Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Flux !

Somehow, us Indians are immune to the violence, atrocities and bombings that seem to be on the rise all over the world. Is it apathy ? I mean, I have grown up reading news articles about bombs going off in Kashmir, or people dying in Assam, or horrific train/bus accidents in various parts of the country...such news would filter through (be it the newspapers, television, magazines) almost everyday, and I got used to reading the headlines and skipping over the particulars...hey, how much different can it be, eh ? I see similar attitudes among not just my friends and peers, but also among the previous generation...the only people who used to really notice and "feel" sorrow for the victims, etc, were the elderly...but was it more because they felt the world changing so rapidly that they couldn't recognise any of the their familiar culture/surroundings/safety, etc. ? But that's another topic entirely.

When 9/11 happened...we were all horrified at the monumental waste - especially of human life...similarly when we hear of the Madrid Bombings or the subway blasts in London, we are shocked to hear of the audacity of the terrorists; again, human lives lost and the personal courage of the survivors...ok, we read the stories and slowly shake our heads...but then again, we're inured against such acts and then move on...perhaps it may come up as a hot topic of discussion in a group and then we all feel happy that we've expressed our anger and disgust at the acts...also we're so well-informed that we know subtle nuances of each tragedy, which we use in a game of one-upmanship within a group of people...

What about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in one of the London subways ? The London police have provided an explanation and perhaps even a terse apology...but have not declined from accepting that such incidents won't happen again. I agree that the security forces of any country would be on tenterhooks when having to face large-scale trauma...there's a local parallel to it as well. Are these actions justified ? I mean, is this the state of affairs that will prevail ? In the excuse of tracking down "terrorists", have security forces been pushed over the edge and been made trigger-happy ? And are we supposed to "understand" it that it was a necessary "show of force" ?

What I fail to understand, is of course the fact that why did FIVE bullets have to emptied into the fallen Menezes ? Since the London cops had caught up with him already, why not just restrain him ? Look at the Israeli forces - they have had to live with suicide bombers and terrorists for a long time now - yet they don't just shoot the first "suspicious" person that happens by ! And what is worse, is that security forces are using fear as an excuse for heinous acts ! I do believe that these security forces should be given any and all powers necessary to tackle insurgents/terrorists, etc. But there must be certain lines that are drawn - killing children and taking pot-shots are innocent civilians is going too far !

Are we willing to let the governments and the police take these "extra steps" and then be at risk from the very people who are supposed to be protecting us ? So, I am safe from terrorists blowing me up in the city, but not safe from the police in the transportation network I take for granted and depend on for my livelihood ? Or the kids in my community cannot venture out of their house for some unadulterated fun without being gunned down by the military ? And the excuse proferred is that these are "necessary measures" or "collateral damage" in the war against extremists ! Maybe we need to reconsider the "war" that is waging and the costs that are being inflicted on us as a result !

No comments: