DO LOOK and consider the large number of Jewish protesters who came out against Israel's invasion of Gaza. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, and a great deal more to stand up to your own.

HURT PEOPLE hurt people. Sitcoms often embed such profound statements in their deep conversations.

But by the time the part of your brain that deals with serious stuff takes notice and seeks to come online, immediate comic relief meant to break tension ends it back to sleep. 

For instance, Tobias Funke's above observation about the hurt people hurting people in Arrested Development is quickly followed up by his mother-in-law, Lucille Bluth's ''Oooh, that's nice, I always say, '' Make people cry...... make people cry,'' but yours includes the people who don't want to give you the satisfaction. ''

And just like that, your attention is drawn away from a profound observation about human nature and condition.

The fact is we take many things for granted.  For instance, a victim of abuse must act in a high-minded and thoughtful manner. But do victims owe anything to others? Why should they?

Of course, cognitive consonance would suggest you see your suffering in that of others and desist from piling on. Not to mention, victimizing others is terrible, and your victimhood does not give you license to victimise others.

Then there is the matter of imagined victimhood and that of a sense of victimhood by association. At one point in time, your grandad was subjected to mental or physical torture by someone, you were not, and nor did you get along with him.

But you appropriate their suffering and make it your own. This is particularly important when a political force wants to weaponise the collective real or imagined grievances of a nation, people or community.

We mortals are creatures of our circumstances. Without even realizing we accept so many constructed sentiments and prejudices as part of our base programming.

Take, for instance, the collective Muslim nostalgia about a glorious past. There is no gain saying that one point in history or another. 

Muslims enjoyed unrivalled political power, cultural strength and economic clout. But that was way before our personal experiences and most of what went on in such empires will not stand the test of the Puritan sensibilities of today's clergy.   

These things are common in history. What goes up must come down. However, the clergymen in the Muslim communities must make a point of dwelling upon this rise and fall because it empowers them in more than one way.

For example, they can tell the common man on the street that Muslims lost their glory because they stopped listening to their religious elite. Or that people from other faiths are responsible for their decline.

Or that the purpose of their faith is to build a theocratic empire and not to achieve the spiritual perfection of each believer. Similarly, is not the sacrifice of your beloved possessions for your fellow man but sacrificing your life and wealth for religious concerns. You can already see where this is going.

Likewise, you will see many instances where chronicled memory of the distant past becomes a major talking point in circumstances that have nothing to do with them.

Take India's historical experience of foreign rule. India has been independent for 75 years, and 90 years before that, even the last vestiges of Muslim rule were dismantled. Suffice it to say that no direct affectee of the Muslim rule in India is alive today. And hasn't been for nearly a century.

But since it is useful to project them as oppressors, if you pay heed to today's discourse you would think that his broken shell of mostly irrelevant minority poses an existential threat to India.

China's so-called century of humiliation also often becomes a vehicle for channeling political grievances. Please note that there are moments in every country's past that would make the majority of its citizens wince.

But nations usually recover swiftly from such low points. And they are a part of what we call so-what. What matters most is what you make of your nation once you have the agency to choose through independence or by some other clever means.

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Farrukh Khan Pitafi. 


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