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Ahmed, a Rohingya refugee man cries as he holds his 40-day-old son, who died as a boat capsized in the shore of Shah Porir Dwip while crossing …

 One of my friends right now is in Bangladesh. He’s in the middle of having a shock to his soul or his sensibilities (if one doesn’t believe in a soul) due to having been invited to write an assessment for “ROHINGYA: Bangladesh Mission Report.”

Yes, it is hard to bear witness. It is hard to endure suffering and loss on behalf of others. One has to brace oneself and toughly steel up so as to not disassemble at having to bear witness at the extreme pain experienced by others. So he is pulling himself forward, and trying to stay whole and focused on his task while at Cox’s Bazaar, southeast Bangladesh, near the border with Myanmar.

Part of the way that he keeps himself intact is to simply focus on interviews of people and report writing. He tries to keep himself at bay from an overwhelming emotional response to the pain of others surrounding him.

He wanted to know about what I thought is going on for these mostly sad, displaced people. So I wrote: It is always the same old story since the beginning of life on this planet. Someone or something in one tribe, herd, flock, etc., wants something that another one has and, so, tries to take it. It is to protect phenome and genome so as to ensure that they go further in life. It is a classic example of othering. … This group were the outsiders and their land, resources, etc. were wanted by those in power (i.e., as happened with Israel, ancient Rome and so on). … Same as happens with Dalits, racism, etc. Goes back to prehistoric times. … Survival. … Evolution put this all in place and culture cemented it.

I had to tell him about the new murders at the Texas school. He is not in touch with news sources these days and, om account, didn’t know of this latest major US gun slaughter. And that kind of news is just like the one about killing another presumed beef eater. (Send the offended cow worshipers to the USA. They can either find work on a cow milk farm or try to kill the majority of people in the USA, who eat beef. And good luck to them trying to kill off the majority of 327 million people  — the beef eaters here.)

But it is NOT about beef. It is about the words that I shared with my friend in the text above. Many people just don’t like others from groups outside of theirs. One sees it in the USA repeated gun violence. One sees it in the knifing of others and  many other forms of brutality (i.e., rape of little children from another group) in India. Put another way, it is the same orientation of tribalism — support of one’s own self-identified group as opposed to being supportive of others perceived as loathsome outsiders the undesirables.

So what does one do in response? One supplies sympathy and material support for the displaced and harmed others, including provision of refugee camp grounds. (Thank you, Bangladesh government and citizens!) One bears witness and writes reports on some wrongful situations. One keeps on knocking at heaven’s door on Earth to try to provide a remedy. One keeps at the latter effort and relentlessly so because to cave into any major particular wrong means that it will continue and, obviously, that negligent response leads to no good outcome.

Part of the lyrics:

Mama take this badge from me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s getting dark too dark to see
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door, eh yeah

Mama put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That cold black cloud is comin’ down
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Cow Vigilante Group Beats A Muslim Man To Death … – Countercurrents

I am sorry for the presumed cow eaters in this above account (if indeed they did actually eat beef and that assumption wasn’t just used as a pretext for brutality)/ Whether they did or didn’t is not the issue and I’m sorry for my children — yes, they are mine — killed in Texas. I am sorry for the past ones harmed and murdered, and I am sorry for the future ones, too … the ones yet to be killed and severely harmed if not outright killed whether in the USA or another country.

A whole bunch of us, like my pained friend writing his mission report — have broken hearts. Yet we will not stop our tasks to serve despite that, on the surface, it seems easier to flee and not deal with the others who have been compromised and all but destroyed whether in India, the USA, Palestinian territories, Syria or many other places across the Earth.

One of my associates, a Catholic Worker who has laid his life on the line on behalf of others who were strangers to him, explained the situation well to me many years ago. He said that evil is like magma that keeps seeping up out of the Earth. As soon as you quell it in one place, it pops up in another and, so, the task to stop it is always relentless. Yes, indeed, or to use another metaphor, we all have to act like Hans and keep plugging the holes:

One especially knows that this action is needed when looking at these photos: Images for rohingya. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by the sense of misery, fear, insecurity, uncertainty and plight.

The fact is the short and uplifting Brave Hans video is a small bit amusing to me. It’s because there are not Alpine mountains in Holland, but who cares whether the cartoonist envisioned Switzerland or some other European nation for Holland? (I consider it creative license and like the visual results.) I, certainly, don’t mind the anomaly and neither does my daughter, a school guidance counselor in an elementary school of 350 children who she teaches to be the best that they can be out of themselves.

On account, this little movie can be the core learning — the backbone — of a lesson involving right values, self-empowerment, protection of others and so much more that it imparts so as to show both youngsters and adults the ways to be in life.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA

 

 

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    While thinking of how violence is perpetrated from ages, one should also think of ‘ how ‘ violence is perpetrated . The answer may not lie in binaries – the person causing violence and the one who is victim of violence. It is complex socio – cultural political economic problem