|HOME | NEWS | COLUMNISTS | GUEST COLUMN|
|September 18, 2001||
When I despair, I remember that, all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and, for a time, they seem invincible, but, in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS.'
This was a quote from a condolence advertisement in this morning's The Wall Street Journal paid for by a financial institution that had lost a whole division at the World Trade Centre.
The mood in the US has changed from disbelief to shock to anger to sobriety. Now, it is slowly moving towards mature action that will make this great nation avoid the pitfalls of the past and benefit from lessons it has learnt. Civil liberties are being fiercely safeguarded, draconian bills that will shackle its citizens are not mustering any kind of support.
The main change will be seen in the CIA, which will go back to its old ways of 'affirmative' action. People welcome this and hope the CIA has learnt to distinguish between harmful and beneficial actions.
The attacks on immigrants are isolated and made by bigots who Americans themselves would readily label losers. Though this tension will disappear with time, racism is really the greater evil lurking in the US. But, again, this is very limited; most of the general population continue to behave rationally.
As a newly arrived Indian in the US, what amazes me is the government's quick action and the value it assigns to each citizen's life. It makes me wonder: Are we in India doomed to be second-class citizens shackled to insensitive and self-centered governments?
Why has our government failed to protect us from terrorist attacks for the last 10 years? Why are we the repeated targets of radicals who think we are easy prey? In fact, Osama bin Laden has, in one of his interviews, said he found us such a soft target that he left us for Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence.
Why is the government letting terrorists camps operate just across our border? If Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is disputed territory, then aren't we right in attacking these camps that theoretically operate within our country?
Why have the Memons and the Dawoods not been brought to justice? Why does our government let bombs go off in Kashmir every day? Is it because the state has fewer parliamentary seats?
Why has there been a repeat performance in Coimbatore?
Why is the BJP, which crowed so much about pseudo-secularism, once again looking at the Muslim population as a votebank? When will we be treated as precious lives that need to be protected and safeguarded from radicals and dangerous neighbours?
The US values its citizens; it treats them as a precious resource. In the coming fortnight, I believe the Americans will either secure bin Laden or destroy the guest and the host. But our diplomats and leaders will continue to hem and haw, instead of taking decisive action to take advantage of the huge opportunity we have been presented with.
Haven't the fortunes of nations changed drastically because of political manoeuvring and the leveraging of opportunities that history throws at it? Haven't our leaders learnt anything from Chanakya and Akbar (our brightest statesmen)? Can't they see the opportunity of striking the first blow against terrorism staring at their faces?
This is the time for us to destroy the Afghan/ISI-run camps in PoK. Neither Pakistan or the Americans will have the time or the guts to ask us to back off. The Americans would, in fact, display double standards if they as much as criticise our 'affirmative' actions. Our friendly neighbour does not have the time to worry about Kashmir, when the very idea of Pakistan as a nation is threatened. This is payback time, time to prove that we are a State that values the sacrifices made by her innocent citizens.
This window will shut quickly once rhetoric and numbness sets into the global viewpoint. Our leaders have to take action now and give a fitting response to these small groups of radicals that have held the nation at gunpoint repeatedly, whether it was in the streets of Mumbai or the airspace in Kandahar.
By the way, the quote at the top of this article is by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I am sure even that apostle of peace would have asked us to strike back if he had seen the destruction wrought by these mindless villains. Terrorists do not negotiate. They only understand one language and it is time for us to reply in the same language. It's a wakeup call for our vote-centric polity. Take decisive action; show your people that their sacrifices are valued and we may even end voting you back to power.
For I, as a Indian, refuse to continue being labelled as a soft nation, open to being stabbed again and again.
|Tell us what you think of this column|
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | SEARCH
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK