Indian officials lack humanity over graves

After one week in our world, I’m reeling. On going famine in Somalia; the Libyan rebels capture the world’s imagination as they hunt for Gaddafi (a worthy distraction – as the scramble for the country’s oil wealth begins); Israel bomb Gaza after Hamas lashes out (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud points out that Israel initiated the tension to distract from protests) and more violence in Karachi (as the officials do what they do best: nothing). Alas, what can they do when they lack both the character and the calibre?

The tragic events, and the brackets that follow do little to explain the sorry state of our world. It’s been one hell of a week, one hell of a month, one hell of a year, one hell of a decade. You might know it, I might know it – but most of the world’s screams fall on deaf ears.

Nevertheless I am going to raise my voice about this. Someone, somewhere where in Kashmir, a mother or father, or wife or sister or family is screaming and wondering whether those unmarked graves hold their flesh and blood.

Something that Indian officials have said on the discovery of those bullet-ridden bodies has made me feel sick. In an article by “Agencies” published in the The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011 – a horrifying thought let alone words said out loud.

“Indian officials have repeatedly claimed that those buried in unmarked graves were militants – most of those Pakistanis – who were killed in clashes with security forces.”

I’m not contesting India’s right to deal with supposed Pakistani militants nor am I supporting militancy – but both Indian and international human rights organizations have shown that the people being killed by security forces are not always militant. Surely that is not the point? How about some common decency and respect? Where is India’s humanity in all this?

Militant or not and lost to loved ones wondering about them for goodness knows how long, these nameless bodies deserve more than the official Indian response so far. What the Indian officials have said is a potent remark about their take on the value of human life.

It would seem that to them, these bodies, these lives, these people mean nothing – just something to gun down in the name of security. That is just wrong. Journalists down playing this by saying these graves should not come as a surprise to us also wrong. This is shocking and let it be so. This is horrible.

Surely India will not be as crude as to allow this to be another number to be added to the many numbers that already exist in the Kashmir “dispute”? Such a mediocre word that does no justice to the on-going nightmare the people of Kashmir now wake up to along with graves holding people they may know.

Do these bodies not deserve an ounce of respect? Do they not deserve to be laid to rest? Do the families living in limbo not deserve to know what happened to their loved ones?

So I will say the thing that I am not supposed to say. If this was the other way around and countless unmarked graves had been discovered in Pakistan – the whole world would be screaming and they wouldn’t be wrong in doing so.

In no way am I saying that Pakistani officials would do anything about it – they are just as useless, as surprisingly the Indian officials are. What I’m pointing out is the whole world would be incarcerating us and would be right to. I’m sure at the very least, we’d be apologizing to someone if not the world. Why is more pressure not being put on India?

The people of those graves, regardless of they’ve what they’ve done or haven’t done should be dealt with more humanity. They deserve our respect and certainly something more than to be an unexplained corpse in an unmarked grave.

Every single person in this world deserves more than that – but sadly millions and millions will never have it and the bodies discovered in India are a poignant and explicit testimony to that and the character and calibre we lack. (Therein lies our world – our godforsaken world).


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