The Blame Game

(Technically, this post should’ve actually been on Broken Fishtank which is the usual place I write stuff like this, but I just did a post there yesterday and I don’t want it to sink to second place already.

This is going to be a long post; and a serious one. If you’re busy now, please come back and read it later. But I do implore you to not skip paragraphs)

I’m probably the last guy on the planet to write on the recent Mumbai attacks, nearly two weeks after the whole thing was over; but in a way it got me thinking about a lot of stuff we seem to take for granted…including who we routinely blame for it.

First off, the politicians who are a bunch of idiots and we all know this. In fact, we know better because we’re the ones who put them up there in the first place, so in a way, we’re to blame for it.

And who can forget the “Deccan Mujahideen” who supposedly claimed responsibility for the attack…and then the media went into overdrive with home-grown terror.
Until someone was intelligent enough to expose this as a bad joke by some prankster, every news channel in India (and even CNN, but I don’t count that) was sure it was the Deccan Mujahideen based on one pathetic Email anyone could have sent.

Because Muslims were the bad guys. Muslims were the terrorists. Muslims were the people who like to blow up stuff.

Quickly, give me a no-hard-feelings answer: what’s the first image to pop into your head when you hear the word “terrorist”?

If you get an Osama-bin-Laden-look-alike with a turban, a long beard, wearing a robe, you’ve hit home base – along with a million others.

Now here’s where it starts getting confusing, because if you look at the one picture of the terrorist we’ve seen far too times on TV, there was no turban, the guy was wearing a black tee, cargo jeans and (gasp!) no beard. And then you have this other report that the terrorists apparently had stashed up 3days worth of food; chicken and liquor!

The chicken part, I buy, but alcohol?
I’m no expert but I’m guessing you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure who the only terrorists who don’t drink by principle – as opposed to not drink before an attack – are!

Now I’m not denying or alleging anything, but for all we know, they could have been college-dropouts or unemployed graduates taking out their frustration to the world…and the fact remains that no one still knows who the attackers were or where they came from or what they wanted (despite what you see on TV) but what makes me mad is that we’re quick to again blame the Muslims for it.

And again, why?
Because hey, if it’s not them, who else could it be?

In fact, a while ago during another bombing, an Indian news-magazine ran a story with the racist headline: “All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim”.
Note here how the LTTE, The Naxalites, the IRA of Ireland and the FARC of South America all suddenly cease to become terrorist organizations just because apparently in someone’s mind; only Muslims do all the dirty work; with the dislodging clause that, “well, maybe not all of them though”

And thus, effectively alienate part of society by calling them the bad guys, throwing the blame on them and view them with suspicion at every turn in society.

No, it does NOT feel nice to be looked at as part of the problem and a potential terrorist when you have nothing to do with it.

In short: terrorists are our common enemies…and you can’t fight them by blaming a community or a country or a religion for it and alienating them.
Regardless of whether they are “jihadists” – that’s the usual term; or RSS extremists – we’ve seen this in the Melagon attacks; or by the United States – which pokes into Iraq, Afghanistan and pretty much the rest of the world; call a terrorist a terrorist.

And unite to fight them.


Anonymous said...

I don't think terrorists belong to a religion. And how can they belong to it, because they don't believe in God. Perhaps, the persons who don't believe in God are not related to any religion.

These are not only Muslims, dude. In Punjab (where I live), many Sikhs do the things which destroy peace. So how can terror belong to a single religion?


A wo(a)ndering mind said...

yep.. terrorists are terrorists and they fall under no other category. I agree.. this whole blame game is pathetic. hmm.. too personal and too painful..

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum, great post brother! Jazakallahu khair..

But this time, Alhamdhulillah people have reacted in a slightly better way.. there seems to be more slogans of unity than before. I have a feeling that a lot of us Indians have started realising that terrorism is beyond religion and its sole proprietors are the politicians.

This attack after the Malegaon probe and the killing of the ATS chief Hemant Karkare raises a million questions of who could have done it, but again, we are only here to speculate.

Anyways, let us all hope for peace and stand together as fellow brothers in humanity. :)

Rayees Ahamed said...

nicely expressed, jazakallah bro ..

media hype is the worst thing, they immedietly use typical terms like, "Jihadi elements", "Islamic terrorists" etc., .. imedietly a RSS leader speaks in ndtv spitting out aggressively all the typical terms non stop, trying his best for every opportunity to provoke religious intolerance ...

we should reform the way we elect our leaders, which has long been dominated by religion, caste, community, lunguistic, regional, sympathetical, commercial: vote for sale, movie actors etc., etc., why dont we elect our leaders based on Economic Policies, Security Policies, Un-biased Judicial Policies, Educational Policies etc., ?????

