September 03, 2008

Anyone, anywhere

Like the rest of us, the Italian government hears about the recent violence in Orissa. They call in our Ambassador and express concern, in whatever way governments and diplomats accomplish these things.

Upshot: any number of people are extremely annoyed. "Italy should mind its own business and shut up" is about the mildest reaction. The worse ones involve snickers about Italy's status in the world, or their own scandals, or the over-stale diet of the Italian origins of Sonia Gandhi.

Yet why should anyone anywhere not express concern for the safety of people who are assaulted? When Rwanda descended into enormous bloodletting in 1994, should the rest of the world have stayed silent, saying "Rwanda's Tutsis are Rwandan"? (It's another matter that the rest of the world, in fact, did nothing to stop the massacre). When violence erupted in Tibet some months ago, how many of us decided that it was China's business and we should say nothing? When Idi Amin stirred up a campaign of brutality against Indians in Uganda, how many Indians were upset and said so?

Besides, if it's mere lines on a map that decide who should speak up and who should not, why does the rest of India pay any attention to what's happening in Orissa? Would we take seriously anyone from Orissa who says "What's happening in Orissa is Orissa's business alone"?

As far as I'm concerned, attacks on innocent people are the business of anyone in the world who finds such attacks revolting. (It's why we call them "universal" human rights). Sometimes the only hope that such attacks will stop is that enough people speak out against them, from wherever they are.

So whether in Rome or Arakkonam, Novaya Zemlya or Lunkaransar, my hope is that there will always be people expressing their concern about criminal assaults. Whether those assaults happen in Orissa or Kenya or Germany.

16 comments:

theprudentindian said...

“Yet why should anyone anywhere not express concern for the safety of people who are assaulted?”

Dilip dear point me to please, where do you show ‘any’ concern for the Swami Ji’s brutal murder.

“Besides, if it's mere lines on a map that decide who should speak up and who should not, why does the rest of India pay any attention to what's happening in Orissa? Would we take seriously anyone from Orissa who says "What's happening in Orissa is Orissa's business alone"?”

!!??

Bob you really need some immediate ‘psychiatric’ help.

Perhaps me too for, why I stumbled upon here.

PI.

Dilip D'Souza said...

> point me to please, where do you
> show ‘any’ concern for the Swami
> Ji’s brutal murder.

Done. Doctor on my mind.

What wriggle will now ensue?

Kavi said...

I think the prudent among us must stay prudent, and express our concerns loud and clear !

A killing is a killing. Of this, let there be no doubt. Whether it is in the name of language, maps, water or men. Or anything else for that matter.

Let a thousand voices be heard. And let them not be selective. On which side of the line or language or men or divide they come from.

surya said...

theprudentindian

Killing of any human being is bad I completely agree with this, including Swami in Orissa BUT why is he there? Is he on a mission to save or help his fellow human, i beg to differ on this, he is there on a mission to instigate hatred the result of which he is treated with hatred. I dont think any of the Doctors or any human being who is helping poor tribals fight their fate by spreading love for fellow human being is not faced with same fate as Swami faced.
It all depends on the intent.

RZD said...

I agree, it is indeed unfortunate that we have to wait for 'other' countries to express concern over the human rights violation in our own. It is immaterial whether it was Italy or the US. What can be said about the media coverage of the situation, biased media reporting seems to have become the order of the day especially when it concerns a minority community. I am not sure who maintains the blog, http://orissaburning.blogspot.com/, but it does have news not covered by the Indian media.

Anonymous said...

Yet why should anyone anywhere not express concern for the safety of people who are assaulted?

Dilip,

Did the Italians or the Vatican call the Pakistani ambassador to express their outrage at the recent killing of women in Baluchistan?
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7593522.stm)

Should India summon Pakistan everytime an Indian diplomat is killed in Pakistan or Afghanistan because of ISI bomb-blast?

Did you write about it? Why not?

Also, going by your logic and principles, shouldn't you be expressing concern at the loss of life that happens everyday in this world? If not, what's the reason for selective concerns? A life lost in a mugging in the US is not any different from a life lost by a gunshot in India. So, please express your concerns at all people dying in this world. Picking and choosing would betray your prejudice, no?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Did the Italians or the Vatican call the Pakistani ambassador to express their outrage at the recent killing of women in Baluchistan?

I have no idea. Did they?

