Friday, May 30, 2008


The issue, I think, is the initial perpetration (have I got the word right ?) and not the mode or means of reaction.

Unfortunately, most often, we look at the 'reaction' (which is violence) and try to understand and see how this can be different. But the reaction is in heat, in anger, in pain. BUT the first action is COLD, very often calculated, manipulated - for gains which most people do not even begin to understand. Unfortunately, it is the REACTION that gets the limelight.

The alternatives have to be searched for the initial action. How can the gains that generate and manipulate situations which are destructive, be created through another means ? The means of making gain has to have alternatives. Eliminating 'gain' may not be entirely possible. Unless 'gain' can be re-formatted such that it can be equated with contribution and participation instead of ownership and power.

The reaction, then automatically changes if not entirely eliminated.

I myself do not have a take on violence - i am neither for it nor against it - but I deeply understand it and from whence it can come. Everything has an outcome and a violent (visible (as in war) or invisible (as in exploitation)) initial action is bound to have a violent outcome. And the opposite.

Its only when the means become the end that we might achieve peace, equity and justice.

My visit to Kabul a couple of years back brought violence and its consequence very sharply. It was crazy to see people going about their 'normal' lives in bombed out environs. Children playing among the debris of bullet-marked walls and bombed out shells of homes. For these children 'violence' would seem normal, an everyday affair - something which they and their families and generations before have been facing day in and day out. Deprivation, no-basic amenities, no food or warmth, no TRUST or security is normalcy.
How can they arrive at a value-judgement on this ? What is reality for them ?

In contrast, the designer boulevards of Paris or the idyllic waterways of Amsterdam stood out in stark contrast. Where people can complain about the most minor discomforts. Heated homes, a variety of delightful, foods imported from every corner of the world, access to organised transport, and basic, a deep sense of being powerful, of being capacble of being heard is normalcy for them. What is reality then ?

One can be a heathen to the other. And the other's reality quite incomprehensible to the first.

I don't know whether there are any answers. There is any particular way or outcome.

I also have begun to question the path of peace and love as a method. Does positing one (peace) as preferable to the other (violence), create a division, a separateness ? And hence it becomes impossible to achieve ?

Love and peace will work, I think, when it is the outcome.

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