Ela said...

I can understand how it feels to be branded...and i definetely hate it when my friends are being branded just becoz they belong to some community or religion...That said there are also some things in which we all have to improve....And i am sorry since this is going to be a long comment...

these days we all talk to each other, make friends that crosses borders of countries, religion, culture and skin color....but at times i have a feeling we still retain closed groups... there is no need to lose identity but still we can all open up and what we need at this hour is building trust among ourselves....and that is not something that comes very easily....we all have to work hard to build up the trust among different communities..

In a country like India, if u leave the rich ones, most of the people have to struggle for their existence - some for just staying alive, some for living a decent life and others for reaching the creamy layer....when life is a struggle then it is relatively easy to lose trust on fellow human being... And i don't need to tell u the long bloody history of India...the destruction of religion as a means of building power used by the various invading powers....these two things together makes our society highly vulnerable to misunderstandings and misgivings...and what have we all done to smooth it out? almost nothing....just me wishing u on ur festival and u wishing me on my festival will not help only shows that we are polite to each other....what we really need is a situation where i will/can rise amidst people and say "I trust my fellow being and he would never ever do that whatever may be his faith"...

During my school and college days, whenever there used to be a cricket match between India and Pakistan, there would be some discussions as to who would win which used to end up in some bitterness when some of the muslim students said that they want pakistan to win...I never thought about that seriously at that time, just some innocent cricket crazies bickerings, but now i such things could be easily misunderstood as to the standing of the Indian Muslims....and if u have some people who want to get political gains out of such innocent things they can very easily achieve it....small things do count sometimes...

I hope u will understand in which meaning and spirit i write these things...i don't like blaming people....rather would like to spend that energy and time in getting solutions for the in my humble and ignorant opinion so far the muslim community has not expressed it's wish and solidarity of getting out all the unwanted element from their they are doing it....last month or so i read in a news that there was a fatwah issued in a conference in Hyderabad against terrorism.....

and although i do not want to give my opinion, i also read that the community recently declined to give burial to the attackers of now the stage has been community has outstretched their hands....the others have to reach and hold it...i sincerely hope that it happens and in future we can all be united for the single reason that we are all human beings....

sometimes i feel really sad that we are so eagerly ready to divide ourselves based on silly differences and there are also so many reasons available for that....but we always forget that there is one single and most powerful reason for all of us to be united....that we all are human beings and our emotions for our life are same!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

That's can anyone who kills innocent people claim to do it in the name of God? But the problem I get mad at is that whenever a muslim is involved in this; everyone blames as if whole of Islam is responsible for this.

@a wondering mind
yeah I do take it personally. When you're standing in line at the airport and the guy looks at you like you're gonna blow the place up or something and goes through your passport extra carefully, you've no option but to take it personal.

Wa alikum assalaam.
Actually I don't get it...why are WE expected to react in the first place? Everytime the LTTE or IRA or any other terrorist organisation blows up something is anyone expected to say, "I'm sorry they did this, we'll make it up to you; we condemn this" and stuff?
Why is it that when a muslim does something, the whole community is asked to prove themselves as innocent?

Religious intolerance is what leaders do best. Its the tried and tested formula...divide and conquer. Right from the Greeks and Romans to the British, that's how they did it.

-=A.R.N.=- said...


Thanks for your sincere comment; I honestly believe it is worth a whole post in itself. :)

You are true that we retain closed groups. But I would think arises because humanity always imbibes itself to believe that "we" are different from "them"; no matter how we look at it, our differences are part of what makes us human. How we live with them is what is required. And when you have volatile differences like those in religion, corrupted power uses it to its advantages.

Now when you have a edgy situation and groups try to misuse that; the general public should know better than to fall prey to it.
But like you said, when a guy is so poor they have to struggle for a living, he wouldnt care if he has to join a hate-campaign to make a living.

Here's the part which I don't like:
Why do the rest of us blindly believe whatever we see on TV? Can't we use our judgement and realize things?
For instance, when the US invaded and illigally occupied Iraq, killing over 600,000 of its civilians, no one had the guts to shout it out.

Oh and btw, when it comes to Cricket, I wouldn't care less who wins...boy do I hate cricket (another post on this coming soon:)

Ela said...

"Can't we use our judgement and realize things?"

this is somethhing which i also wonder about many a times....there seems to be not a thing which will goad us in that direction...if one thinks that education can bring about this ability to reason out and realize things, i see many a educated people absolutely dumb when it comes to this!

Mannu said...

