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Thursday, August 01, 2013

This Sleeping Beauty

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,.  

Occasionally, 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.


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