Friday, September 12, 2008

I suppose you need caffeine to read through this

I am reposting this from my other blog, Reading Room after editing it a little. I thought it needs wider audience. Those of you who have read it already, please do feel free to comment again or ignore. For all others, do take a little pause and read through this. And do click through the icon to get other insights, if you so desire. Now brew a strong coffee, drink it along while you read this:

Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read?

India is not new to terrorists or terrorism. We have had it in the Kashmir region for more than three decades. We have cried hoarse about it to the world at large but no one listened to us. Only after 9/11 happened, US woke up to the fact that it was very real and they were also a part of it in the larger view of things. They are not as invincible as they had presumed. I wouldn't like to dwell on the political stance about US for the middle east. That is not relevant to this topic.What is relevant here is, how can anyone kill innocent people? That is hard to understand. But then terrorists have no feelings or sentiments. For them we are faceless and nothing can come between their brain-washed beliefs. At one point or other, powerful countries (I don't think I need to name those here) have created terrorists to counteract terrorism. And it has only backfired on them. Have we really learnt any lessons from all this? The state that the world is in, apparently not.

For me terrorism is very real. It is there at every corner. Especially for those who live in Delhi, if one forgets Kashmir, which we can't. Twice I have been in the vicinity of terror attacks, only saved by God knows how. For the last thirty years or so, we have terrorists killing people in the Kashmir region. Every day. And bomb blasts elsewhere are not uncommon. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Varanasi, Hyderabad are just a few places I mention here, which have been affected by terrorism and blasts. Recent ones took place in Ahmedabad which left 50+ dead. We cannot move anywhere without security check up. All this does take a toll.

And now taking on reading. I can read about terrorists, I can even watch movies too. (However, if something like this happens, I go off reading completely for a while. Any kind of reading). Nonetheless, I think all of us need to read about terror attacks, terrorists and terrorism. If only to understand the whys and hows of it. Trying to escape the reality of it is not going to let it go. I wish to understand how a terrorists' mind works, even though I can't do a thing about it. Because I can't get over all those people who are dead for no reason at all. Terrorists simply do not need any reason to kill. They just do it. Cliches simply do not work here. Religion, faith has no meaning when one is left dead and/or maimed, in body, mind or spirit.

And in the midst of it all, please do remember that the world is much beyond US and has faced terrorism much before 9/11.

Has you coffee gone cold? Or do you need another hot mug of it?

@Update[13 Sep, 2008--7:35 pm]: There have been five bomb blasts in Delhi today, in those places which are kind of crowded in weekends. There have been casualities but not confirmed how many..


Rinkly Rimes said...

What a clever way to wheedle us into reading something really meaningful. I was interested in your point of view.

Anonymous said...

compelling reading. parts of the philippines have also suffered needless violence. yet what is there to do except prepare as best as we can, live our lives as fully as possible, express our love to those dear to us daily, and head out into the uncertain world, in order to do what needs to be done.

well... actually, there's a lot of other stuff that can be done. but the stuff above isn't a bad start, i think. :)

anthonynorth said...

Coming from a country where I grew up with terrorism, bombs and their murders on a regular basis - and a nine year stint in the forces, where I did a very little bit to counter it - I know exactly what you mean.

Steve said...

dont drink coffee!

Ana said...

All wars are about killing innocent people. This is why I do not believe in wars: period.
Their justification: the innocent are just casualty in a sacred war, justified war, in an war for peace. How can a war be sacred, justified or “for peace”? Bits me.
For some it is even worse –there are no innocents. Since infants and children will grow as warriors in the other tribe, race or religion, than they just have to be eliminated. Ideologies like this made victims in the past and will make victims in the future. This is because most of us are the slaves of our prejudices and can be easily manipulated.
I have looked into myself a lot recently and realized that I was raised to discriminate. My folks were not aggressive people so discrimination did not become hate. They said: we will tolerate you but we will never accept you.
However, I noticed that in other families discrimination and hate just go hand in hand. And there is only one thing I can change: try my best to teach my children not to hate.

Anonymous said...

