>Where do we go from here?

>The writer of this article is one that has always held out hope and believed that even when the worst of it hits the fan, it will get better and somehow we will get through it. But now it is getting harder and harder to do that with each passing day. Something must change.

In India as a country we live divided. Of course this reminds me of the lessons of childhood of breaking one stick alone and then many together that we have all heard, but apparently almost none have learnt. We are a country that has become polarised at its most basic levels, even in the wake of a crisis like the ones before us where everyone I talk to is certain that with the elections around the corner all political parties are going to try and incite and use this to try and get mileage and further polarise the people to their benefit. For those following the news at all, this can already be seen in the form of newspaper advertisements blaring about the weakness of the government. Should all parties not put their differences aside in this of all times and work together in the interest of the nation until the crisis is past? I like to think so, but apparently that’s not the case.

In fact this writer has travelled across the country and spent a fair amount of time on all sides of this amazingly diverse nation with friends and acquaintances everywhere and it is my experience that the average person is happy and not biased or intolerant but there are so many that have prejudices and hatred in their heart simmering – not against a foreign enemy but against their own brethren, their own countrymen who differ from them only by something like religion or geographical location. Right at this moment there is a man on TV who’s son is still trapped with the terrorists in one of the hotels who says that this is not about religion or creed but a matter for all Indians to come together for. This is something for which I admire the Americans, no matter how much they might dislike each other or not get along, when it calls for it, they will come together as a country like no other.

There is an old Arabic saying that goes, “No matter how dark the night, the dawn will always break.” This has been so meaningful because in many ways it so simply and yet so poignantly explains life itself – there is always something different, something scary, challenging and even at times painful, but with hope and faith to keep us going, people find a way to the other side of every challenge.

For generations the stories we have passed down from word of mouth to books to TV and movie’s have exemplified hardship and overcoming them; these are the stories that people across demographics connect with and that represent the best that humanity and human nature have to offer.

Even in real life there are so many examples of this historically, in fact we don’t even need to go very far back: the Tsunami in the southern Asian region, Hurricane Katrina, the riots in Gujarat, September 11th in New York, the genocide in Darfur and so many more. In each one of these incidents the thing in this writers view that stands out is not the devastation or loss, its the reaction of the people who give of themselves to donate everything from money to food to clothing and so much more and the aid workers who leave home and family to travel to an alien country across the planet to help people who they ostensibly owe nothing and may never see again, risking their own lives in the process. This is humanity at its brightest, this is what we all somewhere deep down strive toward.

But more and more recently it seems that we are losing something. There were always two sides, the people that wanted peace and would technically be the “meek” to which the Bible refers, on the other side you have the people who either for greed, power, blind and rabid faith, intolerance and fear or any number of reasons want to solve all problems by decimating that which is not agreeable.

Somehow we have always lived in a balance and there are good times and bad times. In its own way the balance itself was like nature and life. No more.

For anyone who follows news and current events, both locally and internationally, we have made so much progress and grown so much in nearly every way possible in leaps and bounds. The problem is though that for all the growth and progress, socially we are regressing and devolving and its not getting any better.

Intolerance, fear, scaremongering and hatred are becoming more and more prevalent. War is becoming a way of life and apathy and ignorance are a norm. There was a line of dialogue that said, “Sometimes I wonder if God will ever forgive us for what we have done to one another. And then I realise, that God has left this place a long time ago…” Call it what you will, but looking at our world today can you say this is an exaggeration?

What kind of world are we living in where every news channel or newspaper is filled to the brim with nothing but murder, death, rape, abuse, terror, war, fraud, embezzlement and a whole load of other topics, all in the same vein. Is there not something wrong with the world we have created where we are for the first time in history truly ‘global’ and connected to almost anyone, anywhere on the planet at almost any given time, and yet the only positive big news in this writers view in the last few days has been that the protesters in Thailand have made a concerted effort to solve their problems by peaceful but effective demonstrations to ensure they are heard and the government has chosen to hold back military and maybe hopefully resolve this in a decent, civilised manner.

As I sit here writing this out with the news on TV cycling through channels near me, I see images that break my heart, images that do nothing but prove right the above allegations.

In fact, the other major factor that they highlight is something very dear to me, something that I have found astounding that it has not been realised by others. We have images being flashed everywhere of the terrorists who have thoughtlessly taken so many lives and caused all this madness to grow – and likely destabilised a place that was a political hotbox anyway and now may explode with global repercussions from a religious/communal point of view – and the thing about these monsters that stands out is their appearance.

