Nothing More than A Photograph for the Monsters of War
Reuters released this photograph of Abdullah Kurdi who tried to flee Syria for safer shores
NEW DELHI: The image of the little Syrian child washed ashore seems to have elicited a reaction from even those who have contributed to this tragedy. And the response of horror and anger could raise the hope that just the image, and the story behind it, would make a difference, stop the war mongers in their tracks, and perhaps bring some level of sense, rationale and peace back into the world.
Except for the fact that one has gone through all this before. Similar heart rending images, same shock and horror, same pledges and demonstrations but nothing is able to act as even a momentary hurdle for the war machine that drives itself on the fuel of hate propaganda, and fires missiles with impunity.
The little children killed playing on the beach by Israeli missiles, photograph after photograph of the kids killed on a daily basis by the Israelis in Gaza; the Syrian disaster; the Iraqi photographs of torture of the worst kind with US soldiers laughing as they led around naked prisoners in chains; the mutilated limbs of terror victims and the tears and wails of the survivors; the Rohingya Muslims on boats pleading with governments to be allowed in as refugees; the children and women with terror written all over their faces as they run from villages attacked by communal mobs back home here in India…..it is an endless list. And the violence never stops, it is only the victims who increase in numbers and yet can do little to bring peace into the world.
Peace has become anti national for the government’s hell bent on joining the terrorists in their war. Instead of isolating these men and their war machines, governments use them, to further weaponise and justify war and violence. In fact often create them as in the case of the al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, build situations with the “embedded” media that these forces are fed and nurtured, and then hike the defence budgets, arm themselves with more draconian laws that often turn against their own people, and march into sovereign nations killing at will. Thousands of citizens die for every few actual terrorists killed, but then might is right, and no one asks any questions. Not even how is it that the war on terror that the US and its western allies said they were winning, has moved the al Qaeda into the more lethal Islamic State?
After this little Syrian boy Aylan was washed ashore, reports have appeared that perhaps over 2000 Syrians have drowned trying to find refuge in western countries. There is of course no inquiry and hence no idea of how many Rohingya Muslims, victims of a deliberate genocide in Myanmar, might have died while fleeing for their lives in flimsy boats. All countries immediately seal their borders,many of them after participating in the wars, to ensure that terrified, desperate human beings are not given a sanctuary. And instead turned back into the sea, or onto the land shaken by missiles and bombs. To basically die and be killed.
Jordan, Egypt, Turkey --all countries whose governments have shed crocodile tears over the plight of Palestinians ensured during the barbaric Israeli attack on Gaza that not a single Palestinian was able to cross over. Egypt ignored appeals from all peace loving people in the world to open its borders and allow the Palestinians to escape from the Israeli guns. Instead Gaza became a big prison with high walls, and the Palestinians captives to be shot at as and when Israel so desired.
India and Pakistan make the innocent villagers living along the borders, prey to their conflict. The two armies---and who the hell cares who started it first---start shooting at each other and while not a single soldier dies the villagers flee in terror to escape certain death. Their little homes are riddled with bullets, their children and women sustain injuries, but then who cares for the poor? They are dispensable in this display of “nationalism” and “patriotism”, terms that have been twisted to actually become synonymous with military might, war and conflict. The more people suffer, from the “other” side of course, the more nationalistic are we.
The modern state has turned itself into a Nietzsche’s monster, under the guidance of politicians for whom war becomes the diversion for the absence of thought and policy. The longer the war, the happier this politician as was evident in the case of former US President George W.Bush and is more than evident in the case of Israel leader Benjamin Netanyahu. And what to speak of a people who give them a second term in office despite the very visible death and destruction that have indulged in on other human beings. For all of them the playing field has been West Asia, home to governments that connive with them to wipe out all resistance. Hence the war that has killed thousands and displaced millions in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and of course Palestine that has been turned into a concentration camp while the people of the world watch in silence, and even in appreciation.
So excuse me if I reject all these homilies pouring in after the little childs body was washed ashore. As this is just another photograph that will be buried with the baby, and with the thousands of other babies whose faces and bodies have not been captured in photographs, as we all become part of the hate propaganda that divides us into “us” and “them.” And creates the stereotype of the “other” so forcefully that we support the guns, and the bombs, and the wars without a thought for the innocents being killed on a daily basis. As these have all been turned into cold statistics, and will remain there despite the odd photograph that might shake us now and again, but only for the temporary moment.
So goodbye little baby. May your rest in peace, along with your mother and siblings who too died while trying to flee from the war that has been justified by the US, the Nato Allies, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and all the rest. But rest knowing that there will be many many more as these men who manufacture weapons are not going to stop. No matter how many little bodies are washed ashore.