On the outset, I want to say that my heart still breaks for Nirbhaya, who saw more than her fair share of pain in her short lived life. Infact, she suffered every beating, every rape, every insult, every humiliation and every torture that many women across the world suffer on a daily basis. Only, she suffered all this in a span of two hours than the lifetime that the other women take to suffer the same. Her male friend with her that night suffered a lot of pain as well. He is not forgotten.
While she succumbed to her injuries after a brave fight, many live with theirs, bearing scar upon scar. Hiding in plain sight, in the shadows of justice away from freedom and many behind the abuser itself. And now all eyes are on the Indian Justice System. Rightly so, that’s where the immediate restoration of humanity, security and dignity can come. After that, everyone goes back to their day jobs of ignoring the helpless on street corners, of staying un-involved with injustice, of emotional abuse, of domestic violence, of feeding the prevalent patriarchal system, of catering to a society where women are subclass, of under-reaction and elegantly sidestepping blatant abuse around us. Because in the little private world where we exist, there is just no place for the larger society or world peace for that matter.
We seem to be clamoring for the death penalty for these 6 raping murderers – one of them is a minor. All right then. Let’s get to it. But since we are taking 6 lives, let’s make sure we also hand out equivalent sentences to every wrong that culminated in the rape and death of Nirbhaya. We cannot be callous about handing out the death sentence. If we are going to take away a life, then let’s ensure that we don’t have to keep doing it every so often. Let’s uproot every single circumstance and contributor to this crime.
Death for all 6 of these rapists for raping and brutalizing a young woman. Death for brutalizing a young man. Where are the parents of the minor? Death to them for letting him run amok with terrible company and for not making sure he was in bed on a school night. If there was another means of transport that was denied to this young couple forcing them to board a renegade bus, death to those auto-rickshaw, taxi and public bus drivers for not doing their job. If there were leaders - spiritual or political or authorities in society that led these rapist to think that treating women as sexual object to use, abuse and discard was accepted, then death to them as well. If there were people who taught these men that they are superior and they were what their parents wished for them above a girl child and thereby implying that female is secondary, then death to those individuals. If there were any incidents where these rapists got the impression that even if you leave witnesses behind to your crime because the arms of justice just isn’t long enough, then death to them as well. This way our society is cleaned out of all evil and Nirbhaya’s death though a huge tragedy has led to purging and redeeming ourselves.
There is no other way. If we only kill these rapists and leave everything as is, tomorrow we will find ourselves killing some more and then some more until we are all killed out.
We need to rehabilitate as a society. By all means, let’s condemn these 6 rapists to death. Then let’s wake up and fix every element that led to our society’s poor condition.
I have no disclaimers here. I meant every word. I feel that no death penalty can bring back what our society lost with Nirbhaya's death. It cannot take back what it says about us either. But I do believe they deserve a painful death. Just that we are now paying attention to this and not all the underlying evil that needs uprooting.
I want to pay tribute to some of the people we lost in 2012. Many of them innocent but taken away brutally.
Victims of Sandyhook, Newtown, CT.
It breaks my heart to know that 20 children were torn away from their families. When I am anywhere now - the thought invariably crosses my mind 'What if someone comes out shooting right here, right now'? And I furtively look around at every face. The redeeming moment arrives when some unknown stranger smiles at me and nods. I scold myself for the lack of trust and lack of faith in God. But this seed of irrational fear has been planted and germinates with every gun violence incident.
Victims of Aurora, Aurora, CO
Apparently there were atleast 16 accounts of mass random shooting in the US.
Enough. Enough to gun violence.
Sunando Sen, Queens, NY
This is scary. This 46 year old Indian man was pushed by a deranged woman in front of an oncoming #7 train at a subway station. The scary part is not this that this is the 2nd time in Dec 2012 that this was happening. The scary part is not this that both BK and I take #7 train all the time.
The scary part is that this lady pushed Sen onto the tracks because she hated 'Hindus/Muslims after 9/11'. The war on terror is not over. The war on discrimination is not over. We may bring our troops back from harm's way but what about those civilian troops who go out each day, unsure if they will return home that night, unsure if they will be victimized for the color of their skin, or for the God that they pray to, or for the accent they speak with? When will that war be over and these civilian troops fighting racism everyday be given time to be secure?
Enough. Enough to discrimination.
Nirbhaya / Damini, New Delhi, India
This unnamed 23 year old lady endured the most horrific experience of being violently gang-raped and brutalized. She succumbed to her injuries after 13 days.
When the news broke and the pictures of the protests in Delhi were all over the news, my mom asked a very valid question - 'Why is this victim given a lot of importance and why the huge outcry'?
At first I was taken aback. I looked at her and I saw that she was genuinely asking me this. I returned her question with another, 'Why not? This 23 year old girl was gang raped in Delhi, India'. Then I realized what she meant. We keep hearing the news of several rapes and gang rapes all across India. Some victims hide, others kill themselves, others live a dead life ostracized but all scarred forever. There is no hue and cry over each victim. Sometimes the victim is a baby. Where are the protests for those victims?
Enough. Enough to violence against women.
Hurricane Sandy victims, NY/NJ
This is the first time that I experienced a Hurricane.
Down the street. I have so many pics like this - near misses and great saves.
I have many pictures from down the street and over. My town was ravaged but salvageable. When I think of the number of people that lost everything and worse, their lives - I think about how lucky our town was to be spared.
There are many that had everything in 2012 - many who thought they survived economy crash only to lose everything to a natural crash. Perhaps it is time for us to be kind to nature.
Enough to pollution, enough to exploiting nature. Perhaps...just perhaps the frequency with which calamities strike mankind across the world will lessen.