Probably I am more late to your this particular blog that how late you state your self to be writing on it.! Anyways,
No point asking your name, because everyone has seen and understood "A wednesday" by now--what's there in name?; people make conclusions from i;, et al.
I dont know if u understand that by over enlarging a fact, or underdimishing it, u earn this power to mould the actual point into any figure you like.
For e.g. in maths if X^Y=Z^Y, then X has to be equal to Z. Putting X= 5 and Z= 9 AND Y=ZERO, we can say 5 is equal to 9!!
Magic, no??
That's how the common, un-researched people, or blogger may be acting on a social matter.
Neither do i claim to be a deep researcher on the issue, but i guess living in India, i do understand who the terrorist in our context mean, and what country and religion they belong to, for which i have least doubts.
But thanks anyway, i am always keen to know how people far away, Germany in you case, view the whole thing.
You philosophised the whole thing, while also sucking away the ground facts from it.

-=A.R.N.=- said...


Hey hi! Under normal circumstances I'd say "welcome to random thoughts", but as I understand, you're here for answers and i'll be happy to clarify.

I believe that the key to understanding starts with a good gesture, so I'll name is Abdul-Rahman Noor, and yes it is important, at least for me to talk with someone who knows my name :-)

I also believe in simple language, so i'll try not to twist words into hard-to-understand phrases with multiple meanings. I must say, I'm a bit confused with some of the stuff you wrote.

It is WRONG to blame ANYONE without proof...which is what happens to muslims everytime there's an explosion or an attack. That is what I meant with the whole "Deccan Mujahideen" issue.

It is equally WRONG to blame an entire community for what a section propagates.
See what's happening in Gaza now: over 300 people killed by Israel and not a word of condemnation...why?
Is it justified to kill them just because 'apparently' Hamas is to blame?

That is the point I want to make:
Do you think pakistanis in general are evil people (and that it justifies a war on pakistan)? Or that Indian muslims somehow turn to Pakistan as their saviour..even though some people might do that for cricket (personally, I never really liked the game - and hope that doesn't make me 'anti-indian' in your view :-)

Oh and btw, "...and we know what religion they belong to" is the most pathetically racist statement I've heard, coming from a blogger. Do try to keep your emotions in check.

From what you write in your blog that the Loyalty of Indian Muslims is to be questioned...I'd like to ask you who gives anyone the right to question other people's loyalty and why we as Indian Muslims; proud-to-be Indian Muslims, have to prove loyalty in the first place?

This is the same mentality that drives some of my Indian friends to think that the British are inherently evil unless proven otherwise because they conquered our land and plundered our resources.
Words that are so liberally used by many of our writers, such as 'Jehad' and 'Islamist-ideologies', really have nonsencial meanings in the context they are used in that they don't know what they're talking abt.

And btw dude, this IS the 21st century: people who are in Germany, the U.S. or even the South Pole are no less connected - particularly with their homelands - than people who live there.
In my own case, I still have family in India and try to be up to speed with current Indian happenings.

But it is important, that while we can only live in one country, we dont narrowly limit our thoughts to what the common stereotypes claim.


Mannu said...

Thanks Abdul for your quick reply. And i apologise that some points in my comments went incomprehensible to you. I will try to keep my thoughts and emotions in tendem and well in control. It perhaps was due to some over-pour of emotions.
To balance out my previous comments, Abdul, i would want to mention that owing to my belonging-ness to Lucknow, a city of Urduvi culture and Ganga-Jamuni tehjeeb, I hold the muslims also with utmost respect. The best and most sincere teachers in my school-life have also been muslims. My female freinds have been muslims; politically I am perceived to be standing alongside the Muslims,-- in short i have no direct reasons to be against them. Neither am I even now.
Just some deep delving into the causes for these terrorist acts has forced me to utter truth with disregard for how the how the entire community, of Muslims and us, will see it.
The statistical and social observations are not favoring the stand of muslims as of now. The more the ask for 'Evidences', the more it will fall against them- from the world as a whole. I will avoid going into old-ancient- history to discuss the Isreali-palestinine causes-- but I do detest the Israeli attack on Gaza. Just express my reservations that actually the Indians need to take lessons from the Isrealis on how to handle there terrorist enemies with an Iron fist.
You see, when perceived globally, because now our two neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh - both are standing to kill us-- we the non-muslims, (Hindus in my personal case)become a minority. and then even the Indian muslims might not be caring much for our existence, to survive the sudden terrorist killing-- in a plane, in a train, or even in a hotel.
So, now the Isreali lessons might only remain my last fight for survival of my 'natural' religion.
The pakis are continually asking us for Evidences despite the whole (non-muslim) world standing with us, but not a single time are the Paki muslims doing a self-interrogation as to act to save my values and my existence.
Statistically, they have a religion, and socially the religion the showing up to be the biggest cause of the people who are standing together to terror-kill my lot of people.
In this averging, i apologise, if any specific minor sub-group-- like yourself and yours-- don't agree with your larger lot on our elimination.
Jehad and Islmic-ideologies are the words and actions that the terrorist have used more liberally during every act of killing they carried out. Even during the Mumbai-seige, they bothered to safely and honourable walk out a Turkish muslim couple out of the Oberoi hotel, only because they were muslims--Please dont ask for 'Evidence', do some introspection and self-research for my survival cause, if you can.
That speaks what religion, country, or group they belong to.
Dis-saatified and extremist lot of people exist every where--even in hindus as u can point out-- but they are always a pinch-size small group, not even minor. The larger group always opposes it.
Pakis and Bangladeshis as a whole nation stand up to eliminiate us- religiously and politically.

