An Ugly Grip on the Splendid Earth
Last week as I tuned to BBC, the twin suicide bombings targeting Moscow Metro was splashing all over the television screen. I’m sure people around the world would have sat glued to their television sets as these images were repeatedly aired and news papers carried new of this horrific incident. For me, emotions of all genre came rushing forth to my head. Mostly it was grief and anger. Grief, because innocent people lost their lives. Anger, because the perpetrators do not value human life. As I was experiencing all these emotions, I realized that one of my friends was in Moscow. I was worried for her well-being. I was glad to learn of her safety when I contacted her. She said she was on another metro line when this happened.
I’m sure all of you would agree that this is not the first time you would have heard of a terrorist attack. Terrorists have targeted other major cities in the past. But what is baffling is the regularity in which this is happening. Bombs are going off everywhere almost everyday.
Today we live in a world where we are of the notion that such things happen only in the Middle-east, the Arab countries, Afghanistan or Iraq. How wrong we are! Yes, it can be said that the roots of terrorism arises from these parts of the world, but the truth is it has spread its wings and it has gripped the entire world and it is smothering everyone with fear.
When I’m travelling in Europe, mostly in Czech Republic, my friends always want to know about the world I come from. Is India a safe place to live in? Now, how do I answer this question? How can I convince them that it is a safe place?
When I tell my friends about my desire to volunteer in Africa, immediately I’m asked, “Why do you want to go there? Isn’t it a dangerous place?” When I express the same desire about me wanting to go to South America, I’m asked the same question, “Why do you want to go there? Isn’t it a dangerous place?” Sometimes these questions bother me. How can my friends be so ignorant or even arrogant? But the truth is I understand why my friends ask these questions. They have not experienced anything like this. They largely live in a peaceful country. But they are overfed with news about dangers of the Middle-east or Africa. But today we need to ask ourselves “Are these ‘safe countries’ really safe?”
The United States is, today, the most vulnerable country in the world, being a target for almost all terrorist networks in the world. The London underground bombings, the Madrid bombings and now the twin suicide attacks in Moscow indicate that no place is safe.
Terrorism has gripped this beautiful world and it’s choking everyone with fear and death, mistrust and hatred.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Islamic fundamentalism came under fire from all quarters. Every muslim was seen as a terrorist leading to the famous but clichéd term “All muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims”. This was unfair and I thought it was arrogance in the part of western society. I come from a country where 180 million people are muslims and I can vouch with my whole heart that not all muslims are not terrorists. They are like you and me struggling against the challenges of life.
My attitude changed one day when I watched with horror when news channels all across India showed live coverage of the terrorist attack in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai). The city was under siege. Ten terrorists had come on small boats by sea from Pakistan and had landed in Bombay with sophisticated weapons. Their target was mostly foreign tourist in India’s two most luxurious hotels, a Jewish centre, a famous pub, and the main train station. Terrorist went on spraying bullets like they were distributing candy at a Christmas party. Blood and bodies everywhere. People were held hostage at one of the heritage hotels. After a 60 hour long gun battle, the National Security Guards were able to kill nine terrorist and capture one alive. The image of India was tarnished around the world. Foreign embassies in India started giving travel advisory, meaning India is not a safe place to visit.
I was angry. I wanted India to go to war with Pakistan immediately. When I came to my senses I realized how quickly opinions can change. Here I’m, a lover of peace, and now I want to go to war. This is a dangerous thought. This can lead to hatred among nations, among people and culture.
Terrorism is a global virus. It is the responsibility of the global community to find a vaccine for this menace and destroy its roots. Destroy it with love and understanding not with guns. Violence only leads to more violence. We are humans. What separates us from animals is our ability for rational thinking. Why can’t we be rational? We have one short life. Let us love and live together in harmony.
Peace to all.
Další příspvěky od John Alfred
- India is People - March 26th, 2010