There is a trending story about African students who were beaten up by a mob in the streets of Bengaluru, the capital city of Bangalore, India. I was filled with compassion for them and for an Indian woman whose death sparked the mob rage.
As is usual, high profile cases about assault do not provide answers of an existential nature: The stories are usually hinged on the justice system which tells people point blank dos and donts without explaining the reasoning behind the laws or regulations.
Hopefully, I will be able to sustain this and also suggest some food for thought about how we can help reduce hate crime based on religion, race, caste, tribe etc. But first,
What Really Happened in Bengaluru?
It is alleged that a Sudanese man hit a 35year old woman in a car accident that claimed her life. Quite sad!
NB: I am not going to put the microscope under the untimely death of the woman, but the fact that she lost her life is a substantial concern in itself and the Sudanese driver should be prosecuted. Her untimely death appeals to all of us and is understood clearly. I will instead address a controversial incident that followed the accident.
This incident and claims about curious activities such as some Africans often smoking “weed” near temples are said to have culminated in long term societal frustration that saw its chance on some passerby African students about half an hour after the accident.
An increasingly growing mob stopped a car which was passing through the same neighborhood in which the 35 year old woman had died. It was not hard to put two on two for the Africans in that SUV who then tried to escape a crowd which had taken to the streets to solicit justice. It is claimed, without any rebuttal, that the victims of this atrocity had no relation whatsoever with the Sudanese who had hit the woman in an accident. I feel compelled to add that it would not have been justified still had the mob assaulted the Sudanese who had hit the 35 year old woman.
Anyway, the guys in the SUV managed to force their way through despite random beatings by the mob. Sadly, it was not the case for a 22 year old Tanzanian girl. Her clothes were torn off by the mob and she was beaten up mercilessly. Naked, she tried to save her dignity by running into a bus but the people in the bus pushed her back to the mob for more beating. She even tried her luck with some auto rickshaws but it seemed as if the community had made up its mind. Oh, wait!
There is a guy- he must have been passing by- who offered his shirt to the naked girl after which he suffered the rage of the mob. Furthermore, the Tanzanian girl’s car was set ablaze sometime in all this.
Now, where was the police in all this? It is claimed that some policemen were just watching from a distance- a euphemistic way of saying they were doing nothing or, as is the thinking of many commentaries of this incident, endorsing the mob pseudojustice.
Follow this link to read the full story.
What Needs To Happen & Why.
The evil of men transcends race, sexual orientation, tribe, nation; it is a common problem and is least solved by making glaring lines about differences as is the case in how news is reported. We give evil various names so much that we lose the meaning of it and the understanding of how it is the same entity mutating.
The Sudanese man should be prosecuted according to the laws of the land, independent of the issue with the Tanzanian girl. If it was recklessness on his part, he must own up. There need not be any emphasis on where he comes from as this is not a reasonable factor in the accident.
Justice for the Tanzanian girl should have been granted without an appeal from the Tanzanian consulate. There is no justification whatsoever for the perpetrators’ actions and there needs to be personal responsibility on the perpetrators’ part.
I was hesistant about adding the folowing fact as I understand how it may sound coming from a foreigner but beating, stripping off clothes and flogging of women in the streets is not uncommon in India. I point this out not to mock anyone; the same evil expresses itself in miscellaneous shades in regions across the world. It is high time we all listen in to constructive criticism and think objectively on how we can go about to better the life of the random individual.
The issue with the girl from Tanzania attracted so much attention. Let this be the case next time it happens when the victims are locals. Speak out to protect any life! If a random Indian citizen could risk the rage of a mob by offering his shirt to a stranger from Tanzania, what of a girl in your neighborhood? There are plenty of people who are compassionate. Join hands! Speak out against injustices.
Mob psychology is simply that- Psychology! In the mob were people whose lives have the potential to be bettered by you and me. They are your cousins, neighbors, brothers etc. Let us put upon ourselves the responsibility to help them see sense. When you dine with your family, talk to them about the need for love, respect and the sanctity of life. It is evil when we see evil and look the other way.
People should be cautious about how they comment on this issue. You can either be reactive and be a part of the problem and pile up your frustration and resentment on the issue with threats and diplomatic smart talk in facebook videos or you can be proactive and start to talk in hopeful terms. You can communicate on a good premise but if your expression is to insult or coined as such, it makes people cling onto the beliefs that you will be wanting to advise against and your best intentions would just be a matter of exchanging one demon for another.
Communicate in such a way that shows that you understand how elastic the human mind is and that even the worst of us have hope of change.
The justice system can only sustain us for a time but it is the emphasis on human dignity that can help not only in India but all across the world.
When you understand that the whole world has good and bad people alike, you get a step closer to seeing the ultimate picture. I always listen in to news from across the world, taking notes in such a way that I form a worldview that it beneficial for me, benign to the next person, and based on the aspects that are truest to my nature. Aspects such as love, care, hope etc. I challenge you to do the same.
I have met not-so-welcoming people in India, but I have also suffered myriad injustices at the hands of my own people in Zimbabwe. I have had benign friends in Zimbabwe and it is the same in India. Actually, an Indian friend of mine helped me prepare for my supplementary exam this past week. I would have forfeited my scholarship had I flunked that exam. It is the same case everywhere. The common denominator is the understanding of the sanctity of the individual and the ubiquitous depravity of humanity.
