Between a whirlwind election season, endless classwork and the joy and insanity of the holiday season, it's been more than easy to forget there are things going on outside of the college bubble.
The major news networks, seemingly suffering from the same amnesia, began to make up for lost time in the past few days with coverage of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India.
In case you hadn't heard, 10 gun-wielding men, who now appear to be tied to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, conducted a bloody, 60-hour siege on several targets in Mumbai last week. Included in the targets were a hospital, a subway station and two hotels -- one of which was the Taj Mahal, which is popular among Westerners. In total, 179 people were killed in the attacks, including all but one gunman.
Though the attacks were devastating and certainly warranted news coverage, you'd think from some of the American reporting that the Taj Mahal hotel was the only target hit -- when in reality, victims were killed at other locations as well. Their emphasis, as has been seen before, was on the American and European lives lost at the Western hotel. It's an attitude that, while understandable, reinforces our own narrow mentality that we're the only ones that matter. Why should Indian lives be any less precious than Americans'?
For the past few months, it has seemed that all eyes were on America, as our historic election unfolded and its results promised to reverberate across the global community. The Collegian, as well, had been consumed by election fever, in addition to the local coverage we're responsible for presenting every day. While our reporters are not responsible for directly covering international events, we would do well to remind ourselves that things exist beyond the bubble of State College. This is why we have a beat called "nation/world," because the Penn State community is affected by events that happen beyond Centre County.
While the Mumbai attacks will eventually fade from the headlines, their implications will have a lasting affect on the Indian city and the victims' families. In an even broader sense, the attacks mark another sad chapter in the global war on terror.
If you still think carnage in India has nothing to do with your life, consider the fact that both President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama saw fit to call the Indian Prime Minister to discuss the attacks. They know, as should we, that no global event exists in a vacuum.
When terrorists attacked our own country on Sept. 11, 2001, the international outpouring of support was both impressive and touching -- particularly for a country known for its isolationist tendencies. They global community knew, as we should now, that what affects one country eventually affects us all.
And even as we rush to cram for finals and shop for gifts, that's something we shouldn't forget.