Mannu said...

u are invited to observe the difference for yourself,buddy:-
When the Malegaon blast case is investigated, the hindu fundamentalist lot is reaseached out by the hindu police officials, the Samjhota-express blast case is suo-moto taken up links and connections. The muslim community-- in the form of Police Commissoner of Mumbai, the Vice President of India, the Minority welfare minister like Mr AR Antulay-- remain witness, bear testimony- to the secular and non-biased credentials of this Secular, Justice-oriented nation.
The pakistanis are themselves going to rewards and praise all the perpetrators for all heinous acts commited in India in future, like they have done in the past.
Musharraf himself admitted the Kargil thing in the book many years later. Masood Azhar and Dawood are hiding with them- the LeT, the JuD- people are nabbed by police with possessions of training CDs, the pak built Handgrenades, the Assualt rifles-- and still no investigations!?!?
On the other side of my borders, there are no witness who bear testimony to actions to thwart my killing.
And please pacify up our emotions-- there is nothing a matter of statue right in this-- it is needs-- the needs of hour to do that whole 'Trust Building' thing that Ela talks of, and perhaps you show your appreciation to.

-=A.R.N.=- said...

I guess the biggest problem is when you start comparing any issue as between "us" and "them"; because any way you look at it, human instinct always wants to believe that "we" are better than "them".

This has always been exploited by politically vested interests and religious extremist groups who perceive that "they" are out to get "us" unless stopped. And I must say, with quite a bit of success, judging by your comments (and a lot of your blog posts as well):
Do you really think its just Hindus or Christians or Muslims that are killed everytime there is a bombing?

Or do you think there's a whole community high-fiving each other because people are dead?

I mean come on! If the Mumbai attackers were "out to eliminate your lot" as you fear, why pray tell, were they asking for American and British citizens???
I'm no expert but I'm guessing there's not a lot of hindus there

Let's face it, the ONLY "us" in this battle are the people: not hindus, not muslims, not Tamils, not Marathis...US ALL, versus "them" - the terrorists...and there is NO religious split you can hope to make and still solve the problem. If you choose to include or exclude 'my lot' or 'my people' against 'your fight', you're only fooling yourself.

And dude, regarding your comment of statistics and the "socially-the-largest-standing-to-kill" please do open your mind to a history of more than just a few decades!
Which, has been the most violent religion in all of recorded history...the one that killed around 6million Jews just because they were Jews?
Which religion systematically killed people (accused of heresy) in the name of Upholding the Holy office as Inquisition?
Which religion conquered and plundered the wealth of Africa in the name of "Bringing the black man to the Word of God"?

These are the real facts. Of course, I'm a realist so I'm not blaming all of Christianity for these acts.

But like you said over enlarging a fact, or underdimishing it, u earn this power to mould the actual point into any figure you like.

Perception alters reality.
And you, my friend, are percieving exactly what our communal forces want you to.

Mannu said...

Thanks ARN, for the words, i alsodo sincerely believe in. Infact i am also from the lot of people who believe in total Detachment as well, what in 'Gita' is called 'nir-moh'(disinterested) and Buddhism is called 'nirvana'.
So every time I used the word Us, them, we-- it was desired to mean the group of people who are complete Individuals, but sincere enough to understand the human needs and the requisites of social living, perhaps something above the Communal living. There there is nothing communal- or Religious-- invested my my pronouns- us, we, them, they.
I hope you continue holding 'us' as 'the people' only, going on your own description.
"Not blaming the entire Chritianity for it" --has big connotations. I wish we all get into the depths of uderstanding the bigger meaning of this statement. probably the more significant and analytical statement you made.
Thanks, and best wishes. It is convincing enough.