Sunday, October 2, 2016

Turbulent times

This post is long delayed, and hence covers a lot of mileage, due to long journeys, all through troubled parts. Although, just about everywhere is troubled these days, including, home. It's more a case of troubled times than troubled parts.

July was Europe: Slovenia, France and Germany. Summer in Ljubljana was beautiful, flowers everywhere, and dragon statues on the bridge. However, there was shocking news  every night. Bombs in Turkey, terrorist attacks in Nice and Rouen, terrorist attacks in Munich, protests in Berlin. The streets looked deceptively peaceful, but the long lines in airport security and the number of policemen in the streets gave clues to the tense state of affairs. There was a huge protest outside the Berlin Hauptbahnoff. Angela Merkel's humanitarian generosity was provoking xenophobic backlash. (There were anti-protest protests too. Good for those guys).

August was the U.S: blue skies, fresh air and the Rocky mountains. All looked idyllic, but the presidential race was hotting up. Xenophobia and misogyny were rearing their ugly heads again. Who knows what the election results will throw up, and whom it will affect? No country is truly sovereign these days, as everyone knows.

September was back home again. Dead silence in the newspapers on Kashmir, despite numerous indications of trouble. The Uri attacks and `surgical strikes' blew the lid on the bottled hysteria. All the chest thumping nationalism was woefully similar to that seen in other parts of the world. Saner voices were dubbed `anti-national', exactly like elsewhere. Xenophobia, and a preoccupation with immediate interests, seems to have become a worldwide theme.

The pictures belie the simmering discontent. All looks so pretty and so peaceful. Maybe that is the real truth, and  all the turmoil is superficial and  a passing phase. The pundits claim the world is becoming more peaceful, not less. Otherwise, as ordinary citizens, we are fearful. Let's hope the learned ones have got it right!

This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.