Monday, 21 March 2011


I am too shocked and appalled by the events this world has seen for the past week or two to talk about myself.

If the Egyptian uprising and eventual overturning of the dictator-esque government was a victory for the so-called human spirit, the neighbouring Libyan leader Gaddafi/Quaddaffi (someone do something about this spelling madness! argh) going voodoo on his own people is stuff straight out of hollywood movies.

 * I don't claim to know much about politics, mainly because I don't. It's a realistic warning rather than modesty. Please do correct me if I'm being wrong anywhere, factually or logically, I'd be glad to learn*

When does it become ok for someone who's been tolerated by a society for a good part of a century to go ballistic and issue statements like "you'll be shown no mercy"? Paint me psychotic, but when I read a bit of Gaddafi's speech to the UN last year, I was pleased. I felt that Gaddafi was playing out the typical David vs Goliath sequence when he decided to speak up against western hypocrisy. This hitherto unheard of leader from a comparatively small country was voicing out the concerns of a repressed society in possibly the world's biggest political stage. Little did I know that this madcap was the reason his society was repressed and that his three hour long speech was more of an idealist's bashing of the west rather than a rational, let alone a logical, repartee.

Quoting an episode of Boston Legal seems appropriate here. Alan Shore argues that America had created something called the Bystander effect in the world. The USA had, for vested interests in more cases than not, interfered in the happenings of other countries for reasons that are mostly blatant, be it Vietnam, Korea, Kuwait or more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan. This constant interference has led the people and the governments of the world to believe that if any incident or event spiraled out of one's borders or caused massive harm to its own civilians, the US would be there to attempt to set things right in ways only it knows right. The US has created an image of being this superhero who comes to rescue people in danger. Over the course of history, this has happened so many times that if any such event occurs, most countries just stay put telling everybody that the US would come and take care of it. As much pressure as this has put on America to show up in time, every single time, it also gives a certain callousness to other countries. Hence the name, bystander effect. Also, not to mention that America never shows up in countries it has no use or interest in, like Somalia or Sudan. Since America hasn't showed up, no other country would enter the scene purely for humanitarian reasons, or else Sudan's crisis would've been solved ages ago.

The Libyan situation however, has put that bystander effect theory under a microscope. The Arab league of nations called for the enforcement of the no-fly zone and it was the French (quelle surprise!) who first flew their jets over Libyan airspace to bomb Gaddafi's army.

But I digress. The scenario, or climate if you wish, in the entire Mediterranean belt has raised a lot of questions. How is anything that is/was happening in countries like Tunisia and Yemen different from what is happening in India? The Tunisians rose against the government because they were dissatisfied with governance, inflating prices and most of all, the rising corruption. The Yemenis have begun protesting for the very same reasons. Egypt, Libya and Syria are different cases. Egypt and Libya have each been suppressed by one individual for decades and the uprising was merely a voice against that, though in Libya, it has taken weird proportions. In Syria, the protesters are raising voices against a set of laws that have been in place for 50 years now, without any change along with the times. India on the other hand, has been seeing a spate of corruption charges pouring out, mainly thanks to a resurgent media and a government that seems to have resigned into not picking up another term at the next elections.

I'd be found wanting in humaneness if I didn't mention the earthquake and resultant tsunami which has pretty much razed vast portions of Japan to the ground. The eventual Nuclear disaster has again brought up the power debate. Though the effects of radiation have been contained to a certain extent, the death toll from the aforementioned double whammy has been rising constantly. I don't know about you, but for me, Japan's always been a country that has defied years and years of work by psychologists and lateral thinkers. Words like resurgence, phoenix, spirit, endurance, fighting and human spirit bear little meaning when put on the same scale as the sheer whatthefuckery displayed by the people of Japan over the ages. I know you not, dear punctual Japanese chap, but hear this, I salute you. 

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