Friday, January 09, 2009

An Appeal Against State Terrorism

A month back, I wrote about Baby Moshe and why terrorism can not succeed. I owe it to everyone who read it a statement why it does.

Baby Moshe is a symbol to me. An innocent child who lost his mom unnecessarily, unjustifiably. He signified why we should always stand against the use of force against the unarmed and the innocent.

Ironically, by the same coin, we must condemn, in strongest possible words, the actions of Israel in Gaza. Rockets have been fired in Israel from Gaza, killing one of its citizens and wounding several. But Israel's response, as in many occasions previously, disproportionate and cruel. It bombed the territory indiscriminately and continuously, killing hundreds, including the children in schools, and an unaccounted for number of Baby Moshe-s.

This is exactly why terrorism succeeds, to win even a single heart as it does. While one must stand for the human decency and rights for unarmed civilians facing hooded gunmen, we should spare no effort to stop organized armies executing similar death campaigns to deadly effect.

We are in a chicken-and-egg proposition where the terrorists cite unilateral and barbaric actions like Israel's wars [remember the one on Lebanon couple of years back] as justifications of their deeds; whereas such wars are entered upon citing the mindless terrorist actions at other times. The key is - both kill unarmed citizens, babies, mothers, disrupt families and destroy lives.

Such destruction is no answer. This is what I continued to say about India and Pakistan, and will say about Israel. Our rulers live in a hangover from ancient times when tribes fought against tribes, and it was possible to be genocidal and wipe out entire populations. This does not fit into a 'globalized' world, in the era of democracy and 24x7 media. Great pioneers like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin tried this and failed; not because they failed in the 'Information War', they controlled the media and half the world extolled their progressiveness and leadership, but because of Lincoln's dictum about public leadership - you can fool some people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time.

Apart from such stale thinking dating back to Genghis Khan's time, we also continue to make two mistakes. One, we treat, despite the correct political noises we make elsewhere, not every human being as born equal. I am not trying to preach socialism here, but all of us been granted a basic right to life and livelihood, and it isn't for a human being, and any 'government' to take it away. Civilization demands that we accept our rights to live - regardless of our gender, race, religion, nationality or political allegiance - and if we don't, we shall await our own nemesis, for the time when we are on the side of the wronged.

Two, we continue to play a zero-sum game. We treat other's losses as our gains. This instinct goes further back than Genghis - this was the time we were animals. We seem to have overpowered our instincts and became civilized; except when we have a gun in hand or when we are in government. It is for us - citizens and voters - to teach some civilization to these guys, by punishing our corrupt and inefficient governments which fail to protect us for its faulty, short-term policies and put us in danger and degradation by waging unnecessary wars on innocent people. We must read all the signals that our physical environment is giving us: We are facing a far greater threat from outside than within our civilization, and it is time that we abandon the zero-sum attitude and start acting as a civilization. Lots of times, popular Hollywood movies get it before our presidents and prime ministers do.

So, this time, another appeal to save the lives and dignities of Baby Moshe-s in Gaza. Let us prove we are better people than we seem to be [and people like Tony Blair, who seems to be as much an apologist of supremacist thinking and violence, not very unlike his friend Bin Laden, make us look like] and join together in the appeal of an immediate, unconditional cessation of state terrorism in Gaza.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the world that we are leaving for our future generation??? The world which has terrorism, war and no peace.

Supriyo Chaudhuri said...

Indeed. I should have added 'short-termism' as another grave mistake that we keep committing. Do we at all care for our children, and their lives? We send them to private schools and leave them nest eggs, but essentially make their lives painful by our unthinking exploitation of environment and our disregard for human life and dignity. I keep connecting the two, because in my mind, these two are connected: whether we want to live a harmonious life, with others and with nature, or we want to maximize what we get for ourselves? And, such attitude essentially determines whether we preserve or destroy, whether we value life and dignity, and whether we believe in shared future, with other human beings, neighbours of today and our future generations?

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