Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chennai Consulate Attack

(Photo from AP)
Midway through my current class, "Local Emergency and Evacuation," seems like a great time to talk a little about... well, emergencies. In one of our many crisis management briefings, the instructor noted that one in three Foreign Service Officers will be evacuated from a post over the course of their career. At first I thought this was an exaggeration, but the more I hear, the more I believe it. It's important to remember that the State Department's number one mission overseas is to keep Americans safe.

To that end, it isn't just major events like the Arab Spring or Fukushima that cause evacuations. Often, evacuations are preemptive and very temporary. Anyway, this point really hit home in one of our briefings when the instructor referenced the Chennai consulate attack in 2012. The event was barely (if at all) reported in the US, because of the more serious events taking place in Benghazi and Syria at the time, but I found a couple Indian papers that reported on it. Essentially, a mob formed to protest the release of a movie (made in the US) criticizing Islam. In Chennai, the consulate was surrounded, there was some minor vandalism, and a few hours later local riot police broke up the mob. The chancellery wasn't breached and no one was hurt, but I'm sure it was no picnic for everyone inside. I'm a pretty level headed guy... but I still think I'll pass on experiencing this first hand, you know, if at all possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment