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Two incidents in a span of just two days; Sydney & Peshawar leave all thoughtful parents with some hard questions to answer for their children.
Two Days, Two Cowardly Acts and important lessons learnt. The focal point of these acts was in two different cultures, two different countries, but the acts both left me shocked, angry. Let’s look at each one and what I learnt.
15th December 2014, Sydney Australia. A lone gunman hold a cafe hostage. At the end of the siege two people died, the gunman died. but humanity lived. Normal people taught us not to hate, with the #illridewithyou campaign. The gunman showed us what a single person’s rage can do, while the people of Australia showed us the true power of a community, a brotherhood. People who realised that religion does not determine how you react to situations, and the best answer to hate is love.
16th December 2014, Peshawar, Pakistan. An act that shook me to the core, as a mother. Nothing can sanctify or justify killing children. I am sure no religious book ever said that you need to kill children, I am sure any Almighty Power always holds children dear. The act is not about terrorists, or jihad, it is about hate and power. To kill children in their school is an act that can only be committed by people who don’t have a heart – inhuman, insecure and power hungry beings. The tears in the mother’s eyes were not sanctioned by any God, were not approved by any text. Those tears are a burden that we as a society will have to bear for as long as the world turns.
While I was crying with those mothers yesterday, while I was mourning the loss of innocence, I felt two tiny arms around me and my son saying “Mumma, don’t cry”. And that is the moment I thought, what I will tell my son about these two days? Will I tell him of the darkness or the lessons I learnt, the lessons I want him to learn?
I can tell him about Fanatics and jihadis who take lives in the name of religion, but the truth is Terrorism has no religion; no God condones the acts of terrorists and no religious text asks a person to kill in the name of God (whichever God that may be). I could also tell him about power hungry people, who try to create disharmony and hate among brothers and and break the bond of friendship and love among sisters. But the truth is that Power sees no people, only the end goal of being more powerful, controlling, dividing and ruling. So, while love binds, power breaks.
So I shall teach him about humanity, brotherhood and sensitivity. I will tell him about the mothers who braved the loss of the children and the children who faced death for nothing at all. These mothers and children are the ones who deserve to be named day after day. I will tell him of the community that chose to quell the fear of the members who were expecting a backlash, who banded together in times of adversity, who showed the entire population of the world that one person’s hate does not define them. I choose to tell him about the heroes, rather than the cowards who wielded the gun.
I hope that when he has to choose, my son picks Humanity over Religion, Love over Hate, Understanding over Fanaticism, Sensitivity over Rage, and Brotherhood over Power. I hope that these are the lessons he learns from all the dark days in history and I hope I teach him well.
Mother and son image via Shutterstock
Jaibala Rao is a Writer and a Poet whose life revolves around the people she
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