To brothers & sisters

January 1, 2008 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

As soon as I heard that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated, my mind went numb with the fear of the violence that would ensue. In the days following her death, I only skimmed the headlines of all news pertaining to Pakistan. Reading a 3500 word article about acts of mindless carnage from around the world used to be informative and sad. Now it is simply sad.

I am no expert in international conflict, but I have been very much interested in it since I was old enough to understand it. It was quite difficult to completely block out news of conflict from around the world as I was coming of age. It also did not help that I was growing up in Nepal, a country then sinking in political chaos and civil turmoil.

I was only six when the Berlin Wall fell. I remember seeing it on TV. It is the only thing I remember seeing on TV between the ages of one and ten. I did not understand back then why people were so happy to break down a wall?

Around the same time, three ‘things’ settled upon my conscious – Israel, PLO and Yasser Arafat. The triumvirate owned the airwaves of news-stations in the 80s and 90s. However, I had no idea why they were in the news until I turned seventeen.

Nothing special happened when I was seventeen. All I did was pick up Thomas Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem. It not only bred in me a fascination for Lebanon but helped me understand the Israel-Palestine conflict. Like a side-effect from a bitter pill, it also made me fume at humanity in general and political leaders in particular. All of a sudden, the Israel-Palestine conflict echoed like a harsh slap upon the face of all human advancements.

By that time, the Maoist revolution in Nepal was spreading like wildfire. I could hardly believe it, but I was experiencing an armed conflict grow and wreak havoc throughout a nation known for peace. I found myself in the midst of two warring factions – the Government and the Maoists – both of whom I detested. Almost instantly, I identified with the citizens of other conflict zones. I could tell we felt a similar pain rooted in helplessness and fear.

Even today, a brotherhood of strife and struggle bonds me to a person living in fear of rockets and bombs from either side of the Israel-Lebanon border. A peculiar fear and rage ties me to a truck driver in Pakistan who cannot make his delivery because both pro-Bhutto and anti-Bhutto groups are going around killing and looting almost everyone they see.

It is not news that those who suffer most from armed conflicts are innocent civilians. However, it is quite the irony that these civilians for the most part outnumber the “armies” of the warring factions put together. Luckily for the rebels and the armies we have the sense to not pick up a gun.

How are we going to make them put away their guns and grenades? Maybe someday, someone will find an answer. Till then, I pray for all my brothers and sisters out there in conflict zones around the world.
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Entry filed under: On Global Conflict. Tags: .

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