Tehelka August 8, 2009.
Men underestimate despair. But despair can be a deadly weapon. When you lose faith that a system will protect and play fair by you, it breeds fatal recklessness. It makes you abdicate from the rules that cement human relations. Despair can turn you from citizen to perpetrator. From the hunted to the hunter.
From 2006 to 2008, there was an escalating climate of terror in the country.
Under pressure to perform, the police hid behind short attention spans and a confusing cocktail of Islamic proper nouns. They knew that neither the media (rushing off to its latest story) nor ordinary citizens were interested in the details. No one wanted veracity. Everyone only wanted the illusion of security and ‘action taken’. The few human rights groups and media outfits who raised flags about false arrests and gaps in police logic were scorned as ‘anti-national’. Or doctrinaire liberals.
The larger point was missed. It is no one’s case that those who plant bombs should go unpunished. Those of us raising flags had only two simple arguments to make. One, take the long route, catch the genuine culprits, remain constitutional: that is the only way to be really secure. Two: do not make false arrests and breed fresh despair, triggering new cycles of hate and revenge. If you corrupt a system entirely, people will abdicate from it. And black despair can be a deadly weapon.