Saturday, November 29, 2008

An overpowering bleakness

When will the madness end and the terror be over?

Cricket is pretty important to me, but does not make many appearances on this blog! There is a great site called Cricinfo which enables me to keep up with scores in matches all over the world, and to read some great cricket writing. The site's editor is Sambit Bal. Here's an excerpt from a piece he has written on the terror in Mumbai:

"I was on the streets of Bombay covering the communal riots in 1992, and the serial bomb blasts in 1993. I have seen a mob with swords chase a man and sever his arm from his body; I have seen rioters set an old man alight after garlanding him with car tyres; and I have faced the prospect of being burnt alive myself. For days I left home kissing my small child goodbye with thoughts of the worst. Those days return to haunt me sometimes even today.

But somehow I felt I understood what was happening then. I couldn't relate to it, but I understood the thirst for retaliation and revenge, the hatred and the frenzy that temporarily consumed ordinary people. I even wondered about a foreseeable future when I could sit down with some of the rioters and talk about what drove them to such madness.

But this is simply beyond my comprehension. Every time I see the photograph of the young man - who looks not a lot older than my son - dressed in jeans and t-shirt, carrying a machine gun as casually as he does the satchel over his shoulder, bearing a sinister glee in his eyes, I am reminded of Barack Obama's words about the killers of 9/11: "My powers of empathy, my ability to reach into another's heart, cannot penetrate the blank stares of those who would murder innocents with such serene satisfaction." "

Read all of it - no knowledge of cricket required, just love for humanity!

PS Followers of NZ cricket generally have some insight into Sambit Bal's theme, An Overpowering Bleakness.

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