Sunday, April 22, 2018

Death penalty - neither the answer nor the real issue

The announcement (and inclusion) of Death penalty as a punishment for rape committed on less than 12 year old girls, is an extremely sad and also a dangerous precedent. It sweeps away the real issues under the carpet and marketed as the solution to the problem of rapes and violence in the country that seems to be on the rise off late. Unfortunately the real issue is the CONVICTION of the rapists, especially those who are powerful, well connected or affiliated with political parties. The shoddy investigation conducted in such cases is often the beginning of the safety net that ensures their escape. How does the police or the investigating agencies ensure that the investigation is well done and is sharply presented in the courts? That is the issue. There are also other issues that we must not overlook: the hate speeches by politicians to incite their cadres for such violence. The silence from top leaders when such atrocities are either committed on people whom they do not see as their vote bank or committed by those who are somehow affiliated to them / their ideologies. How does one ensure this does not happen? That is the issue. Then, there are some fundamental issues like the status of women in the society, the grossly distorted understanding of sexuality, the pseudo-religious ideas imposed upon people in the name of being righteous and, not to forget, the objectification of women and the notion of their ownership, as 'property'. The patriarchal society and its outlook, that renders the act of rape as a tool of revenge, subjugation and shaming the victim and / or the family, is the problem. The sick society is the problem. The death sentence unfortunately does nothing to solve any of the actual problems. At best it remains a populist, political move to avoid or side step dissent, while pushing an entire country backwards! It also serves to distract from the issues that contribute to and allow the rapes to go on. The likely inferences one can draw from the imposition of Death penalty are: 1. The desire to feel more powerful over the lives of the others (most likely weaker or lower in status) or 2. A moral / legal justification to one’s lust for murder that absolves one of feeling guilty. In reality it is about playing the game of death, this way or that. That an innocent person may get murdered in the process, can’t be more true today than ever before. We certainly need to stand against rape and violence. We also must press for and ensure speedy justice and conviction of those who have committed such crimes, irrespective of their status and power. However, we need not allow ourselves to become a part of the ‘game of death’ that some love to play. No matter how much they market it as the ‘only solution’, it still remains merely 'murder' that gets a legal sanction. A victim of rape is unlikely to benefit from it, but some politicians and those with blood lust may. What we need is not blood on our hands but a humane society where rapes do not happen, where violence does not take place, where politicians do not incite hatred, where women are treated as equals and where children can run freely in the meadows without the fear of being stalked and killed. Let us get our priorities right. Let us not allow ourselves to become pawns in a perverted society that may celebrate and dance to someone's death with a delusional notion that justice is served. Parvez Imam April 22, 2018 Ref:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Until the demons are done

That day,
the sun must have frozen for a while
when they descended
upon the meadow,
filled with deceit,
and caught an eight year old
in the middle of her laughter.

The torn shroud,
with little left to doubt,
will it ever forgive us -
our complicity in the crime?
What have we become?

The jagged horizon
stares without a blink.
Why does it not speak,
stand witness
seek justice?
Was it not awake then?

A solitary cloud
hangs over the meadow.
Is it searching for the horses
she left behind that day.

A solitary cloud…?
Give me some hope.
Give me a sign
you are there
to hear
if I apologize.

I wish to apologize
for not doing enough
to prevent the demons
from growing amongst.

I should have known better.
They eat little girls.
Their hate-filled souls
stalk in lonely meadows
and the temples of their gods.

Give me some hope.
Promise, you will come
again across that meadow
and take the horses home
when the demons are done.

I promise in return
I will leave no stones unturned
until the demons are done!

Together, we shall overcome!

Parvez Imam
April 20, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

It is alright to be angry

It is alright to be ANGRY!
It is alright to spill on
to the streets
shout for justice...
for those who cannot / could not
for themselves!

It is alright to give up privileges,
atleast sometimes
swim waters unknown.
It is alright to stand up
against the strong,
to amend
to change
to do what we have never done before…
It is alright to imagine.

It is alright to imagine
that the dead eight year old
could have been your own.
It is alright to imagine
that the dead man who sought justice
for his daughter
could have been your own.
It is alright to acknowledge
that the scoundrels of #Kathua
and #Unnao are criminals.
It is alright to speak out
of their connections
with the ruling elite,
a silent prime minister,
gangs of thugs,
and peddlers of religion and hatred.
It is alright
to hold hands
with people you have never known,
in reality or imagination,
and stand together as a wall
to ensure
never again…

Never again an eight year old
or another defenseless soul,
in your land or mine,
far or near
must live in fear.

It is alright to express your anger
against injustice and discrimination.
It is alright to feel humane

It is all right to break your chain.

Parvez Imam
April 14, 2018