is that the outcome wasn't half as bad as it could have turned out to be.

Attacking security infrastructure marks a shift in insurgent strategy, as their leadership seems to have realized that only targeting civilians is somewhat counterproductive as it gives them bad press. The end outcome hoped for by these outfits is clearly to create a media spectacle, using the many television news channels across the country to broadcast their gruesome message to a captive audience, of late however, it seems that these attacks are counterproductive with respect to these terror outfits' designs as they only serve to mobilize public opinion against them as was evident during the military operation in Swat.

Intelligence sources have reported that media infrastructure, and posh co-educational institutions might be the next targets of these attacks. It seems that these efforts are only ways to come up with a crude and unplanned enforcement of shariah by hook or by crook. At the end of the day, mounting an attack on police training centers would probably not deter the impending military operation in South Waziristan, and attacking civilian targets would certainly not generate public sympathies for the insurgents' cause. It is all but unclear then, what exactly such attacks accomplish other than unsettling people, and destabilizing the state.