Ending terrorizing ourselves

Friedman has a beautiful piece on America’s priorities and the precariousness of the national psyche. In his OP-ED in times, Friedman talks about

my president, whose agenda can be derailed at any moment by a jihadist death cult using exploding underpants.”

And

what does the war on terror give us? Better drones, body scanners and a lot of desultory T.S.A. security jobs at airports. “Sputnik spurred us to build a highway to the future,” added Mandelbaum. “The war on terror is prompting us to build bridges to nowhere.”

This dangerous balance of the nation’s priorities was not reached in a day. The military-media-government-industrial-religious complex works the 24 hour news cycle, 365 days a year to push the society to a nervous state of fear. I think this article is very important in an American and Indian context. Policy makers should have the courage to make decisions which may not go well with the mob’s opinion, and the mob should understand that every news story is trying to prepare them to go to war. Such an understanding might help in realizing why the Indian left opposed making a missile man the country’s president, why Narendra Modis are always wrong even when they build spectacular highways, why every speculative article about Chinese aggression in India’s cess-pool broadcasters is not harming China but contaminating our national psyche, why we shouldn’t fight terrorists ourselves in our drawing rooms and facebooks and twitters, but leave that jobs to men who are paid for that, and why we should switch off the television sets and burn that copy of Times of India. The fight between the right and the left is not about 542 seats in the house, but about half a billion young minds in the making, and that’s why the Republic Day parade where missiles are displayed should be banned. Then may be we will create a country where the ‘mind is without fear’.

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7 Responses to Ending terrorizing ourselves

  1. Deepak January 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    A very relevant reminder this is. This issue of carving your life style out of fear rather than hope is not only at the international level, but evident down to family and even personal life. Bottled water would be my mascot for this phenomenon.

  2. Naga January 19, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    In a heated conversation that I had with an activist friend of mine, a throwback to the college days that was, I was asked “what then are the poor in the world living for when everything around them is hand in glove to ensure that they are further pushed down the path of depravity”, I don’t exactly know why I said this but then I did, “Because there is HOPE”.

    Whether it is the tribal footsoldier of the Maoist clan at the one end or the die-hard religious fundamentalist ready to blow himself up at the other, I think there is this existence of HOPE; the hope of a better tomorrow.

    There is a Mani Ratnam movie ‘Kannathil Muthamittaal’ – Nandita Das plays the loyal, fierce LTTE comrade and she points to this hope when she says “Nalla kaalam varum” (a good future would come).

    This might be eternal optimism but may be that’s what gives us the kick to begin afresh every day.

    And I am Hopeful!

  3. Sreeram.H January 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Cant help quoting one of my favorite quotes(via Noam Chomsky) here

    “And you can’t say that they control the media, because they are the media”

    — Sreeram.H

  4. scorpiogenius January 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    Is Dr. APJ just a missile man? I think its like crediting Albert Einstein as the nuke-man… I’m unhappy, see —> 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    @ topic, isn’t the parade an exhibition of our strengths? I think it goes on in every country during one of their national days; I remember the Chinese Parade being reported by our press where they showcased some of their new artillery. Well, power is pride. 🙂

    Happy Republic Day BVN…

  5. BVN January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Scorpio, you APJ lover, do you know he is an alien? and parliament building is a space shuttle? 🙂

    to answer your point Rajnikant is a philanthropist, but I call him an actor. APJ is a muslim, reads Gita, vegetarian – but he is the ‘missile man’ right? Isnt that how we know him. Isnt that why he was made President. I dont see Madhavan Nair making it to Prez.

    As far as the parade goes, China is wrong, North Korea is wrong, and thats not an excuse. With the highest number of undernourished children and illiterate citizens, dont you think the national priorities should be showcased, rather than gleeful gimmicks of super power delusion.

  6. scorpiogenius January 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    hmmm, very BVN-esque, I bow 😉

    But saar the last para (in response to me) appear a rewording of the British fretting about our Space programme. Our miseries shouldn’t always come in the way of our progress and pride. Considering the fact that India is surrounded by not-so-amicable neighbours isn’t it a surviving necessity to keep our cartridges refilled and exhibited? Remember what Charles Darwin said? We need to at least act like a bully to stay put in today’s times, yeah?

  7. bvn January 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    I agree, not on the pride side, but on the fact that we shouldn’t let our current issues foreshadow our future. To quote from the post “Sputnik spurred us to build a highway to the future,” added Mandelbaum. “The war on terror is prompting us to build bridges to nowhere.”. As a country I think we should be displaying our Sputniks and not cruise missiles. Even North Korea has long range missiles, and I wonder whats Dear Leader Kim Jong trying to say. America doesn’t display missiles on July 4th, that doesnt mean Iran will attack the 5th Fleet. I think we should stop this practice and show to the world that we are better than North Korea.

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