Thought Archive

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Of Violence and Crime

Some time ago, for all posterity to see, we observed a mask of death being pulled over the eyes of a former dictator as life drains from him, being taunted, as he was hung by the neck. Iraq currently is mired in violence so much that the violence became something expected and desired, in fact as desired that the macabre spectacle was wathed by everyone. Today, however, the death of 170 people, tragically blown up to pieces in the Shia part of Baghdad barely became the news, concealed behind a “proper”, American tragedy .

I cannot imagine how it is to live with the violence at this scale, but I can understand that what is most intrinsic about violence – hatred – a feeling so strong that it overhelmes senses and moves you in the direction of action. With time, the hatred gives way to ruthless robotic determination.

Killings on American university campus were on the face of it born from different grievance in different circumstances. However I do see the parallels between ruthless and almost emotionless drive of a terrorist and a loner gunman who “spoke in classroom today “(uniquely American phenomenon of bullied kid with access to a gun). I also see the parallel between them all and detached way the violence now is being portrayed.

No detail is spared, no stone is unturned discussing actions of vain and disturbed killer somewhere in Virginia, whereas killings sprees of Iraq are reported as a gruesome statistic. Emaciated children of Darfur stare at us from the screens, whereas the poor of India are denied that right. Which conflict attracts more attention and how to manage this attention.

Violence is routine and distant now as if we were all pilots on Enola Gay pushing the red button over the skies of Hiroshima. I am guilty as everyone else, of not wanting violence to be done to me, but waiting for the violence to occur elsewhere so that I can read about it in the news – I am also guilty of pushing that red button.

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