We have all heard stories, jokes and any number of tales of stereotyping, especially in the wake of the NYC attacks and the US war on terror, the profiling, the “random checks”, the suspicion thrown at anyone with a ‘Muslim’ looking beard or dress and many such small details. Now there is pictorial proof of something that this writer has been arguing for years, that if I was a terrorist, the one thing I would not do is stand out. The images of the attackers in Mumbai show youths not that different in appearance from the average youth of the sub-continent, from the clothes to the hair to the shoulder bags and all. But of course, the security guard at the airport in the US or Europe will see a South Asian man in a turban or looking ‘Muslim’ and be instantly suspicious. I don’t blame them, be clear, but instant prejudice is a flaw, one that leaves us open to attacks like the one we are suffering as I type. Maybe it is our perceptions that need to change a little, and perhaps we need to pay closer attention to the question of what world it is we are leaving for future generations? This is very important because the way things are going, if the continue on this track, do you imagine the near future to be a place you would want to live?

In the end I guess it is just a question of ‘Where do we go from here?’

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Inkpot says:

    >Very well written, Dude. I agree with a lot of what you say. What is happening in Mumbai at the moment is shocking. As you say, the terriorists did not stand out, would blend into a crowd and got passed security no problem. Whenever I travel and have to go through the long security protocols and searches, I always think – who is this helping? I don’t think it is stopping terriorists. I can think of one hundred ways of harming someone with the things allowed on a plane if I really wanted to. As regards what you say about the news. It brings to mind the Lord of the Rings and the Palantir that Denethor looked into. Yes, there are horrible things happening in the world, no doubt about it. However, the media is not unbiased. It deliberately shows the bad, picking and chosing what stories to show and how to show them so that it can influence us in the way it wants us to think. We think that these things are new, but are they? Or are we just seeing more of them because we have the best and quickest communication systems?I hope the Indian politicians don’t use the current attacks to provoke further division. Remember, though, do not despair and give up hope. We all make a difference. It is a cliche, but no man is an island. We all make a difference, and perhaps the balance has swung in the favour of those who seek to destroy, but it us up to us to swing it back into the side of the light.

  2. SIM says:

    >It has only just begun. There is nowhere to go from here but to a situation that will become even more grimy, scary and baffling. Cos’ now the counter-attacks will start.No amount of words, condolences and measures will bring back those who are lost or wipe the slate clean. Let’s all just pray for calm atleast and not let this be forgotten.

  3. The Dude says:

    >@inkpoti know what you mean, i drive around and look at everything and it amazes me the damage i could pull of without even any serious effort simply because we take so much for granted these days. youre right about the media being unbiased, its one reason I actually watch very little tv news except in emergency and read very, very selective news magazines – the papers have become totally biased one way or the other now – and its sad that sensationalism and money are the order of the day for them all, not truth and honour, things that used to make me admire writers/journalists over all else. thanks for the kind words, i’ll try not to get too down about all this, after all someones gotta still be aware and have hope.. (and not live in a bubble of faith and imaginary security)I dont know if you can see it in the news there but some of them are already trying to use this to push for the elections that are coming soon. Im thankful that no one is inciting religious or communal sentiments yet, thats some progress, but its still a cheap and shitty thing to do. interesting reference from LotR btw, made me smile a tad. Thanks.@SIMyeah.. I often wonder “how did it all come to this?” but cant understand it.. As you say, I think most of us are just hoping and praying that some ass-clown with an agenda doesn’t cause this to flare up any further and hope that cooler heads prevail. a knee-jerk reaction at this point (like people saying its pakistans fault, attack!) would be as disastrous if not more. Nothing will change whats happened or bring the lost back, but whats important is that we for once in our miserable, petty, stupid lives actually LEARN from something and dont do it over and over.. heres hoping.. cheers..

  4. The Gunner says:

    >I don’t mean to be an asshole, but I am SO sick of reading bullshit like this all over the f~ing internet.Apparently every two-bit moron and imbecile in the world has an opinion on this; and the BEAUTIFUL internet has given all of these idiots a credible platform from which they can shout their shite out at people. I’m NOT saying you are one of them, and I agree that you make a couple of very good points in there. But what nobody realizes is that NOTHING HAS CHANGED.You add some phrases to the article stating that we as a society have devolved in terms of behavior and social symbiosis. IT WAS ALWAYS LIKE THIS. There has NEVER been a time, since the existence of man, where extreme violence of one sort or the other has not been a part of day-to-day society.In the beginning we killed each other and ate their flesh; then we gradated from being cannibals to farming for food; and we started killing each other for land. Society formed and languages came, and we started killing each other for beliefs. Civilization came and credible rules were established; and we started killing each other for expansion of territory. Lands and countries were settled upon, and we started killing people with accusations of witchcrafts and devilry. And even when that was over, people started trading in slaves and human trafficking; a practice which, sadly enough, continues to this very day. And now that era is over; people kill in the name of oil and religion. What the FUCK is wrong with you that you can’t see this?

