Saturday, 6 December, 2008


I choose to write this today, a week into the aftermath of series of horrendous events in Mumbai that claimed hundreds of lives and claimed the sanity of millions, nationwide and worldwide. Why have I written this today? That is a point I will return to shortly.

We are propelled by fear and anger, but this is a fear and anger that I cannot describe in words because it is mingled with an outrage against an injustice- that is not a part of lives otherwise. We all experience pain and loss; discrimination and condemnation; but the prolonged terror attack against our friends, families, people from our communities and if nothing else that we witnessed in Mumbai (mostly on live television), watching the people of our nation suffer- that leaves a mark on us. It rouses us from our otherwise mechanical mindsets. But that’s another problem, even for me, a technical error, a virus; they are quarantined, repaired or forgotten about.

The attacks saw worldwide condemnation. International governments were roused, at least visible in the words they offered.

Many are quick to condemn the candle walks and marches and symbolic displays of solidarity, they are usually people who have been on a candle march. Many of us have heated debates and discussions on the merits and manipulations of the situation, but how many of us carry our convictions even outside the room we challenge others. Not even in those rooms do our lingering voices echo our sincerity.

That is why I have chosen today, because today I am moved to speak. But, how long will these words linger? When will I be moved to say something again and when will I translate these words into something of durable substance? What will I do?

We need to open our eyes to the violence that is taking place worldwide, to the violence in our cities and the acts and crimes of unmentionable injustice in our villages and everywhere in our country, in Kashmir and in Orissa. We face injustices of every kind every single day and everywhere we go. It comes down to looking past the severity of how unfair one situation is in comparison with another, and about the severity of the action we intend to take. We constantly read and hear that the 20th century and the 21st century are possibly the safest times to have lived in, when considering wars, famines and disease. But looking just at 2008, especially as it draws to a rather sober close, it makes one critically look at that statement. The repercussions of climate change, economic recession, mounting poverty, current and impending wars and conflicts, not so sporadic acts of terror and violence- to name a few of our contemporary worldwide problems, to name a few of our intensely localized problems.

So many of us are moved to speak, but what are we going to do?

- Faith Gonsalves.

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