Friday, 25 May 2018

An open letter to everyone who wants to know where I was

Those that know me know that I’m rarely serious, that I’m constantly laughing, being sarcastic and droll and sharing funny memes that crack me up… it’s what I do!
Yet for the past week, I find myself unable to laugh convincingly… I’m trying to divert myself, write interesting light-hearted stuff, share funny jokes but it’s difficult. It’s just so difficult because I keep reading about a little nomad girl and every little detail of her last days fills me with such utter gloom that I can barely breathe. I read about groups of lawyers rallying to protect her, (according to them)wrongly framed rapists and I feel I’m living in a dystopian novel. I see “apparently” educated people( some unfortunately known to me) buying into all kinds of bullshit theories just to avert their eyes from the ugly truth and it fills me with dread. The truth that our society is diseased and that our apathy and selfishness have wrought such havoc that it’s becoming increasingly hard to treat.
I can’t laugh it would be like laughing at the deathbed of someone I love!
So I read and try to understand instead, trying to reach a conclusion as the print and television media goes into an overdrive… theories, counter theories, everyone is angry, everyone is impotent.
Everyone it seems has a question for me, everyone wants to know where I was
Where were you when other girls were raped?
I was here right here, protesting that too…. writing about it with as much vehemence
Where were you when Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of their homes?
I was here, not old enough to understand then, but yes it horrifies me now
Where were you in 1984?
I was nine years old but yes I feel the pain, yes I know injustice happened yes it angers me even today
You will not ask me where I was when Babri Masjid or Godhra happened but then too I was right here trying hard to understand as hatred spread like wildfire!
Yes I know injustice happens, yes I know rapes happen, yes I know ethnic minorities are persecuted, yes I know.
But I don’t know when last a section of society tried to justify something so appalling, tried to create a smokescreen of fabricated lies to cover up a crime against humanity, I don’t know when last they actually celebrated it!
Hiding diseases has long been our tradition, we fear to expose our vulnerabilities lest the world knows. But with the savagery exhibited in the Asifa case the putrefying wound is now oozing and hide it all we may, the world can see that something is terribly terribly wrong with us
So I walk instead. Walk to the statue of that old frail man with a walking stick where I find others like me. The ones who cannot sit home when violence against women and children is becoming alarmingly commonplace. The ones who answer the call of a conscience that is higher than and which overpowers their religious conditioning and divisive media driven narratives.
To all those still questioning, I want you to know I’m right here, still writing, still protesting… for all it is worth

Edited By Adam Rizvi

Tazeen is a freelance writer based in Lucknow. She describes herself as a "Dreamer Forever, social justice warrior, believer in peace and equality, fool for love, wit and poetry."

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