Book Review: THE SIEGE: 68 HOURS INSIDE THE TAJ HOTEL by, Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy


I found this book among those in the new book display at the public library and could not put it down.  An excellent read with focus on specific people who experienced this horrific event. 

Most important, the authors provide background on the young men who participated as terrorists and as someone with lots to learn I found this very helpful in seeing the human face of Islamic terrorism.  Most telling we see how these young men and their families are indoctrinated, the abusive training which profoundly isolates from outside influences so as to contain and manipulate the fear and common sense desire to escape what is very much a death agenda.   

We see the surrogate parental relationship adopted by the handlers that systematically and ruthlessly disables critical thinking skills, manipulating the inadequacies and deprivation experienced by these young men.  Each is screened and the personality is understood so that mind control is a callous tool into the robotic like training of these terrorists.  The extremists who trained them knew full well that none would survive and in fact, when it looked like one would told him to make sure he didn't. Cowards...  Despite this, one did survive and later gave an account, providing valuable insight into a process that takes advantage of youth as any cult system would. We see in this system the parallels with other dangerous cult systems despite the religious label that conceals the satanic death agenda.  This isn't about poverty as some would like us to view all the ills of the world. It's about criminal control and manipulation for purposes of power, lust, and greed. The authors write:  "They had been turned into faceless martyrs in a conscious process of attenuation that saw their willpower and self image whittled away, until they felt grateful for being sent to their deaths.  And... They could be any among one billion people.  They were no one."

How these mind control scripts have a preternatural hold on the psyche is indirectly explored in the story of American, David Headley. As I consider my own Christian world view that satan is behind every death agenda we can't escape the picture that emerges regarding the grace imperative to pray for the freedom, deliverance, and salvation of our enemies. Doing so, in light of the level of bondage, makes such prayer very much a spiritual warfare endeavor. 

I couldn't help thinking of the personality changes described in the book "Not Without My Daughter," by Betty Mahmoody as she chronicles the descent into cult-like mind control scripts, dangerous and dehumanizing, when she and her doctor husband return to visit his family in Iran. In these cultures, as in all cult systems, taking personal responsibility is a foreign concept, turning over will and autonomy to a deadly system of ideological control. The system does the thinking and in extremism personal will is relegated to disabled  passenger status.  

Starting as a drug dealer, moving drugs into the USA, David Headley, otherwise known as Daood Saleen Gilani, was turned as an agent and sent back to his birth culture which he identified with more and more as his life began to unravel and ego challenging disappointments were experienced.  It is at these times that turning one's autonomy over to a cult that a person is already socialized to embrace, makes one especially vulnerable.  Still, Headley remains a shadowy character and in the book we do not have a clear picture of how he would explain himself. The authors however give us a clue that reveals what they perhaps concluded.  They write: "The FBI training manual told agents to assume that deep cover informers only ever served themselves..."  
 
The story of how each person survived these horrific attacks and the senseless deaths of those caught in the violence is a shocking reality of the world we live in today and what we must all have awareness of.  The beautiful photograph of two young boys and their senseless deaths is heartbreaking to consider as they were trapped with their mother on one of the top floors of the burning hotel.  This book provides a riveting account of personal will trumping overwhelming odds.  I only wished the authors had taken on, in more detail, the Jewish hostel that was also attacked and the horrific events of that assault since this demonstrates the unreasonable hatred of a strata of people to whom no humanity is afforded by a dangerous and cruel enemy... the enemy of all human beings who value freedom, Islamic extremism. We need to forget the "religious labels," and see the actions for what they are.  The language of death and destruction with the promise of eternal judgment. 

The book also left me wanting more detail.  Like who was the "James Bond" character who in evening dress and red bow tie jumped off the canopy and disappeared?  Did our government, yet again, give David Headley immunity in exchange for information?  Very good excellent research went into compiling the stories of the hotel guests and the response of the first responders... or should I say, lack of response. It made me realize that applying western standards as we travel is foolish, indeed. This is a valuable book.  I learned a lot and so... many thanks to the authors and the integrity of the work.   
 
What one would expect to be overlooked, because this is a book with a broad world view, is what I write of in my blog... the preternatural stamp that cult systems carry and how these systems represent a demonic / satanic agenda. Let's decide we'll pray for Christians in these countries, many of our brothers and sisters in hiding, or courageously reaching out to impact culture for liberty of thought and action... since our Bible is all about the value of Gods creation; retaining the freedom to accept or reject Jesus Christ. We will pray for supernatural protection, since these brothers and sisters represent the best force for goodness trumping darkness.  And mind control scripts assaulting people for purposes of greed, lust, control and power - personal and political is certainly not confined to Islam, since these control abuses are growing in design and sophistication and can be identified almost everywhere.  Just because they wear a religious label, lets no one off the hook.  Violent behavior and outcome is the telling language that can't be overlooked for long without serious consequence to health and well being of individuals, families, cultures, organizations, and groups.   
 
Okay... now I need to get this book back to the library.  It's two days overdue. 

Jesus says: "come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light "(Mathew 11: 28-30.) 

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