Hypocrisy! Thy Name is Mine
It was devastating news. The shooter had killed ten innocent people in Colorado. A few days ago, Atlanta was in the information for the same reason. I looked at the victims' names and heaved a sigh of relief when I did not find a Muslim name. More relieved I became when I found that the perpetrators were not Muslims. I thanked God for that.
But, I could not sleep the whole night. The TV images of victims kept on circling my mind. In the morning, I heard that the Colorado shooter had a Muslim name. The first thought that came to my mind was. Oh NO, here we go again.
In the above description lies an explanation of all the terror and violence that exist in our world. Most of us become attentive to violence and its victims based on our ethnic, cultural, linguistic, geographical, or racial we have with them. Our closeness to them determines the intensity of our reactions the loudness of cries.
Our reaction is selective. We value the life of one closer to us in any way more than others'. If the victim is a Muslim from India and I happen to be a Muslim of India, I would be quicker, sadder, and spontaneous in my reaction. If the victims were a Hindu upper-caste, I would react differently, and if the victim is a Dalit, I may not react at all. In other words, I am a hypocrite. My proclaimed commitment to the sanctity of human life is false. I am selfish. I care for myself. How many of us identify and empathize with the victims of terror and violence regardless of their identity?
If we had valued human life, we could not have allowed slavery, holocaust, displacement of Palestinians, and Dalits' ostracization. All of us claiming to represent religions, political ideologies, and human rights philosophies would be together to defend human life. But we are not. We are indifferent to the sufferings of fellow humans. Our apathy comes from an education system and orientation that emphasizes our differences with others and promotes the notion of our superiority. We convince ourselves that we are the best and others are inferior. Why should we cry for inferiors if they are the victims, and why should we not defend the perpetrators if he is from amongst us?
When we support others in need, we focus on dividends in social, political, and religious areas to gain a better rating or image.
Our education comes from families, schools, and religious or secular education. We are free by birth, but as we grow, our sectarian traditions and values imprison us, and we start differentiating among humans like us.
Our hypocrisy is hurting us. Our institutions are failing us and our values and leading us to chaos and violence. We have to analyze our hypocrisy first before we point our fingers at others. But we live in a world where all fingers are at others. People continue to suffer, yet our self-imprisonment does not allow us to unshackle our chains.