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.