Thinking Out Loud

Overwhelmed at the brutal killings of November 13, 2015 in Paris, at the pointless loss of so many precious and innocent lives, I think no words of condemnation are sufficient to express one’s outrage at this senseless act of cowardice, this barbarity. For the sake of fairness and justice to those large numbers of Muslims who also have been a continued target of terrorist acts at the hands of the very same people, let’s be equally sensitive and humane towards every single human atrocity. For the sake of fairness and justice to all, I think it is important that we differentiate between people who teach violence and hatred from those who are victims of it, irrespective of their religious denominations. I feel using a very broad term “Islamic” or “Muslim” terrorism for this menace, and thus clubbing every Muslim together in one single box is not only irresponsible and insensitive but can have dangerous consequences, as we have seen time and again.

Today, while we are mourning the heinous acts of violence against many innocent (non-Muslim) civilians in Paris, let’s not forget the terror attack in Beirut which happened only hours before the Paris attacks and in which 43 innocent civilians — Muslims of a certain denomination, were killed by people of the same despicable ideology. Let’s not forget the many massacres of Muslim, Christian and other minorities elsewhere in the past by people of the same ideology. Let’s not forget the car bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan killings dozens of innocent people on an almost daily basis. All these things are equally inhuman and equally condemnable.

Today, some of my friends tell me it is the responsibility of “good Muslims” to tell the “bad Muslims” that this is wrong. Indeed good Muslims (you mean sensitive humans?) should stand up and question this mentality, spot the bad guys in their community and do whatever they can do in their own capacity to save their children and youth from falling prey to radical forces, to bring peace and stop violence from happening. Indeed, good Muslims MUST speak up whenever there are indications of young people being driven to radical ideology; and many in fact are doing that. Good Muslims should keep their eyes and ears open when they walk around in their communities, and spot every act of hatred. They should stand up and speak when they listen to hate speeches in religious congregations, object to it, condemn it. That being said, I do not feel that it is the sole responsibility of good Muslims to fight this menace. It is not even practically possible for “good Muslims” to do that given the enormity of the problem and its influence far and wide. In fact “good Muslims” are themselves victims of this ideology; don’t forget the many Muslim writers and poets who lost their lives for opening their mouth, for speaking up. The onus of this responsibility is not only on “good Muslims”. Terrorism and extremism is a very serious and complex problem with many different aspects. It can only be fought by a VERY THOROUGH, well-thought about, long-term plan by the international community. It is EVERYONE’s responsibility to fight this menace TOGETHER, for only then can we get rid of it. It’s not easy and there are no short-cuts.


© Sadaf Munshi.


Could the wars in the middle east perhaps have been avoided? Is war necessary, or can it even solve political problems? The ongoing wars in the middle east, many supported and funded by world powers, have created more terrorists than we had before. They have generated a flood of refugees, which is deeply alarming especially for the European Union. Will this mess teach the world powers a lesson that there are serious consequences of overthrowing stable governments, no matter how despotic their rulers be, without a solid plan for who takes over after them? With millions of refugees headed in different directions, world powers need to ponder and do some serious re-thinking of their strategic goals. We are really in DEEP SHIT!

India Lok Sabha 2014 — the comedy of errors?

Every time I listen to Narendra Modi, I feel like: Satyanaas! BeDa-gharq! Jaltu-Jalaaltu, aayi balaa ko Taal tu!

Much of the elections drama back home this time around. You won’t beleive I was so curious to hear about the latest news today that while taking a five-minute break during my three-hour long teaching today, I went in to check the news. Of course, no sky was going to fall within a few hours of voting. I even gave a five-minute crash course to my American students about Indian politics, government and history. Ah, and I DID tell them that I was quite embarrassed that a country of 1.2 billion people was finding it very hard, near impossible to get a better candidate to rule than Mr. Narendra Modi. They were kind of puzzled as was I.

Well, rewinding the scene from the last few months, with the New Delhi elections and the formation and subsequent dramatic resignation of the Kejriwal government, people on the streets, brickbats and stones, gaali-galuch, naare-baazi — “anti-nationals”, “leftists”, “rightists”, “extremists”, “terrorists”, “fascists”, “communalists”, “brutalists”…Morons! Get to the REAL issues, will ya? This country — our children, our youth, our men and women have some very very urgent needs. Will somebody talk about them?

Let’s not get into the politics. Ah well, some people were more concerned to know what Robert Vadra, his wife and his in-laws wore as they exercised their votes earlier today. Duh! As a matter of fact and very sincerely we have just been told today that many of our eligible bachelors are demanding “brides for votes”. That is quite understandable. Apparently Haryana has only 879 females per 1,000 males, and other states aren’t very different. But where will the brides come from? We just discovered that in the last some years, millions of girls were killed right in their mothers’ wombs. No wonder boys get disgruntled and Mulayam Singh advocates apology to the rapists this morning. For sure, these are just “mistakes”, as he maintains.

Meanwhile the self-proclaimed celebate PM-to-be NOW declares he HAS a wife. Cool entry, Jasodhaben, welcome to the scene! As the media frantically get to hunting her down from every nook and crony, Jasodhaben sets on to a mysterious “pilgrimage” (or is more likely sent to one by God knows who!). Apparently her “prayers” have come to fruition; and her long separated husband has finally accepted her back in his life — literally or otherwise, that is yet to be seen. That IS a sensational enough story to take the headlines for a while. As Jasodhaben’s struggle has begun, so begins a new course for many more struggles down the road for millions of Indians.

Well, hard luck! The Gandhis screwed this country from one end and the BJP from the other. In this mayhem, the aam aadmi is lost somewhere in the middle. Bharat Mata Ki Jai!

Sadaf Munshi. April 10, 2014.