Sunday, July 24, 2011

The shot and the hot

I paused at the beautiful sound of Church choir singing while surfing the TV channels, taking a break from the usual blood and gore of Animal Planet. Funny how the church choir always sound so familiar and ‘similar’ irrespective of the language of the hymns. Then the conductor went into hyper activity but the choir’s voice raised slowly, melody that made the hair on my body stand up. It was beautiful as it was mildly haunting, I wish I could record it and listen to it. While the camera captured the view of the hall from the ceiling, the painted glass windows, the white walls, the high ceiling, the long arched windows lighting up the whole place. It was a soothing sight only if you managed to overlook some of the people in the congregation weeping and turn a blind eye to the title displayed underneath; this was the Reuters relayed “Mass for Sadness and Hope” on the CNN and the BBC 11:00am Oslo time.

The Norwegians insist that this not be referred to as a memorial service but a “mass” as there were people who were still missing at the Utoya island and maybe even alive. A solemn Bishop Kvarme spoke for a while, followed by a speech by a lady, possibly someone at a high position in the church. The twin tragedy of an otherwise peaceful Norway has shocked the world. There was an explosion in government headquarters and then the killings at the Utoya island where a government youth group had gathered. At first one wonders why someone would kill nearly a 100 odd teenagers. The answer is not difficult to understand; ideological differences. The guy was against the multi-culture favourism of the present Norway government. We’re never far away from such right-wing bigots. From what I read of it in the papers, the killer, ___ is a right-wing activist and otherwise seemed like a decent, ‘well-dressed’, ‘well-educated’ person and doesn’t have any history of violence. My faith in the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” stands reaffirmed and in the same vein, “a man by his clothes or his appearance or his charm” as they said ages ago “appearances are often deceptive”; the mind stands above all.

They say that the macabre he’s responsible for was carried out in cold-blood over a period of an hour and a half. He was dressed as a policeman and called out to the fleeing people to come to him, telling them that he was there to help them. The teenagers, confused in the panic about where the bullets were coming from, rushed to him and he calmly raised his gun and shot them down. He used this strategy again and again. There was nowhere to hide. People who tried escaping by jumping into river to swim away were also shot dead. A few that escaped after they went into hiding narrated how the killer kept roaming around calmly calling out to people who were hiding, confidently and calmly killing those he saw.

What causes people to get so possessed, we know of similar thing that happened in the holocaust in Germany, in form of atrocities on blacks in South Africa (and now on the whites there), in the form of communal violence and acts of terrorism that have and still rock our nation every now and then. We have right-wingers sitting in the parliament, some of them educated from the top universities in the world, where they arm themselves with the guns of wisdom-of-the-world and start their subliminal insinuations of hate in the mind of the common man, gradually making them pawns of their agenda. The ferocity with which the Communal Violence Act is being opposed speaks volumes of our leaders. Having taken lessons from the past, the Act is centered on “punishing officials” who do not carry out their duties of taking measures to protect the innocent amongst the minorities who are targeted in pogroms and to bring unbiased, speedy justice for the victims. No religion whatsoever has promoted the spirit of brotherhood despite false claims from all sides. We all still brew hatred for each other in the name of religion, caste and region in this modern era of a hog-wash that we call “progress”.

Meantime thought it better to switch back to watching the blood and gore of Nat-Geo Wild Channel, which is less grotesque that the filth of man.

By the way, Amy Winehouse died at 27 years of age the day before. This is about the only space I can allocate for her on this post, which is a little more in proportion than what The Tribune allocated for this news in some godforsaken middle page. I liked her and after winning 5 Grammys in one night, everyone always thought she’d go down amongst the legends of music as the decades pass. Sadly, drugs and alcohol got the better of her. No one knows yet how she died, as I type this, her body is probably being cut open and her internal organs, being removed and sampled for the cause of death. We’ll soon know why she died but then again, how does it matter anymore! But right now, the question tickling my mind is this “What the hell do these docs who carry out autopsies think when they see celebrities in all their glory on the screen?”

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