Sunday, 15 November 2015

For A Hurting World

I have been saddened by the deluge of bad news the last few days. Innocent lives have been taken away so cruelly- In Iraq, In Syria, In France...I am scared to read the news, dreading what new tragedy might be playing itself out in some part of the world.
The world might have lost just a few of its inhabitants, but in the last few days some people lost what was the world to them. With each gun shot, with each explosion, a mother's heart was ripped apart, a husband lost his soul mate, a child became orphaned, a family lost its only source of income. A light was dimmed out, forever. 
As I write this, people mourn in different parts of the world. It's surreal, though, how grief is so carefully doled out, based just on where you were born. Each life lost is sacred, but we seem to assign different values to them. So we don't see a JeSuisBeirut, or a flood of Facebook photos in shades of the Syrian or Lebanese flags. We don't see 24/7 coverage of non-western suffering, or leaders falling over themselves to send their condolences and lend their support. There is no solidarity with non-Western pain. Why? 
Because all lives are not equal. Because if a mother in Syria lives in constant fear that her child can be bombed to death at any moment, her suffering is not the same as that of a mother in Paris who lost her child unexpectedly. Because if a people have been living through a conflict for a couple of years, their lives don't need remembering. Because an innocent life taken in a Parisian stadium is worth more that one in a Pakistani field. Because death by a terrorist's gunshot is worse than death by state sanctioned drones.
The threshold for global outrage and grief is a western life in a western land. Every other pain, every other suffering, every other drop of innocent blood spilled is just collateral damage. There is privilege in pain, even in death. As though man made boundaries and labels erase the fact that we all belong to one world and we all return to the same place.
My prayers for this world, for the hurting souls, for the lives ignored, for the smiles stopped short, for the hearts that stopped beating, for the hearts that were left bleeding, for the lands that are still reeling from being torn apart by its own people; for children without homes, and homes without children.
And because there is nothing more I can say now that can explain the sadness and confusion and dread that I am filled with, here's a poem I wrote some time back.
Dear World,
If you could stop
For a second-
Just a moment-
We need to talk
Right now.
I see cracks where
Men carved your skin,
Etching borders that
Starved your kids
Midst wars that bleed
Those who don’t even know
What they mean.
The world is in a whirl
And where do you start
Solving what’s tearing us apart
When your sight is met
With imagined borders that select
Who’s safe, who’s a threat. 
Your children are dying,
Your rivers are drying,
And I know you still turn
So sorrow never
Reaches your shore
You spin because
Standing still is
Letting grief stifle
From within. 
Dear World,
If you could stop
For a second-
Just a moment-
Let’s talk,
Right now, about
The End.

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