You raise a lot of important points and questions. Why is it that some people feel strife and disasters always happen "over there"...until they suddenly don't? For me, the problem always seems to come down to religion, and reminds me of the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song, God On Our Side. So much killing and suffering is perpetrated because people feel they have God on their side, but Dylan concludes, "If God is on our side, he'll stop the next war"

Preethi said...

Compelling.. and so true "Religion, faith has no meaning when one is left dead and/or maimed, in body, mind or spirit." But where are we going.. in a spiral down the road to destruction.. in an attempt to avenge the wrong we go in a down spiral.. more and more nuclear powers come up every day!!


Preethi said...

On a similar note wrote this today In Wrong Hands

Anonymous said...

Thank you. As I saw ceremonies all day that day you could cut the air in the US with a knife. I am sorry the world did not wake up two decades ago when many countries were hoarse. Just live and God knows.

Granny Smith said...

One indeed needs a strong cup of coffee to read this comfortably.

On my Facebook profile I list my religion as Pacifism. I think that any killing is wrong. Often it is from simple lack of imagination - such as that of the bomber crew dropping fire bombs on a city and not imagining the frantic mother throwing her child into the water to drown because that is better than burning to death.

Thank you for a thought-prevoking post.

Anonymous said...

We in the UK are no stranger to indescriminate bombings and outrages. For 30 years we never knew where the next IRA attack would be. I was personally caught up in one bombing when several of my collegues who were with me at the time were needlessly killed. A timely post indeed.

susan said...


I believe as strong as you do. I am Quaker and therefore a Pacifist. I do not believe in war.

susan said...

Well said.

As as African American, let me say that many of us did not have the same reaction as was presumed the mentality of most Americans. I have never believed it could not happen here. And there was was no disbelief at how much the U.S. is hated. And I have long empathized with those who have long suffered with terrorism.

By the way, I didn't need a cup of coffee to be enticed either but I thank you for the offer.

Stan Ski said...

We can be apathetic, or concerned, or active. Too many examples all around.

Roan said...

Very thought provoking piece. BJ

Tumblewords: said...

I thought about you today when I read of the attacks in your city. I'm glad you reposted this - seems like we all get wrapped up in our little 'hoods and miss the big picture - no wonder insanity continues. Be safe and thanks again for the post!

Rambler said...

I remember growing up in bangalore..a city at one point known as retired people's paradize, and then back to today, just one terror attack and I see a big sense of insecurity in all of us, an element of doubt exists everyday, and the trust is gone in this what we wanted?

Anonymous said...

I guess if something like this intersting and vibrant topic comes, I will surely forget my coffee.
Even though common man is the victim, donno how many of the leads have considered the problem taking views of common. Why we leave our attitude till the point..."chalta hai"!

Anonymous said...

As many have said before me, this is a thought-provoking post, beautifully written, and you pointed out a lot of issues not only the U.S. but also the whole world have to deal with.

Even though I was born and raised in the U.S., I never really thought the U.S. is invincible, but in many ways, lots of people out there do think it is. I can appreciate your post by empathizing with my family in the aftermath of Vietnam War. My parents been through so much, and my relatives probably have seen more death than they care to count. So in lots of ways, it's very similar to terrorism in general.

I don't like wars myself, and as someone mentioned, how can you justify peace with war? Makes no sense to me. And I agree with you, we have to read about terrorism and understand it. AND, we also have to stop thinking about just what's going on in our countries, but what's going on in the rest of our world as well.

Jams said...

A provocative piece.

I believe that our isolation and naivete contributed to our feeling of safety in the U.S. I wouldn't say that we felt "invincible" before 9/11, but it's fair to say that 9/11 opened our eyes in a way that can not be denied.

We live in a very large country and our ideas about policy are split almost in half. That's why our elections in recent history have been so close. There are a lot of people in the U.S. who do hear the cries of the rest of the world. Believe that.

I'm glad I dropped in and got the chance to read this.

A thoughtful piece. Thank you Stay safe.

TD said...

Thank you for this post. Americans have paid so little attention for so long. And still, even after 9/11, we (I am an American) have been lulled into this sense that we are invincible. I think it's arrogance, the same arrogance that allows us to think that everyone should learn English and that we need not learn any other languages. I could go on... but won't. Again, thank you.