Monday, December 01, 2008

Citizen Movement

Priyanka Joseph on the need of the hour:

What I would like to see is a grass-root, decentralized guerrilla movement of our own-- Not one that equips youth, the lonely and the estranged with hatred, propaganda, fanaticism, weapon skills and fake passports, but one that equips that same youth, the blissfully ignorant and brooding, the passionate and the complacent, the middle-aged, student and everywoman with an awareness of what it takes to preserve one's home and city-- the community skills and ideas that make individuals realize that they are the first care-taker and good neighbor, not the police, and that there is no entitlement to safety & well being based solely on social or income levels, anymore.

Not just idealism. Practical facts of life as well, such as-- don't crowd around an attack site. Don't hang around because it's exciting. Don't participate in rabble-rousing. Just the basics, really.
Priyanka's post grew out of a comment on Ingrid Srinath's essay on the need for a response that is not the usual knee-jerk reaction.

And no, we don’t need a Festival of Mumbai or a candle-light vigil to heal the wounds. And we certainly don’t need stronger laws. Or crackdowns on people based on their class and religion. Or hasty rushes to justice or revenge.

We need to each redefine our own priorities. Take the time to be a Mumbaikar rather than parasites that live off its resources. Stop looking the other way when
unscrupulous politicians and crass media barons offend our sense of civility. Speak up when family, friends or colleagues voice their bigotry. Turn up to vote. Look at, really look, and listen to, and care about the people we share this city with.

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