Sunday, November 30, 2008

Injustice at root of Mumbai terror

Two things get up my nose. One is cruelty in any guise and the other is injustice. Nothing hurts like injustice. Nothing rankles like injustice. It sears into the soul and will fester – for generations. Yet nothing is so unnecessary as injustice (and also intolerance, which is the flip side of injustice).

What gives you (or anyone for that matter) the right to think, or believe that you are better than anyone else? That your religious beliefs are better? That you believe, because you were born into money, or born with a name held, historically, in high esteem, that you belong to a ‘privileged’ class and are therefore ‘worth’ more (as a human being) than me? How dare you! What right have you to assume such things? The thing is that you will most probably have never thought about why you think the way you do, or hold the beliefs you do.

In most cases you have chosen to accept someone else’s decisions. A Mullah in some religious school somewhere says that a particular verse of the Koran must be interpreted in a particular way – that all ‘non-believers’ must be killed. Your parents tell you, as a child, not to play with that ruffian crowd across the road, because their grand-father did something very bad to your grand-father. You are brought up with the belief that coloured people are ‘different’ and therefore to be avoided – that they are not of your class. As a Palestinian you are told that all Jews are bad – just look at what they have done in Palestine; that Americans are bad because they are helping the Jews. As a Jew you are told that Palestinians want to obliterate Israel.

More often than not you have accepted the decision of someone who came before and who, presumably, must know better. Otherwise why accept their decision? Very few of the judgements you make on a daily basis, about what is “right” or “wrong” are made by you, based on your true understanding of the situation as presented. It often seems that the more important the decision, the less likely you are to use your own thoughts and ideas, based on your own experiences. Just doing what others tell you to do will not got you very far – in fact it will most probably get you into a great deal of trouble!

We cannot view the world as others see it. They have had their experiences of life which have influenced their views on all sorts of matters, and you have your views based on your experiences. I will stick my neck out here and say that injustice is the major influence in most of the problems besetting the World at this time.
The latest terrorist attack on Mumbai, with some two hundred killed and many hundreds injured, as tragic as it is just emphasises my case against injustice. Muslims in India, since the partition in 1947, have been treated abominably, in many cases worse than the ‘untouchables’ (the lowest caste in India). Why?
Disadvantaged people will align themselves with anyone who can show them some hope. Why wouldn’t they? I would.

If young Muslim hot heads are told – brainwashed into believing – that American and British people are anti-Muslim (after all the British gave Palestine to the Jews after World War II and the Americans help Jews), then in any attack you are going to single them out, with any Jews, for special treatment, as apparently happened in Mumbai.

Now I do not for a moment condone any action which leads to the death or injury of innocent people. I am just trying to understand why it happened and to suggest a course of action, a change in mind set which may prevent such events happening again.

Education is what is needed - to give these young hot heads (Muslim, Jew, Hindu, whatever) some idea of the opportunities that await them – if only they would think for themselves. To conform with what some Mullah, Rabbi, teacher, or elder says, means to go with the rest. But to go with the rest means to lose your identity. By conforming with what others consider normal behaviour you give up a great deal, and risk becoming a dumbed down version of who you really are. It means approval by others to be part of the ‘team’. It means being considered as one of the ‘boys’ or ‘girls’. It means being led by others; to do what the majority do; to think the way the majority think, whether or not this is a comfortable situation. Behaviour is adjusted to the accepted needs of the group, or other person or persons in the pursuit of a common aim or aims.

We now come to the nub of the issue of injustice which is ethics. To be ethical you must always remember two things:
(1) to always treat others as you would like to be treated, and
(2) to ask yourself, “if EVERYONE did what you are doing (or propose to do) would the world be a better place”?

There is no other viable option. We are all members of the species Homo Sapiens (reasoning man). Use that reason; use the innate ability to think for yourself. And for those leaders and people of influence, for God’s sake don’t just think short term, don’t just think for today; think for the future – what sort of a world would you choose to leave as a legacy for those who will come after you?

This leads on to the fact that most have forgotten, or never been told, that there is an unwritten law of Cause and Effect. No one can know the full effects of a cause (some word, action or task), but of a certainty there will be an effect, on someone or something, somehow, somewhere and at sometime, and it will always affect you. We have no means of knowing the ultimate outcome. People try to control one thread without knowing the pattern, which is not very clever and can cause a great deal of injustice with severe long term effects.

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