In memoriam: of love, of understanding and good taste

22 Nov

Israel, Gaza, Kasab and the front page of today’s Telegraph unleashed a creature in my head that has spent today running around a locked and windowless room wordlessly asking ‘why’.

The question is aimed less at the act of bombing the daylights out of a persecuted people in Gaza, at India’s enthusiasm for the death penalty or even at Kasab’s actual hanging. I’m not surprised by the assault, given Israel’s history in the region; I’m not surprised by India’s pro-capital punishment stand because it is so old and I’m not surprised that Kasab was hanged because he was sentenced a long time ago. It doesn’t matter that I strongly  disagree with Israel’s stance on Palestine, with India’s on capital punishment and with Kasab’s secret hanging.

The creature in my head is unhinged by how a gay, orthodox Jewish, Israeli blogger who is an adoptive parent to many children, whose writing I have come to admire for its tolerance and wisdom, gets a pro-Israel sticker on his blog and has not one word of pain and grief for any of the 140 Palestinian women, men and children dead in one week. He only weeps for the terror of Israeli children, and for the six Israeli dead. I try to understand and I can’t. Perhaps because he is parent to reservists who had been called up? We are all human, and none of us are perfect. 

Perhaps that is why the Telegraph (and possibly other newspapers too, in this mad-race for market share through eye-ball grabbing imagery and words) descended to blowing up the dead Kasab’s face and splashing it on the front page. Perhaps because it’s owners and editors are only human, they saw fit to devote half the newspaper to images and words of celebration of this death. There was even an image of two BJP supporters, dressed in festive sarees, linking hands and doing the twirly-whirly dance thing. There was a little girl smiling. I wonder if this is the same little girl who so confidently and happily demanded Kasab’s hanging a few years ago. 

What have we come to when we celebrate with glee the taking of a life? When we start baying for blood, not secretly, but on national dailies? 

I lack the language to comprehend the world at most times, and then I think I have a small measure of it, only for it to be completely unravelled again.

2 Responses to “In memoriam: of love, of understanding and good taste”

  1. countingducks November 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    I read this with great interest. I hare your view of the recent gaza/ Israeli schirmish. The victim of yesteryear has become the bully I fear. sadness reigns. Your tolerance and understanding are clear in this piece, and are a credit to you

    • astudentinkolkata November 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. The cycle of victim becoming perpetrator is very sad indeed. Maybe, deep down, we are all vulnerable to it. You are kind to have read tolerance and understanding in my words: I am daily aware of how much I need to expand both these qualities in myself. I so enjoyed your post because it gave me a new understanding of what I’m striving for, particularly these lines-

      ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we were allowed more chances to express our foibles in places where tolerance took precedence over judgement.’


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