Sometimes, the words just dry up, like the severe droughts. Sometimes, painful images of natural disasters, wars and violence, make one cringing or exhaling indomitable sigh, amidst the barren eyes and the choking lungs. Earth wobbled around its axis of rotation as that devastating earthquake and the following tsunami ripped apart and washed away thousands and thousands of human beings and other animals, the counting is still climbing up with an all knowing alarm. This time around last year’s earthquake in Bam, Iran unfolded, as if replaying its previous cruel destruction this year, but in grandeur stage with leaping ferocity.
For a person with little or no faith in any religion or divine being, this catastrophic episode is a random event, a natural phenomenon, and a small blip in the geological time scale. Seismologists and the geophysicists explain that the Indian plate dived below the Burma plate and lifted it up, causing the colossal tectonic plate fracture that created tremendous amount of energy for the bursting tsunami to tag along.
For a person with devotion to god or goddess and absolute faith in religion, the ferocity of destructions could seem to be troublesome to explain. I talked to such a person just aftermath the breaking news of this grim incident. Like most other faithful person, he was still clinging to his faith strong, explaining away why this could happen to thousands and millions of innocent people. To him and many others, the entire event can be seen as God’s wrath exploding upon the “sinful” mass. For him, “bad things happened” because we’ve all fallen from grace, we’ve all committed “sin” by not obeying god’s commandments. What’s an innocent child had to do anything to “sins”? For this very basic and simple question he had that olden answer, “God works in mysterious way”.
In this modern time, we see those images, instant videos of washing away of men, women and children, hospital morgues and makeshift mass graves filled with dead bodies, in rows after rows, gloomy lights or the setting sun illuminating parts of a room, or a field where the grieving father or mother holding their lifeless baby’s muddy arms, or a desolate husband seating near his wife’s dead body, complete perplexed stare in his eyes, perhaps asking or pleading for the answer to the cause of his misery. All the other aspects of human lives, the on going wars, debates on secularization, dramatizations in Hollywood or Bollywood films or even the victory songs in the fields of sports seem so mundane looking at the rows and rows of bodies waiting to be buried unceremoniously, Hindus and Muslims and Christians and Buddhists and Atheists side by side, in unmarked mass graves.
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 29, 2004