Reign of Terror
Scores were killed today in Mumbai/ Bombay (see CNN headline)... I haven't heard from Chaavi, and it's worrying me. At the end of the mass of chaos, nearly 200 dead... it is senseless. The officials say the style is unlike any other terrorist attack before, but India is no stranger to violence of this magnitude.
Terrorism, it seems, has infiltrated our consciousness. Has it always been there? Have we just been blind to it until it reached our soil? And more importantly, how do you change the world to end it?
I hear (wo)men of peace speak of compassion and altruism being the hallmark of humanity... that each of us is ultimately good at the core. When I dared to open my heart, I see it... I believe goodness to be the truth... but I often question if this truth is a manifestation of reality in a society sheltered by civility. Would we all degrade to the lowest common denominator of hatred and fear if the world is to run amuck? I want to believe there is not only light in the world, but that it triumphs over darkness... in the face of terrorism, I feel naive to even entertain that belief. I know there is good in the world... but sometimes... sometimes it's just so hard to hold on to hope when people commit such senseless violence.
How do you fight terrorism? With education? With patience and compassion? At what point do you give up on love and peace to bear arms? And yet, the more I look at our common history, the more it seems war merely begets more war... more violence. How do we forget, forgive, find answers... how do we learn from ourselves, our past and end the reign of extremism?
In a recent address in Boston, Noam Chomsky noted that "changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below. And the answer to what’s next depends on people like you." Although Chomsky was speaking in context of people hinging their hopes on Obama bringing change (and Obama's cabinet members being the furthest thing from change), the central thesis is applicable to our society as a whole... back to the idea that each of us must be the change we wish to see in the world.
p.s. for those of you trying to understand (as I do) why terrorists targets Mumbai, this poetically written article in the New York Times titled, What They Hate About Mumbai, attempts to summarize and suggests how we might help.