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From Capitol to Capital – Tale of two cities… and democracies

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Two notable riots happened at two different Capitals across the globe, all in the span of a couple of weeks.

US and India, the two big democracies, underwent the horror of witnessing a riotous mob descend on their respective citadels, Capitol Hill and Red Fort, respectively. One was by the extreme right (led by a leader in denial of his election loss) and the other by a so-called mob of ‘farmers’ (fueled and soft peddled by the leftist and anarchist elements that operated under its garb).

Instigators of both claimed their innocence and grievance. Yet the resulting events left horrible aftermath and blow to democracies. If a confederate flag was paraded in the halls of the US Capitol, the historic Red fort witnessed khalistani elements parading their flag atop the ramparts of the fort.

As someone put it succinctly, one was a failure by the Govt (Farmers rally), the other case – Govt was a failure (Capitol Hill mob).

Each protest was fanned from the far end of either side of the political spectrum – far right to the far left).

Voices that were given to mouthing the support for either one side were in a fix. Each claimed one movement was highjacked by vested interests BUT came down heavily in condemning the other.

One was more blatant while the other operated under the garb of some ‘Gandhian’ protest.

It’s easy to mouth ‘I condemn any violence and rioting’ without reckoning the runup to the events that took place. The matter of fact is both the events SHOULD NOT have happened; whether it was the march to the Capitol Hill OR the protests by the so called ‘farmers’. Both the mobs were fed a bunch of lies and misinformation in the face of facts that lay right in front of them. Both used and we’re used by their media mouthpieces to peddle such lies. Whether both were incited by vested interests is a matter of debate. Social media just added a whole new flavor to the game.

At the end of it, the ‘optics’ (or ‘generated public perception) was the centerpiece and is yet to be played out fully. Who cares if the democracies were under attack. Who is bothered when the police on both sides got grievously injured and died, in the process? It has to be all about ‘Insurrection’, ‘Revolution’, ‘lost causes’ and finally peddle titillating content.

The bottom line is one cannot stand selectively mute to such riotous incidents while expressing shock and outrage at the other. One cannot selectively gloss over OR dress down reportage of violence in one case simply because the context does not fit one’s pet political narrative. Violence in all forms must be condemned regardless of the runup to the incident.

Ask not if the crowd ‘just’ gathered to listen to the rants of their leader BUT DO ASK if they were ‘just’ rants OR consistently peddled lies that whipped up strong rhetoric and incited a mob to march up to the Hill. ASK JUST NOT why the demonstrations went awry when they were peaceful for the majority of time BUT DO ASK if they went awry after the crowd was fed on twisted facts, lies, and peddled agenda. DO ASK if it was ONLY the ‘farmers’ that sat there ‘peacefully’ the whole time OR if they were more than just that. DO ASK all these and more …

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