Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Osama & compassion misplaced

Have been reading a lot about systems thinking. In fact, even before I was aware of the term 'systems thinking', I realize I was thinking on those lines for a long time.

Osama is dead.

I just happened to check an image on the cover of India Today today morning. People protesting Osama's death. Another image showed people offering prayers in Osama's support/memory.

The truth could very well be that these very people (shown in images mentioned above) wouldn't support Osama if they lived in relatively more comfortable environment and had suffered from something like a 9/11.

So what's happening really? And why does anyone like Osama become a leader (call him a terror leader) in such a manner? Was he just a egomaniac? Was he a narcissist? Was he just doing it for fame? Was he just a despot? Was he fond of putting himself in utmost danger? Could be. But there is definitely a little more.

He was tall. From whatever images have circulated in mass media, he looked assured. Was media-savvy for sure. Could've been an actor, isn't it?

But he became an icon for a certain kind of people. If we analyze such people, we might see some common characteristics. Under-educated, under-privileged, illiterate, filled with powerlessness, lacking means for an appropriate living, jealous of those who are better off, hatred of being patronized, desirous of self-respect but not aware of the 'means' to possess some, failing to find someone appropriate to blame... Of course, they were wanting for something to feel proud of. Enter Osama.

It isn't that what I am writing hasn't been thought of. But I would like to say that, somewhere, men like Osama arise because of their compassion for their own people. But this river of compassion seems to flow through the steamiest rocks and the same water which could assuage thirst, burns.

One can say whatever one has to but men living without means for a long time are like that. They are sort of dangerously unhooked. Depending on what they chance upon, they will gravitate or levitate or evaporate or explode.

Osama was definitely inept in that he caused such unforgivable harm. Many of the so-called leaders of the world seem no great either. They might be good on the television but their solutions aren't solving much. And, at best, the blame for any explicit harm cannot be attached to them.