Indian author Chetan Bhagat, who’s famously defended Israel’s genocide in Gaza, may only be one such small spoke in this well oiled systemic manner in which butchery is defended, rather made to look classy.
ANURADHA BHASIN JAMWAL
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] frightening thought that the controversial, rather obnoxiously, insensitive tweet by Chetan Bhagat about the Gaza story churns is that how many of us are going to be consumed across the world in actions that can be legitimized in the name of justice or unavoidable collateral damage. Another ugly fact that it throws up is about general perceptions of what and who falls within the paradigm of terror and terrorism – not those who indulge in reckless violence, not even non state actors who pick up guns for a cause but essentially an entire community who must be punished for the folly of a few.
When the collective bombing of 200 innocent people including children is not quite seen as an act of brutality but one of fighting terror, not of blood thirsting vindictiveness but one of defense, there is reason to believe that butchery would get a legitimacy with the crude definition of ‘collateral damage’ just as it is considered auspicious a ritual to sacrifice innocents in some barbaric cultures.
The Gaza genocide has only been enveloped in the sophistry of words to make it sound cultured and in keeping with the modern temperament of the civilization. When celebrated authors with high best selling ratings (akin to the television channels’ hyped TRP ratings) endorse such views, it becomes easier for hawks to increase the tempo of such arguments in the public domain.
Of course, Bhagat earned a fair number of brickbats on the social networking sites for his tweets but he also found a decent number of defenders, those who believe that terrorism is practiced by just one community and also that the entire community is a terrorist, those who believe that vindictive policy of not an eye for an eye but ten eyes for one is the new mantra of justice.
We are not only living in extremely dangerous times, we are also living in an era that is so plain ugly where we not only get glimpses of Nero’s infamous dinner parties (where the lesser mortals were picked up and thrown to the flames to titillate pleasure) but also where the people in power and the noveau-intelligentsia can use the imagery of words to deny its ugliness.
Chetan Bhagat may only be one such small spoke in this well oiled systemic manner in which butchery is defended, rather made to look classy. Needless to forget, the Indian government’s deliberate silence on such macabre of deaths in Gaza, where an unrepentant Israel state is now going to follow its air strikes with incessant ground action, only because such muteness seeks to strengthen the new-found India-Israel defense ties. Officially, there has been no word of sympathy. And this criminal silence is shared by many other parts of the world.
The Modi government’s deliberate silence on such macabre of deaths in Gaza, where an unrepentant Israel state is now going to follow its air strikes with incessant ground action, only because such muteness seeks to strengthen the new-found India-Israel defense ties
Such mindsets that foster a belief that brutality and collective punishment is justified in the name of terrorism is what pushes the world to a situation where phenomena like Al Qaeda or Taliban flourish and ISIS find roots. Here at home, the recent years of repressive politics and brutality of militarization punctuates the uneasy calm with a new found re-glamorization of the gun and the ‘mujahid’.
The picture may not be as alarming as the scenario in many other parts of the world but yet scary enough and in a similar strain. In nature and DNA, all these trends may be very different from one another but a common thread binding them together is that these trends emerge in a culture of hatred and enmity and perpetuate even more hatred and war by creating a world where more and more youth from the Muslim world get pushed into picking up the gun and glamorizing a war that emulates the vindictive quality of the actions the ‘enemies’.
It is a vicious cycle from which there seems no escape, in which petty politics determines the course and everybody else falls in the trap, playing their bit roles as perpetrators and victims, the images and roles interchanged according to situations and perceptions, where terrorism and injustice is not determined and understood by the quantum of brutality but in binaries of us and them. Justice and defense are the new names of tyranny, brutality and revenge.
Who is responsible for this situation? At a glance, everybody – the ruthless states and the non state actors thirsting for blood; and everybody else caught in the quagmire. But a deeper analysis may reveal that enlightened and empowered beings from a liberal and democratic world order could and should be playing a more responsible role.
Unfortunately, they are the ones who exacerbate the process; some with their pro-active military engagements where democratic actions could be more suited strategies; rest with their distortions or silence. Chetan Bhagat is not the only one to worry about.