As the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, beyond the shock, awe and unbearable sadness, a thought must have quietly crossed some minds in New Delhi: We told you so.
India had suffered Islamist terror for decades before the West had woken up to it under the ash-and-dust cloud of 11 September, 2001. India had by then already witnessed the meticulously planned 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and the attack on the Chennai Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh office; blasts at Delhi's Lajpat Nagar market and Dausa in Rajasthan on successive days in 1996; the 1998 Coimbatore blast and the 2000 church bombings in Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.
India had realised that a fresh wave of Islamist terror was growing and organising itself across the world, but the world brushed aside its warnings. Isolated and local acts of violence, it thought. Till the second plane flew into the WTC.
In about two decades, history is repeating itself. When towns and cities in India " from Murshidabad in Bengal to Aligarh in UP " burned with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, western media and organisations ignored the alleged communal overtones.
It preached secularism to India, conveniently failing to clarify that CAA was brought to fast-track citizenship appeals by persecuted religious minorities of neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without taking away the right of Muslims to seek Indian citizenship under other laws. It also failed to mention that the US had its own Lautenberg Amendment.
Western media never asked who was funding the prolonged and often-violent agitation and why.
Jihadists, far-Left anarchists, shadowy funding, Hungarian tycoon George Soros openly announcing his plans to destabilise Indian democracy... a heady mix of dots no western media outlet cared to connect.
Ironically, similar forces have now taken over the streets of the US under the pretext of protesting African-American George Floyd's horrific death at the hands of white cops. The nightmare has started spreading to already racially and communally explosive streets of Europe.
What is the western liberal establishment missing again?
In its majority-bashing multiculturalism and whitewashing of all crimes by minorities, it is willingly looking away from dubious forces which have spawned and found succour in the West's campuses, newsrooms and social media offices. These forces are out to derail the very foundation of democracies. But the media and academia, which should have called them out, have been compromised, co-opted, taken over.
The long-standing issue of racism in the US police force and brutal treatment of African-Americans has now been taken over by the far-Left, and certain faceless entities we know little about.
Who funds and what contributes to, for instance, the precipitous rise of the anarchist and violent Antifa movement?
Instead of addressing the treatment of blacks, why are the protests increasingly targeting American nationhood?
How are riots spreading so seamlessly to Europe? There is already an attempt to restart anti-CAA protests in Delhi. Are these coincidental, or parts of a much larger, sinister plan?
Instead of asking these questions, the western media and intelligentsia is out to whitewash these.
Twitter and Google have already taken a political stance against the American state position. Facebook may be bullied into it.
Republican Matt Gaetz accused Twitter of inciting violence by hosting Antifa and Black Lives Matter organisers. Twitter censored his tweet that said, ""Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?"
In response, a Twitter spokesperson reportedly said: "We have placed a public interest notice on this Tweet from @mattgaetz. The Tweet is in violation of our glorification of violence policy. As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it."
Large parts of the media have turned into an Antifa mouthpieces. 'Antifa aspires toward creating a better world,' read a Teen Vogue headline.
Western media is making the mistake that once western intelligence agencies made: ignored trends and portents in the rest of the world. Whether this is by design or the eagerness to be politically correct is unclear. But it is dismaying to see how the western intelligentsia has internalised justifications of violence and attacks to dismantle painstakingly built democracies.
Prominent people cheered the violence and loot.
"Violence only begets violence," tweeted politician Ihlan Omar.
Violence only begets violence.
More force is only going to lead to more lives lost and more devastation.
We must prioritize the safety of our community.
We can rebuild, but we cannot bring back lives.
" Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 28, 2020
For some, karma came back to bite.
" sober_man 😁 (@StonerPsychic) May 31, 2020
Feminist post Olivia Gatwood tweeted: "Burn it down. F*** property. F*** cops."
Oped after oped in the New York Times, Washington Post and other publications sought to play down the political violence in which rioters made no distinction of black and white, as if burning down America was their only goal.
These are the very destructive instincts India has been fighting for ages. The world would ignore that experience and learnings from it at its peril now.