Monday, 22 April 2013

                                    Not All Terrorists Are Muslim

I remember the thoughts that ran through my head when the Boston bombings occurred. First, I was saddened at the pointless loss of life. Second, I hoped Muslims don't face a backlash for this. Because after the bombings, the U.S. government tried their best not to feed speculation because they were well aware of the consequences. Their caution is to be lauded and I admired how their law enforcement agencies, emergency services and the American people responded to the crisis.

But what have I also found is the unsavory side of Humanity on that day. You know, that side of Humanity that puts on trial an entire religion for the actions of two renegades who for all intents and purposes acted of their own volition. Yes, they took their inspiration from Islam. But the guy who shot up the Sikh temple drew his inspiration from a white supremacist ideology. I don't remember calling him a terrorist.

In fact, I am fascinated how the social group that is dominant in a particular country treats it's minority groups. Let's first turn to America. You know the stereotypes of that has stigmatised African-Americans and Latinos don't you? Yes, the prison population do present a skewed presentation of these aforementioned minorities. African Americans form 14% of the population. But they represent 40% of the prison population. But if you take into the population as a whole, the majority have jobs, and lead productive lives.

It's almost the same thing with Muslims. They count among them 1.7 billion among their number (I think). How many terrorists are there in the world? And this often repeated phrase that all terrorists are muslims really gets on my nerves. In India, the primary threat to security are now Maoist guerrillas. We have also experienced for a long time violence in the North-Eastern states. And let's not forget one of the biggest purveyors of violence in the country, the Indian military who frequently carried out extra-judicial killings.

Coming back to the topic at hand, I think it says a lot about us  that the only facet of Islamic society that we care about is the violence. I am far more bothered about how minorities like the Kurds, Yazidis, Baha'i, Christians, Armenians are treated in Middle-eastern countries. Or how Punjabis have a stranglehold on the centers of power in Pakistan. Or how a normal act of affection would be considered a faux pas in Indonesia.

I think a lot can be gained from covering the struggles of women for their rights in a repressed society. How they find it hard to get an education, have the same rights, how they deal with rampant domestic abuse, constant sexual harassment. Or the travails of a young, unemployed, sexually frustrated man in Egypt. Or the efforts of peple in Bahrain to ensure a democratic society. Coverage of people in Pakistan who have lost loved ones in senseless violence, or struggling under stifling corruption and patronage politics. It would serve to humanise these people, make us understand them, their motivations and desires. Then they wouldn't seem so alien to us.

Life seems hard and pointless sometimes. We don't need occasional outside affirmation from people who are filled with hate. I should be jaded, I should be cynical, but like some sort of a hopeless romantic I hold out for the best in Humanity.

Monday, 1 April 2013

                                    In search of Love: Part 2

A while back, I think I had posted a topic in which I discussed my insecurities, my fears of ending up alone. Well, between the time that I posted it and now, there were some events that made me re-evaluate things I had said back then. This post is going to chronicle those events.

Well, after University opened, an old friend of mine invited to his flat-warming party. After much encouragement, I worked up the nerve to introduce myself to a rather good looking blonde girl. After the obligatory introductions, whn the moment came for me to charm her with my wit, intelligence and charisma, I just drew a blank. I just had nothing to say. And then she politely asked me if it was O.K. for her to get more wine form the kitchen, which was a subtle hint of her blowing me off. So for the rest of the party I retreated to my shell, sticking with my friend and not mingling at all.

I mean I felt like this guy

And not this guy

But then a female acquaintance of mine showed up at the party with her female friend. I did not notice her friend that much (let's call her Morgan for brevity). As the party wore on, Janeane (a fake name for my female friend) called me over and wanted to talk to me. She informed me that her female friend liked me very much but was just too shy to talk to me. She wanted me to introduce myself and do so in a way that doesn't freak her out. then went on to do so, only to have my efforts be foiled by an intoxicated man who had no business being among college students, let alone partying with them. I got flustered, but several other girls in the party encouraged me to talk to Morgan.

I did not, thinking that such a move might indicate desperation on my part. In the end, we both were just too shy to talk to each other, contenting ourselves to exchanging passing glances at each other, much to the chagrin of our friends.

But in a way, I am kind of glad it happened. Because the event served as a self-affirmation exercise. I did feel a rush of adrenaline when my friend told me that Morgan likes me. In that moment I felt a torrent of emotions. Disbelief that turned into excitement and exhilaration. I felt myself validated, for the first time I felt attractive.

Because really, I do want sex. Make no mistake about it. But more than that, I want to feel needed, at the same time I want to feel needy as well. I seek the physical pleasures of love as well ans the mental pleasures of it. That feeling of self-worth, and self-esteem that seem so alien to me.

In a way, this also makes me feel more depressed. The realisation that if I had gone out more, had been more socially active or was more self-confident could have been the cure to what I am feeling right now pains me. It was painful for me to learn the knowledge that the characteristics that distinguishes me as a individual is also the source of my torment.

Well, that's enough rambling. If you guys can post about your own romantic experiences you may do so.