‘One man’s rebel is another man’s martyr’.
The words resonate in my mind every time I see people being killed in the name of boundaries which we call nation or religion or colour.
Days, decades, centuries pass by, but mankind has led itself to be ruled by the views of a few powerful people who have been loud and bold enough to show that they represent the views of the majority. And these people have ensured that their perceptions prevail even if that led to total annihilation of the few voices of dissent and disagreement.
The laws of the world of these people are primitive and unchanged. Either you accept their views or they will eradicate your existence. They have poisoned Socrates, crucified Jesus, assassinated Abraham Lincoln, shot dead Gandhi and Martin Luther King and will never stop in future to repeat these acts if the need arises.
Just a few years back, a leading world leader was loud enough in asserting that if we are not his friend then we were his enemy.
What does it all lead to- Short term success of some political or social or community figures and long term loss and pain for generations of innocent people.
Two unrelated incidences occurring thousands of miles apart, in the recent past have made me further believe in the fact that leaders drunk with naked power can only bring pain to this world while claiming of doing what is right for their nations.
In Canada, where I live, the ruling party, in the name of patriotism and love for the nation, proposes a bill that would create two tier citizenship- one for the people who are born here or adapt it completely by breaking links with their past. The other for the people who were born Canadians or have chosen to be Canadians but also would like to keep links with some other countries and keep a second marginal citizenship of other country too, called dual citizenship in legal terms.
If the latter second grade Canadian citizens, are proven to have been involved in acts of treason, which perhaps over a period of time, may be further interpreted to be speaking against Canada, then they will be dutifully deported from Canada to the country of which they have dual citizenship. Even if they would have had built all their roots in Canada and may have taken the dual citizenship, for as simple an issue as to avoid applying for visas and enable ease of transit whenever they visit their foster lands, a method that many immigrants use.
In India, Afzhal Guru, resident of one of the troubled regions created by the political tug-of-wars of powers to be in and outside India, was hanged for his alleged involvement in the attack on Indian Parliament. He was an ordinary citizen, who in his teens as a medical student, got disillusioned with the political unrest created in the early nineties in his province, joined a declared terrorist outfit, then got disillusioned with that outfit and surrendered to Indian forces, renounced his past life completely, got married and led a simple life till the ghosts of the past caught up with him again.
Whether he was actually involved in terrorist activities later or sympathized with them or was made a scapegoat to shows some action after the attack on Indian Parliament, is something which can be viewed in two different ways from the angle you are looking at the picture. However what seems to be evident is that his hanging, more than ten years after his arrest and in the circumstances that it was carried out, could not have created any positive result other than satisfying some political forces, even at the cost of alienating a group of people. Definitely it will not solve the Kashmir problem for India nor will prove India to be powerful.
In Canadian perspective when a person is accepted as a citizen, the acceptance is mutual, firm and final and same laws as it applies to all other citizens can easily apply and there is no need to create two tier or different level of citizenship, except to create political capital out of it.
In Indian perspective, when the person is already under legal control and it is known that his death will only alienate fellow citizens since his trial is still doubted by a group, then why not let him live as a captive than being hanged to be made a martyr and create further differences?
Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, King, all talk of an inner power which comes when one accepts, adapts and assimilates to differences. Its time our political, religious and community forces understand that and work to make this world a better place for mankind.