Monday, December 06, 2004

faith is an island in the setting sun

True funny stuff everyone seems to be missing: Arrested Development... seriously, man, why isn't anyone watching this show? I don't laugh out loud that often when I'm watching television, but this show has me in stitches regularly.

True voicemail left on Friday afternoon by my friend A stuck in NJ suburbia:
Hey, it's A, I was just calling because I needed to talk to somebody who does not have a baby or is putting an addition on their house.
I didn't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the poor guy.

And now for the verbal vomit:

True things that are killing me right now: the pliability of a mob and the persistence of ignorant hatred. I was reading about this today, and I remembered distinctly when this all transpired, even though it was so long ago, and I am, in so many countless ways, removed from events that unfold in India.

My parents are pretty devout Hindus. When we were young, I remember that my father wanted us to get involved with the VHP, mainly because it was a Hindu group mobilizing in the US. He thought it would be a good way for us to be educated about Hinduism. Fortunately, I had already been swimming in Indian religious texts, both child-oriented and otherwise. We spent only a brief time with VHP-associated people, but it didn't take long to see that they were isolationists. I continue to be baffled by people who move to the US to congregate solely with other Indians and Hindus, but I lack the fire I once had to get up in arms about it.

I want to rant and rave about this in a long post, but there is really no sense to it. I feel I am amply tolerant of other people and their beliefs, but I will never tolerate the way the VHP mobilized and defended the destruction of a place of worship in Ayodhya. I don't know any devoutly Hindu person that can defend this on the basis of their religion.

But mostly, when I think about it really carefully, I am so very grateful to live, to have been raised, in a place where I have never had the social pressure to feel the kind of prejudice that fuels such violence. It's easy for me, in the safety I've enjoyed, to decry this kind of blind hatred. But it seems clear that I have no clear way of conceiving what sorts of tragedies lead to such a deep-seated sense of separatism and antagonism... Kosovo, Rwanda, Gujarat, Jerusalem... I have no true understanding of how these things get started and can't seem to be stopped, no matter how many books I read about it, how many pictures I see capturing it, how many accounts I hear told of it. And I have to say, I feel strangely fortunate to lack the ability to comprehend it.

No comments: