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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thought for the Day

Thanks Flemming !

          Humans in Universe.

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."

-- Albert Einstein

4:21:56 AM    comment []  trackback []

No shared space no collaboration

"It takes a shared space to create shared understanding. If there's no shared space, there's no collaboration. Period." 

                                                               - Michael Schrage

4:01:04 AM    comment []  trackback []

Terrorists, victims and humans

This is not my usual nature of posts - i stay away from rambles with political leanings - but i couldn't resist this one as i am sleepless in Delhi, hoping to get a flight back to Mumbai tomorrow.  I've also consciously stayed away from commenting on blogs that discuss political views, even those from Indians.  Not because i am not interested, or because i don't have strong and often radical views, or because i don't care - its because i read enough about it all around me in newspapers and magazines and it would require a full separate blog to engage in conversations around it, for which i have little time. 

But this post at Shanthi's blog, with reference to the murder of Margaret Hassan really upset me and got me thinking .... 

I quote : ""And Arundhati Roy weeped...

Öfor the murderers of Ms. Hassan who she thinks we should joinÖ Someone gave this bitch a ìPeace Prizeî? Bah! I swear I will delete and ban every commenter who tells me how these scum passing for humans are really brave ìfeedom fightersî fighting the ìoccupationî. They have no regard for humanity - how do they care if their country is occupied or free? It is I say! "

There is a long debate on at her post - 92 comments till date ! While i, in no way condone what the insurgents have done, i was surprised at the venom for Arundhati Roy i saw there.  I jumped in late with these thoughts : 

Its interesting to see how there seems to be a blurring here of who the aggressor is and who the victim. And who is to blame - the perpetrators of atrocities resulting from war or the initiators of the war itself ? And finally who is a terrorist or an enablor of terrorists ? Bush as Arundhati Roy says ... or Arundhati Roy as Shanthi suggests ? 

I am curious like some of the other commenters at her post about several issues.  I asked some questions - where did you get the impression that Arundhati Roy supported the killers of Margaret Hassan ? And what in your perception makes her a terrorist-enabler ? Is that just a counter-argument to her calling Bush a terrorist at some point in time? And more basic - am terribly curious to know why you hate her so ? What harm is she doing ? And at a broader level, is there a subliminal link between those that hate her and those that are pro-Bush (never mind for now about pro-BJP) ? 

I digress here, but in comparison, it must be said that many Indians i know feel Bush is a terrorist - and many others around the world do too.   That Bush should be tried in a world court for his atrocities.  I wonder what or who gave him the right to become the watchdog for the world ? To decide for the people of Iraq that war is better than Saddam ? Or that Iraq will be better without him ? Or the audacity to wage war per se ? No guerilla attack like so-called terrorists wage - but blatant massacre nonetheless, a more despicable form of in-your-face terrorism. Is there justification for the world's largest super-power world going on a witchhunt in the middle-east ?  Cleansing again ?  


And if the people of Iraq resist this invasion are they terrorists ? Or are they victims who are resisting terrorist attacks ? And what is wrong in Arundhati Roy saying - "One wasn't urging them to join the army, but to become the resistance, to become part of what ought to be non-violent resistance against a very violent occupation," she said, adding that the term resistance needed to be redefined. "We can't assume that resistance means terrorism because that would be playing right into the hands of the occupation," she said"

So what is the definition of a terrorist today ? Has it been repositioned, redefined, relaunched (to use marketing terms) in a new avatar ?  Were Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre terrorists because they were a part of the French Resistance in WW2 ?

Are some humans more so than others ?  Who decides ?

There are no easy answers i'm sure - just questions and some pain that we're probably missing the woods for the trees. As an Indian i am told "shut up Dina - Bush is good for you - he is pro-India, he is good for our business, he's doing a great job waging war on a religious community that a lot of Indians want wiped off the face of the earth". 

But i am not just an Indian, i am a citizen of the world today and i cannot close my eyes to whats happening on the global stage.

Maybe weíre all wearing our blinkers and biases and are unable to see the other side of the picture ?

Or is this all part of  a changing world order where periods of transition will always be chaotic ? 

Perhaps only time will tell who wins and who loses in this whole sordid affair.

I don't really know. 

My hope is that we don't lose our dignity and humanity in the process.  And don't forget that we are all human beings, no matter where we come from, what our colour or religion is.

3:40:27 AM    comment []  trackback []