Please Panic!

It has been nine years since 26/11. That is enough time to ask ourselves whether we will ever be prepared for a similar incident. Raghu Raman, the President of Risk, Security, and New Ventures at Reliance Industries Limited, seemed unsure. However, he voiced his uncertainty with the confidence that one holds after having “spent 12 years in the armed forces, 15 years in the corporate world, and 5 years as a bureaucrat.”

054“Terrorism was never about the number of people getting killed,” he stated. If it were, we would not care less about “one person’s throat being slit on YouTube.” Here’s how the Tuesday speaker believes it is more “a battle for the mind.”

He ushered the attention of Rotarians to a recent YouTube video that went viral for its ability to explain how “the future of terrorism would be bleaker than its past.” It was a thorough analysis of how advertisements, urging the youth to join the ISIS, might be as cool as the ones that urge youngsters to buy a new pair of Nike shoes. And we certainly had one adman’s validation of the same, when President Ramesh Narayan concluded, “I must say it was eye-opening in a scary way.”

093Many popular culture references were filtered out and explained through a visual analysis of these advertisements; The camera angles and stark landscapes were obvious references to combat films and games that the youth have positively responded to in the past decade. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there has been a 70% increase in the number of foreign terrorists worldwide.

From Raghu Raman’s perspective, it is laughable that as a response to such a sophisticated enemy we have only “increased security at places that have been attacked already.”

115The testimony of a lady who worked at the World Trade Centre, and survived both 9/11 and the truck-bombing incident that preceded the 9/11, only makes the apathy towards terrorist activity even more ridiculous. She claimed that during both incidents the announcement on the public paging system remained the same: “Don’t panic!”

“New York spent 400 million dollars on equipping the first responders (security personnels) with more weaponry” after the first attack, which you know by now, was a futile measure.

144The same measures were followed after 26/11, but the sooner we realise that such aresponse to the act of terrorism, or anything that causes fear,is an effort in vain, the betterprepared we would actually be to curb the enemy.

Thus, the speaker’s solution was to “redefine the first responder.” In present scenario, the firefighters, rapid action force, paramedics, or NSG can no longer be considered the first responder. According to Raghu Raman, they are the second responders – because the first responder is a title suited for the person closest to you when an unwanted situation arises. To put it simply, we are all first responders until help comes our way. So we must begin by learning “what to do in a stampede, or what to do if [we] hear gunshots in a mall.”

However, talking about the right approach: “It took the medical fraternity 70 years, and several deaths, to realise the importance of sterilising medical equipment.” If that is the time it takes for an enlightened approach, Raghu Raman concluded by describing a scenario that spelled out the words: Please panic! “What if they (the terrorists) gave a farmer, who is about to commit suicide, a bag of money, in exchange for walking into the Taj with a bag of explosives and pressing a button? It would only mean that the enemy had crossed-over.”