It’s a strange
beast this, the collective conscience of our nation.
When not cosying up
to Hypocrisy, or in bed with Indifference, it sleeps, undisturbed and
sonorously, through the deaths of little children, who’re killed by pesticides
in their mid-day meals in their schools. It sleeps while a Christian priest and
his two little children are burnt alive in their car by religious fanatics. It
sleeps while victims of obviously violent crimes lie unattended by the side of
the road, unclothed and stripped of their dignity. It sleeps while brides are
burned in homes and little children are sexually abused. It sleeps while young
girls are bought and sold. It sleeps as farmers across the country commit
suicide because they have debts they cannot dream of paying back. It sleeps
while young men and women are killed for marrying outside their castes,
communities and religions. It sleeps when right-wing thugs go after people for
daring to move to big cities for better prospects. It sleeps while slums are
bulldozed and ugly residential/commercial buildings are erected in their stead.
It sleeps while children from underprivileged backgrounds are
cannibalised. It sleeps through the
millions upon millions that are signed away to the obscenely wealthy by way
corporate incentives in yearly budgets Yeah, pretty much like a friend I have,
who once slept through an earth-shaking gas cylinder explosion next door, it
sleeps through a lot,.
however, it stirs in consternation and wakes up when annoying little
mosquito-like things, for instance the Food Bill, buzz noisily in its ears. Or,
for instance, when it’s time to light a candle at a fancy protest march for, or
to express solidarity with, Someone Like Us, who’s been wronged. It’s a curious
beast this one because, sometimes, we don’t even realise it’s up until a
learned judge from our wondrous system of justice swings by to tell us that
it’s been pricked and, therefore, wide awake! And, then, like anyone woken
rudely from deep sleep, it tends to get nasty and demands to be fed until it’s
sated. Who can forget the time when a man had to be sentenced to death by
hanging just to keep the hungry beast on leash? If you don’t remember that
time, not to worry because, hey, the beast seems to have been pricked awake
again! And, again, another Muslim man,
an alleged terrorist in a case that has more holes in it than there are seats
in Albert Hall (er, sorry, Paul, John, Geroge and Ringo), must be sentenced to
a life in jail to satisfy it!
But, all said and
done, I really envy this collective conscience of the nation thingy. Wish I
could sleep half as much because, god knows, I’m so bloody sleep deprived.