Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Battle the Gun; Not People

Today is December 17, 2014. The whole world, especially South Asia, is still numb with shock. Yesterday, hundreds of school children aged 4-16 yrs, left home for school in the town of Peshawar, in Pakistan, in the morning. Some of them never made it home. Some are still hanging between the state of living and the state of non-being. The ones who made it back safe will never be the same again. Their childhood, innocence, sense of security and the way of viewing the world, have changed forever. Of course, some teachers lost their lives too, leaving their families shattered too.

There has been a spontaneous outpouring of grief the world over. This massacre was preceded by the killing of two innocent persons in Sydney the day before. The world is waiting in dread : who, what, where and how will be the next.

Whenever a terror attack or a massacre occurs, people are first shocked. Then voices speak out against terror. There are some chases and arrests. There are some token memorial services. And then all goes quiet. Till the next attack. Every attack is measured against the previous one for severity and heinousness. As if such immeasurables could be measured! There is jingoism. There are vows of revenge and avenging. There is finger pointing. There is even denial. Like the Pakistani officials denying India having offered help. And then, it is business as usual.

What no one ever does is go to the very root of the problem. Of course, questions like who helped create and nurture these armies of terror, who used them towards what geo-political game, and who is still creating one horror to counter another horror, are too complex and convoluted to be discussed on this humble blog. I have seen Indians living in those same countries outcry the outcomes, but never question the global policies and practices of their adopted "homelands".

However, another issue which never is discussed, involves the instruments of terror - the guns and the bombs. Who manufactures them? Who markets and sells them? Who buys them and how? How do they procure money for buying the human-killing machinery? What happens to the money which the sellers receive? Which economy does this money finally get invested or channeled into? 

Surely guns and bombs do not manufacture themselves. Yet, why does no one ever raise these questions? The answers to these questions are vital if we are going to keep our promise to the slain children that their deaths are going to be avenged. Or the promises to our own terror victims and their families. Because the only way to stop weeds from growing is to uproot them. Promising flowers that we will fight weeds does nothing. And these questions can easily be answered if the right pressure is put on the right Banks in the right countries. But that requires geo-political clout. And if countries with that kind of clout are not doing it, there is something that they intend to keep away from the eyes of the world.

Food for thought. Why not strike where it really hurts rather than just beat about the bush and engage in tokenism, which will mean something to the victims and their families of this massacre, but will do nothing to stop the next one? If you take out one terrorist, a hundred will take their place. But if they don't have the instruments - the guns- what will they kill with? And the same logic can be applied to the frequent gunning in schools and community centres in the US. People cry hoarse about gun control, but I have never seen a single discussion on stopping production of arms. We call terrorists all kinds of names, but what about people who put the gun in their hands? Is their liability any less?   

So amidst the mourning, which people will forget in less than a week, when they go on to Christmas and New Year bashes, here is something to think about.....

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