Vantage point

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Warning - Gaurav has been up all night working on a term paper, and is writing this before he will go to sleep at noon. He may be in a very cynical mood, so judge this post accordingly.

Question to myself...and to all of you reading this.

Do we really care? Do I really care? I mean seriously, all these "concerns" that we express about Iraqis dying in thousands because of sanctions and now this war, what use are all these if it is just lip service? Do we have the conviction to do something about it other than just take to the streets and dance with a few banners? Do we give a damn about what happens to Iraqis? I have never met an Iraqi in my life and I probably never will. My country or I have no influence over the way Saddam rules or the decision that Bush takes. Why should the Gulf War concern me more than...say a coup in some South Pacific island, or a massacre in know what I mean? We don't live in a fairy tale world. People are dying all around us. Indians are dying, be it from hunger, or murder, or disease, or even terrorism. Wherever you live, I am sure people are dying suffering too. Why am I showing this sudden concern for Iraqis? I should show a perpetual concern for the Kashmiris, the Gujaratis, the North East people, the slum dwellers, the millions in my country whose life is under a shadow of death all the time. I remember the pangs of sorrow I felt during the Kargil war, or during the Gujarat riots. That was when I was genuinely moved and really cared. Maybe because it was my countrymen who were involved. But right now the casualties, the losses, everything in Iraq touch me as much as deaths in a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" would.

I wonder if I am expressing properly what I want to say. Do you get me? I mean feeling bad for people dying in Iraq is OK and all up to a limit. But do I really care, deep down inside? And do you all really care? Or is this just one of those instincts where we feel bad for the underdog? After all these same Iraqis were dying in 1991 too. But then, Kuwait was the underdog.

Maybe I am too sleep deprived to be coherent. I should sleep now and wake up in six hours. Six hours hence India will play Kenya in the World Cup semifinal, and I will be brutally frank, I am worried more about the outcome of the match than about how many die in Baghdad on the first day of bombing.

Am I shallow? Am I callous? Am I selfish? Maybe!