By Asma Nadia
World was in shocked when news about a young man, who called himself Joker, armed with AR-15, 20-gauge shotgun Remington, and 40 calibre Glock, brutally shot movie-goers on the premiere night of Batman “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado, United States, killed 12 people and wounded 72 others. The news about this shooting became headlines on many newspapers and media. Many programs related to the movie promotion were cancelled; even the “Batman” himself made his time to show his condolences by bringing a bouquet of flowers on the shooting location and also visited some of the victims as a mean of sympathy. Because of this brutal incident, President Barack Obama also cancelled his campaign schedule and ordered hoisting flag at half-mast across United States.
I was terribly shocked as well when I heard the news and felt sad for this tragedy. I could imagine how devastated the family victims, how fathers and mothers made plan to hang out with their children, watch movie but tragedy was waiting in the end.
But, a thought then came and stunned me then watered my eyes. Remembering news I read a few days ago about another incident: massacres in Myanmar.
Chairman of Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) Ma’ruf Amin stated, Rohingya Muslim who were killed in Arakan, Myanmar, have reached 6,000 people and still counting. One point seven million of Rohingya Muslims’s life have been very hard, forced to convert their faith if determine to school or work, lost their chance to earn education or health services. Their houses were burned, civilians were tortured and killed.
I wondered, why the massacre incident by “Joker” became such a world-wide news interest, while massacre in Myanmar tucked behind headline, as well as massacre in Palestine, Middle East, Africa or other third countries. Was it because of the killer was one man like when a South Korean student, Seung-Hui Cho, finished off 30 students in the class after killed two people in the dormitory on April 2007, or when Anders Behring Breivik brutally shot teenagers who attended summer camp in Utoeya island, Norway, and killed 69 of them, worth to be headline news then one government or army institution who done practically the same and caused more victims?
Or was it if they died in America or Europe, then it worth more in media then they who died in Asia or Africa? Did the massacres happened randomly and once in a while deserve more attention than the manslaughter done systematically and on regular basis?
I was sad, very sad. Because wherever such tragedy occurred: America, Europe, Asia or Africa, and whoever the victims were: Muslims, Christians, Buddhists or Hindus, all of them were human, who has choices to live and decide. No man has the right to take over someone’s life without strong reasons.
For me, respect for humanity was the most universal basic, especially for Rohingya – with what ever happened – seemed inappropriate if we, as represented by Indonesian Government, silent in thousands of language just because we were attach to ASEAN treaty to honor other state sovereignty under the principle of non-interference. So attached until we forgot about humanity?
And we are in the month of holy Ramadhan, when all Muslims raced to reach for God’s blessings. Millions of gratitudes would never be enough to bestow to the Almighty God for every special moment experienced by almost all families in our home land for the peaceful and serene situations. In the mean time, many areas in Padang, West Sumatera, suffered due to flash flood and other brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, such as Rohingya, devastated.
While we were fasting, suhoor (early breakfast before fasting) and breaking the fast with relish, they fought every second, full of sweat even blood just to survive. Clear pearls weighing my eyelids finally dropped. “Mommy, why are you crying?” Both of my children sat on my sides, stared with empathy and confused gaze.
Allah is the Most of the Most. Really, I owed big time to my children. Too many agenda must be delivered to them in order to build sense of caring and sympathy since the early age, also the willingness to share without discriminating, for the whole mankind.
Translated: Indira Amaranti