Thursday, November 27, 2008

enemy like

NOTE: i have not been oppressed nor have i been an oppressor. i have no insight whatsoever into why terrorists do what they do or how it feels to be a victim of their acts. wht follows is a purely theoretical/intellectual quest to understand/comprehend this phenomenon.

human race has always found creative ways of settling disputes, from verbal abuse (this has established itself both as an exact art and as a separate branch of linguistics) to homicides and from gandhigiri to genocides. gandhigiri being a topic for another day...

so can you kill a human being? well, if you eat chicken you are already close to killing animals for your need/pleasure. human beings are just animals who look a lot like you :P ok on a serious note...humans have been killing each other for centuries now. from organized killings like wars and terrorist attacks to individually motivated actions like assassinations and murders.

individual killers are some what simple and easy to understand. the good old "i dont like you i will kill you" school of thought. they are stupid idiots agreed, but not pertinacious (at least not after getting caught :P) lets leave them to their fate...

conventional wars have always been a necessary evil. but it has evolved from jungle style herd clashes (all weak must die) to more civilized stuff like the geneva convention (declaration of war, acceptance of surrender, humane treatment (relatively :P) for prisoners of war, etc). its well accepted as a fact of life now (like we have police for individual criminals we have the army for criminal countries :P). lets move on to the new kid on the block...

why would anyone become a terrorist? some say they are a bunch of crazy people who come out of some god forsaken place on this planet and trouble us just because they are jealous of us. well if thats the case life ould be very simple.
but going by the saying that your terrorist is someone's freedom fighter, let us assume that terrorists are a product of long periods of oppression by a disproportionately stronger adversary. he (he=he/she henceforth) cannot fight a conventional war and he cant be expected to tolerate atrocities either, so he goes out and kills someone "enemy like".
that is a very dangerous abstraction and the fundamental flaw in the doctrine of terrorism, if there is such a thing. it represents the urge to take revenge without the restraint of understanding the problem. but unfortunately its a very practical one.
if my family is killed in a terrorist attack carried out by "a" person of some nationality/religion do you really expect me to find "that" particular person and kill him back? no its very difficult to do that, its much easier to just kill a bunch of hapless guys with the same nationality/religion. yes, the nationality/religion is very important, just killing random people might let out the pent up anger, but it wont give that sweet sense of revenge!

but if you really think about it, isnt it like punishing my neighbor for my mistakes? just because to the outsider we look similar (both are say, indian looking) and maybe share the same taste in food?
yes we are both indians but is that enough to treat us the same? for all you know we might be completely different as individuals. clubbing large groups of people together on the lines of nationality/religion/etc and giving them common attributes just simplifies things for us. but these are obvious oversimplifications which are fine in casual conversation (indians are lazy :P) but stupid when someone starts believing that they are actually true (all indians want to destroy kashmir so kill them 'll).
when you say you are indian, should you be responsible for every action of every soldier of the indian army posted in say, burma? or of some politician from jharkhand? shouldnt everyone just be responsible for his/her own actions are their direct consequences? all for one and one for all is good _only_ when you personally know who the "all" are. doesnt make sense to stand behind every citizen/member of a country/religion just because you also belong to that country/religion.

there is a thin line between patriotism and fanaticism. most people will equate non-fanaticism with non-patriotism, especially in such emotional times. and i dont blame them. i just have to look at _any_ page in history to realize that logic and reason are the first things to be tossed out whenever there has been an appeal to our fear and pride (personally i am not a big fan of pride, national or otherwise. its too close to ego for my taste)

i guess these terrorist attacks is a proof that some/most people would rather kill than think. i compared terrorists with freedom fighters before. their motivations might be similar but there is a vast and conceptual difference in their methods. chaphekar bros did not kill any random brit that they saw on the street or their families. they were dissatisfied by rand's policies and wanted to make _him_ pay for it. cant find a logical flaw in that :P