Furthermore, consider this: If a society objects to reservations for foreign students in Indian universities, it is a creditable concern and everyone can have take home ideas from that. I point this out because there are people who feel that way.
The African should understand what a privilege it is to study, especially if you are on a scholarship that could have helped put an Indian through university. He should be responsible and make allowances for any hardships he may face on the hands of people who would not understand him but at the same time intelligently voicing against any prejudice and helping people see reason. He should localize his activities, respect religious places and try by any means not to step on any toes.
Moreover, his conduct with the locals should speak volumes against any stereotypes about his identity that may be flying around in that area. This is a characteristic of someone who has learnt about life.
Dropping coins in a McDonald’s cup for a physically handicapped person has more to do with humanity than nationality. Be consistent in the ideas that you uphold and in the conduct that you wish everyone could have. Smile at the cleaner guy and make him feel like he is part of the census because he is. Greet the security guard in his language sometimes and so on. When you do this, you are being consistent with your own good character and also giving people a chance to view your country, race, tribe and, most importantly, you as an individual.
The Indian society, or any society thereof, should get a clear picture about government policy so as to avoid frustration. In the light of reservations for foreign students, the government should explain why this is imperative. In case you do not know, university ranking is partly a function of foreigners enrolment and student’s exchange programs and bilateral scholarships help in international favor banks which are very critical for every country.
The final point I would like to make is that evil and frustration can be passed from one person to another. The challenge is as much to educate the perpetrator of a hate crime as it is to counsel the victim. Help the perpetrators to understand morality and help the victim to retain morality.
That is how we can change the world!
PS: Errors In Thinking.
If you are an adherent follower of my blog posts then you are probably familiar with what I am going to say.
In principle, newspaper articles are supposed to shape a society into a thinking that is relevant to the contemporary world based on the aspects that are truest to humanity or moral imperatives.
If you are familiar with the enquiry about Morality as an existential issue then you understand how important it is that we watch where we hinge the trust that a person will do right by his neighbor.
The justice system comes up with laws and regulations; I call this Systemisation. Now, if laws are not understood and point blank enforced, this may only sustain justice for a time before the system loses leverage as people become resentful of authority. I would want to believe that humans are a proud spieces and that this is a huge challenge to how we go about organising a society.
You must understand this, morality is not based in thin air. It is not an arbitrary belief system whatsoever. It is emperically verifiable. Respect, love, care, help etc. are aspects that are truest even to the worst of hearts. It is quite sad that virtually the whole world does not try to explain this to the masses.
Understanding The Sanctity Of Individual Life.
One of the greatest challenges of our epoch is the lack of emphasis on the worth of the individual life. Arbitrary geographical borders and religious errors and misconceptions have created groups and strengthened belief systems which have given people a pseudo identity within their groups.
This thinking has given us Zimbabwe, Algeria, China, New Zealand, India, Bhutan etc. Geography serves a purpose but when it is not understood it becomes very dangerous.
This also holds for race, ethnicity, tribes etc. Differences in complexion, anatomy, gender, eye colour etc. are nothing past arbitrary identities but this is never seen as such.
When that Tanzanian girl was enduring the beating by the mob, what do you think was going on in her mind? I would want to think that she yawned for respect of her dignity, not that she was a Tanzanian. The aspects we appeal to most have more to do with our humanity than cultural, religious and national identities.
In South Africa xenophobic assaults are quite common, sometimes countrywide pro-xenophobia campaigns. These atrocities happen between people of the same race, a different shade of the predicament in Bengaluru. Atrocities and the depravity of men are ubiquitous.
Could it be that the crisis we face and the atrocities are a result of a glitch in our belief systems and or an error in our thinking up the justice system?
The best way to protect people from each other is to make each one realize his worth. Someone who understands his sanctity would never violate that of another because he knows how important it is to him and thus to the next person. Do societies give people a sense of self worth? Do the isms teach people to do to others as they would want others to do to them? This is important because frustration is often borne by the lack of understanding of this.
If differences are not understood, they become a danger to the stability of a society. I often tell people about the error in thinking that we should ignore our differences. The world comprises different races; within races different tribes; within tribes, societies and so on.
I have a hypothesis I often use to illustrate the approach which I think is imperative for resolving differences. Imagine a child having red and yellow marbles and discriminating against red ones as she plays with them. Now, you can tell the child, point blank, not to discriminate against the red marbles and that the marbles are the same but the the difference in the marbles will always be apparent to her and, more is the pity, not understood.
The best approach is to acknowledge the difference in the marbles and then go on to explain how they serve the same function and that she should feel comfortable playing any of the marbles. This way the child will have understood and she can have a justified sense of preference should she prefer any, which would be okay.
If you understood the last part right then you have an idea of the challenge that the current approach against racism, homosexuality or other differences has. In case you missed that last one, I am a black African and my expectation should be nothing more than to be acknowledged as a dignified human being by anyone or say a girl of another race who may not prefer to date me. Her preference must be upheld in the same light as I would want my preference about the girls I date to be hold. Sadly, this is never viewed as such by most frustrated people who would rather scream, “Racism,” at anything.
You may also want to read Planetary Mindset and http://%20https//ubasite.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/the-holy-grail-moral-imperatives/.