My heart’s weeping! I can’t control it. I don’t remember the last time when I felt this deep sorrow. May be when I broke-up with my girlfriend. No, this is different. This pain wasn’t inflicted on me directly. This is not a selfish sorrow. I’m weeping inside for those 84 lives that were crushed to death yesterday. This pain’s genuine, something I had never felt so deeply in the past. Not when the Twin Towers of New York were brought down killing almost 3,000 people. Not when a 1,000 people were massacred in Gujarat. Not when Paris was attacked on the premise of a cartoon.
Millions have died in wars ever since civilization came into being. People have been crucified, shot dead, slayed, cut into pieces, beheaded, torched, burnt alive, stoned for not fault of theirs. Yet, what happened in Nice, France on Bastille Day 2016 is different and scary at the same time.
All these years we knew terrorists as people who barged into restaurants and public places opening indiscriminate fire at people. We knew that planes could be hijacked and sometimes terrorists freed the passengers in exchange of their own people previously arrested by the states. We knew terrorists as gun-wielding men with faces wrapped in cloth, as brainwashed people who wouldn’t think twice about bombing themselves.
It’s 2016 and it’s high-time we redefine who a terrorist is. It’s time we recognize that terrorism is not something that is prevalent in a few African, Asian and Middle-East countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Mozambique, Morocco etc. Terrorists are no more organized. The days of Al-Qaeda are gone! That group at least depended on what one man said and wanted. Modern-day terrorists are not controlled by any one single authority. These are people who believe so much in one ideology that they can go to any extent in order to live up to their ideologies.
We have seen the rise of Islamic State. Journalists were beheaded, women and children were raped and used like commodities, kafirs or non-believers were shot dead without any mercy. At its peak, Islamic State commanded large swathes of land across Syria and Northern Iraq. They had even occupied cities like Mossul. However, strong attacks by Russian, US and NATO forces have cornered the Caliphate. In fact, Islamic State is slowly conceding that the days of the Caliphate are passe. It may look like a good sign, but the demise of the Caliphate has turned out to be a double-edged sword.
The leaders of the Islamic State have ensured that they leave no stones unturned in their fight for Wahabbi Caliphate. The members have apparently been asked to go underground and choose their own missions and fight their own fights. There’s no one giving orders on a satellite phone. There are no Skype chats required. Members have turned into sleeper cells who can activate themselves when they feel like. And this is what makes every one of them more dangerous and less predictable than Osama bin Laden himself. The enemy doesn’t have one face anymore!
We should be scared and wary of our surroundings. They can possibly be around us right now! They, blinded by ideologies and radicalism, can go on a killing spree depending on their moods. Irrespective of whether the Tunisian driver of the truck was inspired by Islamic State or not, we now have seen a form of killing that’s unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.
Today morning, when I saw a post shared by a friend on Facebook, I ignored it thinking some mad fellow had driven over people on a footpath. We’ve seen enough of such cases in India. It was around noon when I learnt about this from a colleague of mine. I rushed back to my seat and searched the web for a news story. I picked a news report published by an Indian newspaper daily and started reading about the incident. I was only done with half-article when I felt a shiver. There were goosebumps. My body went numb for a while as my mind froze. The stories were shocking and heart-wrenching. Tears filled my eyes as I read about a photograph that showed a doll lying next to a child. 84 people killed, mowed down and crushed by a truck. People who were celebrating freedom. In a nation that’s known to have one of the best levels of freedom. 84 people who wouldn’t have got the time to even realize what’s happening around. 84 people who didn’t know why they died under a truck’s wheels.
My heart’s still weeping..