  5. The Gunner says:

    >Did it again…not used to commenting on blogs -Like I said, I’m not saying we should simply roll over and let this take us down, but what pisses me off the most is people saying this attack means that we as a country are divided and stuff like that. You cite the Americans as an example; I have friends in the U.S; one of whom was beaten up by a gang up by a gang of street kids JUST BECAUSE HE WAS AN INDIAN. You have any idea as to the amount of persecution and suffering muslims are subjected to there nowadays? People talk about other countries and say ‘They’re like this’ and ‘that place is like that’ when the truth is, NO PLACE, NO COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER. Like any country, there will be good things and there will be bad things. Life isn’t fair, unless maybe you’re Bill Gates.The only concern I have about the attacks is the major security breach that it was; it took place so close to the Gateway, which is inexcusable. And taking two days to rescue the hostages is unpardonable. Instead of seeing THIS picture, everyone seems to be obsessed with trashing the politicians and the diversities of India and some idiots are even suggesting that we just attack Pakistan and get this over with. THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS. You know it and I know it.

  6. The Dude says:

    >@the gunnerits interesting to have dissenting voices so believe me when I say Im actually happy to hear your views. for starters, I do agree that pretty much all places are in many ways the same and each has serious advantages and serious drawbacks. I even agree with you completely that it has pretty much never been utopian at any point. Just so we’re clear, I dont believe in utopias. Never have. If you followed my blog early on you would have gotten most of this and in fact wouldnt be making a lot of the statements that you have ranted here. Perfection, love, peace, equality, these are all things that I dont believe we have ever truly had and are unlikely to attain anytime soon. My only point (and this is something that I repeat over and over again and yet people skip it and start arguing other shite) is that there is progress, philosophy, science, civil activism, legal systems, education, growing awareness and open-ness and yet people at the end of the day – particularly those in any, and i mean ANY, power – give in to baseness and their greed, avarice and malice and lose regard for humanity. I see that you are Indian and I think a large part of what you’re saying here may be because what happened bothers you, but bear in mind we each have our own ways of coping. I am a cynical person in that I take nothing at face value including people, it really limits people I am close to but keeps me honest. At the same time I am at heart a bit of a humanist and as such am not religious and dont imagine grand plans or someone watching over me. In this I believe Mark Twain was right as he said that “god” has given us the world, he doesnt owe us anything, and I think thats fair, dont you? Bottom line, shit happens.. intelligent beings that have evolved and chosen to learn and grow should do in life what we try to apply in everything else, what we try to teach a child sticking his finger in a socket – if it hurts once, DONT DO IT AGAIN! and yet we behave the same way over and over and over and over… its annoying now, I dont even feel bad, especially for the people who believe one life is worth more or less than another.Moving on… now again I agree that attacking Pakistan would serve no purpose, in fact Im dead certain it would then cement the comparison between this event and 9/11 since it would be as much a wag the dog as Bush’s war on Afghanistan. I do blame Indias Intelligence community, I also dont think its unfair to blame politicians, especially since I have been keeping an eye open and ear to the ground and in my understanding at the outset of this we were offered help by the FBI and Mossad and some people in the wondrous government turned them down (cant believe they turned down the guys that pulled off ’90 minutes at Entebbe’!)…and youre talking about discrimination? you want to talk about muslims? some of my closest family friends are muslim in origin, I have family in kashmir and had my home burned down and Ive seen many people die. dude, seriously, go into my archives, ive written about this from my own experience and from that of people im close to, i get it, its a bitch. But like you said, theres good things and bad things about every place. theres the american who would stomp an old man just cos he got a turban on and theres the american who will risk himself to stand on the street and protest people doing that shit. I dont have any special love for americans, but more often than not, they live in a society that has a more honest dynamic in many ways.. there are lots of MORONS! in the US, specifically in southern, central and mid-western parts of the country, the so called ‘hick’ and bible belt areas. but this is an argument for another time and place, it is out of synch with what my post was about anyhow. And before you become a smart/dumb ass about it again, life is never fair, we know.. so whatre you gonna do? get off your ass and try and do something? even write a stupid blog post about how you think it should be? or are going to sit like a whiny girl and cry about “its all useless” and rag on anyone who tries to have hope? trust me, if youre the latter then count yourself among the people who historically did nothing to stop the work of evil men and that in my view is as bad as what the monsters do. If I think Im a good person and lose everything keeping to that belief, at least I tried, at least I thought it might get better – if not for me then maybe my kids and future generations. Bitching gets nobody anywhere and only makes people unhappier. Pick a side, any side, I dont care, become a hateful fundie for all I care but be a man and pick a side.

