I recently read Devdutt Pattanaik’s article in The Hindu newspaper mentioning how there is no measure of emotional torture and how the physical violence meted out by the French magazine office invaders was just an expression of desperation from a voiceless side. He coyly kept from justifying the act and just mentioned that there is a bit of non-quantifiable energy or maya responsible for such cascade reactions. I agree that Islamophobia is bad. Personally speaking, I am somewhat of a Islamophile and love to include Arabic words when I am speaking Hindi. But, violence needs to be condemned in no uncertain terms.
The mental trauma caused by verbal abuse and the resulting physical violence are not to be measured in the same beaker. You can pontificate, make the whole thing seem like a fault of one side or the other, but the point here is not so light. There is a grave dug because someone drew a few lines on paper. Yes, those lines were offensive but, nothing is offensive enough to cause violence.
Pattanaik smartly says that he doesn’t condone the violence, he just wants to give an explanation the reason behind it. There lies my point! If we, as intellectuals, break down such situations into measurable items and try to analyse it, we are doing great disservice to the cause of not only Islam but world peace too.
The moderate voices need to be of reason. The extremists are already loaded with guns, we don’t need more of those. We need more of sound reason. And that reason should also have a direction. The direction that faces off against terror and violence. Pattanaik’s reason for a moment or two, tries to defend terror. It gives the ones with gun, a little more weight. Telling them that what they did, what angered them might not have been an intense cause for the general public but it was reasonable for them to get angry.
You might not agree with what the magazine did but you cannot stand against it. You cannot say it was provocative right after its editors and staff were killed by open gunfire. This is not the time to reason, it is the time to condemn and stand with Charlie Hebdo. No matter how mainstream that sounds. Some causes don’t need rebels, Mr Pattanaik.