Museum of Tolerance, Mumbai
In a world that is only getting smaller, as globalization takes its toll and the lines between nations and nationalities are blurred, the most appalling result has most definitely been the exponential increase of terrorism. Whether it is because people fear people that aren’t part of their social collective, or whether it is out of jealousy and the determination to destroy, the reality is that there are people in this world who resort to acts of violence in order to spread their message and act on their violent inclinations.
One such horrifying circumstance was the 2008 Mumbai attacks. In 2008, twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days were carried out across Mumbai by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the support of Pakistan’s ISI. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people (civilians and security personnel) and 9 attackers, and wounding at least 308. Among the dead were a number of those killed were notable figures in business, media, and security services, and 28 people among those killed were foreign nationals from 10 different countries. The one attacker that remained alive, Ajmal Kasab, was captured. Among the most devastation losses was the brutal bombing of the warm, welcoming, 5 floor hospitality and cultural center of Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. This couple was the warm and welcoming duo that greeted thousands of guests from around the world on a yearly basis into their Chabad house, the Jewish worldwide institution that provides hospitality to millions annually. The center had an educational center, a synagogue, offered drug prevention services, and a hostel, and has been described as the epicenter of the Jewish community in the city. The building was attacked and six of its occupants, including Gavriel and Rivka, who was five months pregnant. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel.
In honor of the memories of those who were lost in the attacks, a Museum of Tolerance is being built on the site of the destroyed building. Plans were quickly drawn up to rebuild the cultural center, and the top two floors of the building where the Holtzberg’s lived and died will serve as an everlasting reminder of the follies and consequences of unbridled hatred and violence through the Museum.
It is our hope that through peaceful institutions such as these, we can help contribute to a world that is full of love instead of hate, understanding instead of fear, friendship instead of jealousy, and light instead of darkness. May we see a world without terrorism and violence speedily in our days.
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