In the only canteen in a university you-never-heard-of, the the glass-door refrigerator is almost empty. There is a box of Cadburry chocolates. For a week now, the refrigerator is empty. One day few bottles of Schweppes gingerales appeared and disappeared again. The canteen is crowded, everyone asks for “cold drinks”. The walls are still adorned with smiling bollywood stars with a data-card or a coca-cola in hand. The counter is busy. Behind the counter sits, occasionally, a bearded person in a skull cap.
And I think, how many of the students ask why coca-cola disappeared from the fridge? How many may know there might be an internationalist living among them, serving them not food-for-thought but the real food ( absolutely necessary for any thought)? The university-you-never-heard-of is in a place and culture where there is nothing-unknown, nothing-unanswerable. Every subject/topic is met with the same lack of interest a plate of plain boiled rice is met with after a delicious and hearty meal. Nowhere in the campus, where alignment and movement of cosmic bodies are a matter of daily concern, does the international alignment with apartheid, movement of projectiles into the bodies of children, women, innocent hard-working men and fighters or soldiers does figure in discussions.
Reading everyday about the ongoing pogrom, I can’t tell for sure, why I am reading these at all. Can it at all be that, instead of being concerned I am morbidly interested in conflicts, massacres, oppression. Afterall, I see it where others don’t. What happens to the people who are gathering up around the tree to see a young girl hanging? Do they go home completely shaken, their faith in humanity destroyed or they go home satiated of their curiosity of the event? Silently watching, reading, knowing the tireless injustice perpetrated must be making us at least partially the audience for who it is made. The world is a stage, I remember.
I have not asked at the canteen, if they are simply showing solidarity with the businessmen in Mumbai who joined BDS campaign. He might be the lone person in this place-you-never-been to have heard of BDS against Israel. As people die, and with them hope of peace, freedom and justice, we must remember to be shaken with such brutalities.