Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
There is a reason why humans are considered distinct, supreme creations of God. We’re supposed to be rational, thinking people who don’t let our instincts and prejudices govern us always. We take deliberated actions. Our biases are evident, our feelings voiced but we act, knowing that every entity comes with and demands respect, dignity and rights, just like we do.
When our prejudices start to govern our actions and we let respect and rationale take a backseat, havoc is created. Havoc based on basic human differences like race, colour and religion, that otherwise, deserve to be recognised and respected in ‘liberal and progressive’ societies like ours.
Hate crimes are, in fact, known as bias motivated crimes. Though the term began to be used more after the Second World War, the acts have an alarmingly long history, especially in Europe and the United States of America. In recent years, African Americans-black families living in white neighbourhoods, whites travelling in black dominated localities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people all over the world have faced assaults and have continually been victims of intimidation and violence.
Every minority group lives with such threat, knowing that tolerance is only a state of mind, not a way of life. They can never go to bed, without fearing for their families. THAT in fact, is perhaps, more a way of life for them. Murdered last week, Indian boy Anuj Bidve is the latest and sadly perhaps, the youngest case in point. On the brink of a promising career, the Microelectronics student was shot dead, facing an attack that has been described as ‘unprovoked’.
Hate killings need no elaboration. Our students in Australia and other parts of the world have been victims. Whether random (as often reported) or racially motivated, there is no reason why their families should live in grief for the rest of their lives, just because they produced enterprising children who dared to dream and leave their comfort zones to seek better lives. No candlelight march or Facebook update is going to bring Bidve or any of those students back. As sensitive, articulate citizens of an enlightened, privileged world, we can only talk of how horrific these acts are. We don’t know what it is to take a flight to a distant country, to bring back your son’s body for his last rites. Or to be informed of his death by a social networking site. Or to have no choice but to speak to the press about all this. We don’t know further, how fatal differences can be and how inhuman we can be when pushed, or at least when we think we’re pushed.
Such attacks are not one-off incidents. Within our own country, we have been privy to the mayhem that results when people react to all that differentiates them. The period under British rule was proof enough to know how important it is to let our differences enrich our culture and encourage us to come together and combat evil. Which is why, we need to be more cognizant than anyone else of the fact that we’re living in a global village today and that the diversity among us is probably the hallmark of our fruitful living. It is time, we let everyone feel at home here and work together towards graver problems that all of us face, on the planet.
Learn to embrace all for there’s good everywhere. Let the differences in colour be proudly symbolic of all that we’ve learnt to go beyond. Don’t let it kill us.