This was a harrowing film in many ways; from the horror of the guests who gave away the location of their hiding place to the hotel staff who stayed to save their guests. Each story told painted a picture of mayhem and fear.
But perhaps most importantly, many of the tales we heard spoke of the diametric opposites of that day, with goodness – pardon the cliché – overcoming evil. As we’ve seen too often in the last ten years, when determined terrorists try to wipe out innocents, the noble and heroic outnumber them.
Sadly, it’s often those noble and heroic people who pay the ultimate price for their bravery, as was the case with a chef in the hotel who could’ve escaped and saved himself, but who instead chose to stay and try to protect the guests. He was one of the 100 who were murdered that day.
A great deal of emphasis was put upon the role of technology on that terrible day, both in coming to the aid of the trapped people but also, in one instance, betraying their location to the terrorists.
In the latter case, an Indian MP was giving a live radio interview from his mobile phone and he announced exactly where he and group of other guests were hiding. Unfortunately for him, that one act of crass stupidity was celebrated by the terrorists. “Everything’s being recorded by the media. Inflict maximum damage” was part of a message recorded after that reckless slip of the tongue.
And the forgiveness shown by some of those directly affected by the attack was humbling; Alison Markell’s husband was killed that day, but despite her crippling grief, she spoke of having sympathy for the terrorists, asserting that they too were victims of radicalisation techniques.
That was an sentiment mirrored by one of the hotel’s guest, Michael Pollack, who said the terrorists were, “doped-up kids who were brainwashed and made into dispensable robots.”
Turkish holidaymaker Seyfi Muezzinoglu was one of the guests at the Oberoi Hotel too, and he summed up the aims of the terrorists when he sad, “There was no plan. They just wanted to kill as many as possible”.
This film, like many of its ilk about the survivors of terror attacks, demonstrated ably the indomitable will of people who’re tested and pushed to limits they probably didn’t know they had. And in a film full of sad stories, just like many others in this day and age, it does the heart good to know that for every person with evil intent, there are thousands without.