Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bus To Beelzebub

To say that India and Pakistan have a troubled history is understatement. Not only can you perceive it in pretty much reading anything by Salman Rushdie, but especially Midnight's Children, you can look at the story arcs from West Wing about it, or the numerous wars fought over Kashmir, or their nuclear arms race. Pakistan basically only got the bomb because India did, and India only got it to intimidate Pakistan. Gotta love Game Theory, it's nuclear Prisonner's Dilemma!

Anyway, there have been some inroads. Literally. A new bus service has opened up that travels between the Indian part of Kashmir, and the Pakistani part. The tensions between the two nations had created a sort of Berlin Wall of Terrorism and War between the two sections, and this effort at uniting them geographically could begin a stage of lowering tensions between the different pieces of Kashmir, and eventually India and Pakistan themselves. Of course, the buses were attacked by terrorist nutcases. Thankfully no one was killed in the ambush, except for said terrorists, and the buses are to continue. You have to marvel at these people's courage, on both sides. The attacks only seem to have strengthened the resolve of the Indians and Pakistanis to make this small step toward unity and peace:

"Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought two of their three wars over it, but officials said they would press ahead with opening bus service Thursday between Srinagar in India's portion of the Himalayan region and Muzaffarabad on Pakistan's side.

``We cannot, at any cost give in. This bus, Allah willing, is going to roll tomorrow,'' said Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People's Democratic Party, which governs India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Pakistani officials echoed her stand.

``Pakistan strongly condemns anyone attacking innocent people,'' Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri told reporters in Islamabad. ``What is their crime? Their only wish is to meet with their relatives.''"

If the experience of Iraqis and Afghanis teaches us anything, it's that people who may have agreed ideologically with the terrorists long ago, or been sympathetic for them, are getting fatigued. Fundamentalist approaches have yielded nothing but violence, corruption, chaos, regress, and deaths of innocent people. Those who appealed to people's basest instincts and extreme emotion are starting to be discredited everywhere. And it serves them right. Who sieges a bus? Honestly.