  7. The Gunner says:

    >And before you become a smart/dumb ass about it again, life is never fair, we know.. so whatre you gonna do? get off your ass and try and do something? even write a stupid blog post about how you think it should be?or are going to sit like a whiny girl and cry about “its all useless” and rag on anyone who tries to have hope?trust me, if youre the latter then count yourself among the people who historically did nothing to stop the work of evil men and that in my view is as bad as what the monsters do. If I think Im a good person and lose everything keeping to that belief, at least I tried, at least I thought it might get better – if not for me then maybe my kids and future generations.If THAT’S what you got from my post, you need to read it again – VERY CAREFULLY, preferably with your eyes OPEN this time. I SPECIFICALLY said I’m NOT saying we should roll over and just take it lying down, TWICE. You don’t know me, so let me say this once – I’m not the kind of person who takes ANYTHING lying down.What pissed me off is that NOT that you want to do something – by all means, go ahead, I’ll HELP – but that you’re just POINTING FINGERS. At the government, the country, whatever, instead of ACTUALLY doing anything about it. We’ve got dozens of attention-seeking assholes getting on TV and saying the same things; just BLAMING people left and right, just as you did. You wanna do something? THEN LEARN TO STOP TALKING FIRST.Bitching gets nobody anywhere and only makes people unhappier. Pick a side, any side, I dont care, become a hateful fundie for all I care but be a man and pick a side.Coming from a guy who just bitched on for the bitchiest post I have seen in any blog ever, I’d say you just backfired on yourself.

  8. The Dude says:

    >ok.. this is just sad.. you claim i didnt read your post CAREFULLY and with eyes OPEN and you said TWICE that “we should not roll over” and blah, blah, blah.. and then you accuse me of bitching.. you do realise that in all FOUR posts you made with lots of CAPITALISED WORDS!! you did nothing but whine about how life is shit, how its always been shit and though youre not saying we should ‘roll over’, you have no advice, suggestions, wisdom or even cheap mechanical advice to give. You say you got pissed that im pointing fingers? why shouldnt I? At no point did I say anything about lynching government, taking it out, in fact though I state that there are those that were more or less at fault, theres blame enough to go around and almost all well deserved.. AND YOU KEEP HARPING ON ABOUT HELPING! tell me what you want? and just so I know, why does what i posted bother you? Tell you what, go back and: “If THAT’S what you got from my post, you need to read it again – VERY CAREFULLY, preferably with your eyes OPEN this time.”except for about one para at the START of my post I dont blame anyone specifically and the rest is observation and my own views (which is CLEARLY INDICATED by repeating that it is in fact the view OF THE WRITER!)…And finally.. You come here and tell me Im bitching but tbh, the only bitching ANYWHERE here has been by you.. if you think my post is the “bitchiest post I have seen in any blog ever” then you dont read much do you? ever watched a newscast? read a paper? read a dictionary? Ill do this slowly.. do-you-under-stand-the-differ-ence-between-sarcasm-and-bitching?You dont even have a blog where you can air your OWN views, you havent posted over a year! It must be nice to anonymously be a prat online! :)Im happy for you Gunner, really, but unless you have anything of value to put out there, just let it go.. To everyone else, I would like to apologise again for this tirade filled exchange that ended up serving no purpose.. Cheers..

  9. nishaa says:

    >Nicely written dude…a bunch of terrorists leisurely get off a speed-boat and stroll into a beloved city like one would stroll into a park and gun down hundreds of people randomly without a care.. they did it with such unbelievable ease that it seemed like they were playing some twisted,violent computer game..where do we go from here?..well,wherever we go from here we definitely cannot allow them to stroll in so easily and wreak such havoc…never again..we cannot be caught napping,not after buckets and buckets of blood has been splashed on our collective faces…high time we woke up.

  10. The Dude says:

    >@nishaawell said. the only question remaining is “wake up and do what?”

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