Free Fall

June 16, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Craig Rubadoux



Ananya S Guha

The Orlando shooting has devastated many lives and stunned both the United States and the world into remorseful silence. That the victims were gay people does not of course attenuate the tragedy, but begs the question: was it by design that people in a gay club were targeted?

The official reports say the work was that of a terrorist (obviously only a terrorist can indulge in such reprehensibility) but was not sure whether the assailant, who was subsequently killed, was part of an international network, or simply took it upon himself as a rabid conscience keeper to kill gay people.

The word terrorism strikes different chords in different places and countries. In India secessionist groups are variously described as terrorists, extremists or militants, depending upon which section of the people the government wants to assuage. In the context of this recent happening the fingers point to an international terrorist group. But the question is: why the people in a gay club? Was it because of the infraction of religious laws and purity? Was it simply to ‘terrorise’ people and say might is right? Or give out loud and clearly that ‘see this is what I can do in your house’?

Everyone knows that the more organised society is, the easier it is to harm and kill. If one is trigger happy one can barge anywhere and kill recklessly. Also the perpetrator knew that there was every chance that he would be killed if armed forces stormed the place – which they did. But then why did he still go on? Does ‘Terrorism’  inspire people to die and sacrifice themselves? If so how and why does this blind madness come to people? We have heard of suicide bombers and squads. Does fanaticism, belief in something make a person a terrorist, or insane, or totally devoid of feelings? And how on earth has this come to be associated with religious faith? People and religious groups who do not have any faith in such terror religiosity should openly come out and condemn it. Just a few words of condemnation, or lip service will actually abet further such crimes. In fact the word ‘crime’ pales into insignificance in front of such maddening actions.

If the action arose out of the wish to extirpate blasphemers the question is: by what authority? Whom do I represent? Who sanctions me to do it? If the answer is: the individual conscience or voice, then the fall out is that of a possibly terrorist riddled world every day, every hour or every second. And if the killer was part of an international organisation, then what message is it purporting? That we are one country, all over the world, wherever our people reside? Is this attainable or Utopian? Do Utopians also die senseless deaths, vanishing with their dreams of idolatry?

The Christian Church, like the Islamic, does not approve of licentious gays. Nor do many people in the world. But does that mean that you kill them, does that mean there should be genocide? This incident will have ramifications all over the world as gay liberties are being reviewed in countries. But what gain has taken place after the act? The person responsible for it has been decimated, but he has decimated the lives of hundreds of others – family members and friends of those killed. Perhaps the world is also silent because those victimised are deemed as serious aberrations in society, but the worst aberrations; criminals and murderers are also given a free trial.

We are living in a world where increasingly right and wrong are confounded with religion, orthodoxy and politics. Perhaps we have put the clock forward. Since nuclear proliferation is rampant, and disarmament a myth, where wars rage the world, individual killing are simply a speck in the ocean. We have been inured to living insensitive lives, we have been inured to corruption, decadent cultures and poverty. Slowly we adapt to even this – open murder, even though the media calls it mass killing. The paradox of living today is to accept the human condition of ‘free fall’. And acceptance be it, after the initial response of horror, condemnation and diatribes, where again unfortunately an entire religious community may be bashed.

In this world what does secularism imply when atavism of the worst kind rules the roost, all over the world? A man who had lived all his life in a multi racial country which he belonged dare do this. And such infidelity is not the first instance. We are confronted with the dialectics of secularism and racism/ jingoism/ terrorism. We are not confronted with moral values, rather their inversion to suit personal and community needs. We are not concerned with lives, but with deaths. Above all we seek soulful and wilful self destruction. But there will be those who will argue for the nothingness of such deaths, in front of the reality of times, bombing and killings in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Syria. We have perhaps to take stock of how sensitivity of mankind is perverse, how we are brutish animals in the race for armaments and aggrandisement, in the race for proliferation of arsenal. That makes Man a cog in a machine, an insignificant iota, in willing suspension of disbelief – in free fall. What does it matter if fifty gays are killed, maybe they deserved it?









Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha was born and brought up in Shillong, North East India. He has seven collections of poetry and his poems have been published worldwide. They have also been featured in several anthologies. He is also a columnist, critic and editor. He now is a Regional Director at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.


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