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When dialogue is derailed..........

When dialogue is derailed..........

Author: Dr R L Bhat
Publication: The Daily Excelsior
Date: May 11, 2002

Civilized societies live by dialogue, uncivil ones by the brute force. In earlier time that force was wielded with clubs and stones. In the modern times it is bombs, bullets and rockets. But the impatience and intolerance of the others' viewpoint is the same as it was in the times when the advanced instruments of death were unknown. Yet the barbarian had one defense; he did not have any other way. The uncivil by definition does not know, does not have the advantage of a civilized way of life. He is forced by his circumstances to wield the club and stone. When he gets the sword he has advanced to the stage of civilized discourse. When he can get guns, bombs and rockets he has a wholesome framework to resolve his differences, redress his grievances, even to press his ponts. He has dialogue. He can talk everything out. Those who refuse to make use of the civil way refuse to get civil. They close their eyes the advances of the humanity. They refuse to be humans.

The terrorist uses those weapons to annihilate men and women to press his point, which are not a part of this civilized society. He is ages away, in eras that had no instruments of peace. When that terrorist insists that he has a right to use the modern weapons to decimate modern society and intercourse, he is also dismissing the advances that made that weaponry available. Logically he has no right to use that weaponry. The modern day terrorist has gone one step ahead. He is not only using the instruments produced by the civilized world but also attempts to misuse the instruments of peace to further his terrorist objectives. After he has fired the bullets in his gun and blasted the bombs in his bag, he comes back to have a dialogue on the strength of that barbaric force. Often he has the barbarism to back him up. At other times he depends on the 'legitimacy' that barbaric activity has 'gained' him. We in this State have whole outfits barging into legitimacy with the force of barbarian instruments and mentalities.

Not only are they unwilling to eschew their modus operandi but actually use the option of terrorism as a counter force of sorts. The dialogue with militants/terrorists in this State has been rather forced with that power of using the club again. There are any numbers of people in the ranks of the terrorists and their sympathizers who credit the terrorism with having got them a 'say'. That is a situation when the dialogue is not only bad but is positively harmful to the interests of the civil society. It reinforces the creed of violence and discredits the processes and instruments of peace. Not only does it justify the penchant for barbaric behavoir but also legitimizes it as an instrument. And that would be a most horrendous negation of the civilized way itself.

There we are not only derailing the dialogue but also debasing the rationale of the dialogue process. Dialogue is conducted between the people who respect it as an instrument, as a way the life in a civilized society must be lived. Those who have negated that principle must at the very least renew their commitment to it. They civil society cannot allow its must potent instrument to be used a strategic weapon by the persons who are out to defy the very civilized existence. There is something to be said for the people who hold that the only way to deal with detractors of the society is to get down to their level and give them a taste of their own medicine. That may sound rather harsh to many ears, but the only people who have survived barbaric ways are the ones who have been able to get the better of them. Those who have give way to their peaceful proclivities have often had their societies torn asunder by the forces they should have fought out.

Of course, healing touch has an importance. And all the prodigals that return must be welcomed back if we want to keep the human fold intact. And then, it is also true that the barbarian has succeeded anyway if he has been able to get the civil society down to his own uncivil level. But few of these postulates would apply or work with people who have the aim of drowning all achievements of civilization as his sole motivation. That motivation would not be removed by investing his brutish instruments with the credit of having bent the rules of the civil society. We see something of this contradiction playing out in the west Asia. Agreeing there has not weaned the terrorists away but made them even more terror-loving. And that is what Israel and the west are discovering to their horror. The dialogue and accommodation has not, dulled the terrorist bent of the people there one whit.

Here every concession is seen as a reason to further raise the terror and strike higher. The peaceable overtures go to whet the terrorist appetites. And terrorism as an instrument in the civilized society gains an underserved acceptance. That not only makes the overtures of peace fruitless, it also puts the peace-loving at a discount. thus when the Hurriyat proclaims that it has gone places with the support of terrorists it is not hailing the civilized modus but acknowledging the use of brute force in dealing with civil societies. No civil society can allow that, unless it wants its civilization to be trashed. That bluff of the barbaric modes triumphing cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

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