Should India summon Pakistan everytime an Indian diplomat is killed in Pakistan or Afghanistan because of ISI bomb-blast?

Indeed. I see no reason why India should not. Do you?

Did you write about it? Why not?

About what? the killing of women? Or the killing of a diplomat?

In either case, no. Because I don't know enough about it and because I cannot write about every incident in the world.

shouldn't you be expressing concern at the loss of life that happens everyday in this world?

Indeed I should. While I cannot express myself about every killing, I try to do it as much as I can: from a soldier in Iraq to deaths in Orissa and Bihar to two firefighters in Idaho.

Finding "selective concern" and "prejudice" in all that is a task I leave for you.

Sunil Deepak said...

I agree with you completely that all lives are valuable and we should protest against every life lost in stupid conflicts, including the so called "religious conflicts". At the same time, living in Italy I take note that they go on and on about 18 official dead and perhaps 30 unofficial dead of Orissa, and on-going religious problems with full page articles, editorials and regular TV coverage for last ten days, not just from Vatican. The floods in Bihar in the same week with 16 million who lost homes and some few hundred dead, didn't get 1% of the attention. So in the end all dead need respect, but other dead are not worth the media attention, because there is the same old story of floods in India. I guess the same happens in Muslim countries when they perceive Muslims under threat some where. If we accept that then we are laying the seeds of division of your dead and our dead, and that some dead are worth more.

revathi said...

I dont see why italy should not be concerned about the christians in india. I would be concerned if hindus is some place were being burnt alive, even more so if tamil hindus were being persecuted and even more so if they are my relatives. So that is normal. What is not normal is the tepid response of most of india who think that this sort of reaction is normal and the christians "asked for it".
Everyone will agree that while the murder of the sadhu is regrettable, there is no rational explanation for the carnage that followed.

Nikhil said...

he is there on a mission to instigate hatred the result of which he is treated with hatred.

This was what the killers of Graham Staines also said. - He was bothering others with his activities.

Dear Dilip has not even disowned this.
But as proved earlier - Different strokes for different folks

Nikhil said...

Earlier comment
Disowned refers to messrs Surya's comment

Dilip D'Souza said...

Dilip has not even disowned this.

Please explain in what sense I "owned" this that I must now "disown" it.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of comments I have not "disowned" that have not led you to conclude "different strokes for different folks". For just one completely random example from a post that you commented on too, this.

Please explain to me why you did not get on there accusing me of "different strokes for different folks."

As I said in my previous comment on this page, finding "selective concern" and "prejudice" -- and "different strokes" -- in what I write is a task I leave for you. You do it well!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dilip,

You are right - anyone anywhere is morally right to express concern for the safety of people who are assaulted. Same goes with Italy.

Yet valid concerns remains.

(1) as someone pointed out, Did Italian govt. summon pak envoy over killings of women?
(2) I haven't heard Italian govt. summoning Malaysia's amabassador regarding their treatment of Hindus or for that matter expressing concern for the safety of Hindus. Have you, Dilip?
(3) The US and cronies have butchered so many millions - almost 5-10% of iraqis got wiped out from the face of this planet. Have you heard anything from the Italian govt. Dilip?

So can we conclude that Christian lives and property are far more important to Italian govt. than anything else?

-kumar

Gaurav said...

Dilip, from a lot of these comments, I have now understood what you need to do. Whenever you express dismay over one mindless killing, express dismay over all the other mindless killings committed in the world too. Write about killings from all countries and continents. Don't forget to leave out frostbite deaths from Antarctica. Every morning, you must scour newspapers and police reports and write about them too. While you are at it, throw in sympathy for car accident victims as well. Go through all the obituary pages and include those deceased souls in your post too.

And then, if there is time left, brush your teeth.

Dilip D'Souza said...

So can we conclude that Christian lives and property are far more important to Italian govt. than anything else?

You're welcome to conclude that, or anything else you like.

Your conclusion, however, does not change the point, which is that anyone anywhere is welcome to express concern about attacks on innocent people.

Gaurav, noted. You have reminded me, though, that I have not brushed my teeth today. When I do so, I also plan to brush the teeth of everyone else I see around me.

Sidhusaaheb said...

To those expressing outrage at Italy's expression of concern at the killings in Orissa, I would like to ask if they agree with the killers? Why are they trying to justify the killings? Is it because they are communalists and the killings of minorities make them happy?