Sunday, July 13, 2014

Being Human

What does being a human mean? What are those characteristics that defines us a human?

We behave in various ways. Some of them influenced by our surroundings - be it people, society, culture and norms of the land. While some of the behavior are your own. While some behaviors are ordinary; few others could invite surprise, disbelief and shock. That happens when you go out of the behaviors defined and accepted as a norm.

But its a hypocritical world isnt it? Whats normal and whats not is defined by those in power. By those who believe they have been vested powers to uphold the virtues of HUMANS.

Whats happening in Gaza? Iraq? Syria? Why does one group think they are superior and have the right to the land, the resources and existence above all? Nah...let me not get there. We know the reasons behind all these right?

Let me stick to my personal experience. Few days ago; I had to transit through one of the middle east country on my way back from Morocco. Its not hard to guess which country it could be. I had 14 hrs transit time and thought it would be better to get out of the airport and explore the city. I enquired how these things work even before I left for Morocco. The airline agreed to sponsor my accommodation, meals and transport for that day of long transit.

On that day; the experience was horrifying. I did expect since the arrangement of getting a visa sponsored by the airline and you are at the mercy of the visa officers and all that is expected. Lets say I was prepared. But what I wasnt prepared for was the attitude and treatment of South Asians there. Well, the bulk of that country's labour class comes from India, Nepal, Bangaldesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines...And so; is it natural to be treated worse than cattle?

Be it at the immigration queue where couple of queues were made to wait for an hour. An hour! yes when the officers were wiling away their time talking to each other. The other queues which didnt boast of these labour class population were served in no time. The scene I saw once I passed through immigration made me sad.

The harsh summer sun showing no mercy to those hundreds of construction workers, airport support staffs, drivers and cleaners....Do these group get treated the same way as a first class citizen? No and why should they? They knew what they were signing up for isn't it?

Well no. They don't. Their passport confiscated, forced to live in sub standard conditions, no holidays or medical leaves. Above all; they are looked down like worms. Camels get better treatment than these migrant workers. All because they want to send some money back to their families in hope of a decent life. For these countries, these men are resources - liability.

Aah I see I have deviated from my thoughts. I didnt feel good those 10 hours there as a visitor, mind you. Coming back to being human. Language, culture, religion, practices, geography, ancestry, economic ability - do all of these define who is superior and who is not? Do these define who is entitled to health, peace, happiness? Why cant it be simple?

Why is the inequality? I watched a couple of very sad and brutal documentary recently. One - the working conditions and life of South Asian migrant workers in Qatar. The video ends with - 4000 people from India and Nepal alone would be dead by the time the first ball is kicked off as part of 2022 FIFA world cup. The second video of infant kids bought for as low as $500 from Bangladesh, Pakistan.. being used as Camel Jockeys in the Emirates. These two videos are very disturbing.

"Humanity" is not a quality of human beings. They are found in abundance in animals.


  1. That's extremely upsetting Insi..Often feel like no faith left in the world.These inequalities created by 'humans' whereby we start distributing umpteen number of sorrows ..Devastating.

  2. Melange,

    Day in and day out, we see these animalistic behavior by me - towards nature, animals, and his own fellow beings. Its a shame

  3. I’m appalled at your comparison of animals with human beings. Certainly you have it wrong. They do not deserve to be compared with us and the usage humanism, humanitarian etc. are not to be related to Homo sapiens. The word ‘beastly’, the tenor and the context of its usage is certainly offensive to the beast. I preferred to believe that your comment was inadvertent, but yet again- in your reply to a comment you used the word ‘animalistic’!
    We will all agree that animals like us evolve through process of natural selection. And they like us are tuned by Nature to sharpen their surviving skills at every step. But when we claim to be the dominantly intelligent and possess thinking faculty, faculty of reason, compassion, etc. are we not supposed to be different from a beast that hunts only for food and when the survival of its lineage is threatened? But are we not worse than the most vociferous and rabid beast?
    Now how can we use the humanism and the humanitarian definitions to exemplify ourselves? If those words denote the goodness of character and behavior in social groups, I guess animals are more humanist and humane than we.
    The few examples you mentioned are ample proof. Don’t you thin Bindu.
    I suggest we cease to call a dastardly act of a human being as beastly. Call it humanistic if you must.

  4. Anil,

    I used the word 'animalistic' for lack of alternative from my limited vocabulary. I do feel ashamed about it. I agree to your every word Anil. No second thoughts.

    Thats exactly what my point is. I dont agree with "humanism" being tagged to man. Because man doesnt possess those qualities that we think are his. Animals are much much more humane, gentle, kind and considerate.

    The beast that hunts for food you said does it only when its hungry.

  5. Interesting post. I know what you are saying. Equal rights and treating people with dignity are all not for any middle-east country. You are talking about poor construction workers from poor Asian countries. I want to tell you a fact. You know my Company from USA transferred me to a middle-eastern country. You also know which country it is. There, there are 3 rules for anything and everything. One rule for Americans, One rule for host country nationals, and one rule for all other nationalities. That includes not only poor people from poor Asian countries, but all other countries also. All these third country nationals are treated very bad. Some European nationals just returned back home without even going into the city.

    My question is who forced them to go to these countries? You said all because they want to work and send some money back home. But these people know in advance the working conditions. Knowingly if they go there to make some money, they have to grin and bear it.

    They way some rich people treat their household servants in India and Pakistan is more cruel than the middle east countries.

    1. SG,

      Yes I remember you mentioning about the conditions of that country you had to stay for few years.

      Now coming to your point. The people who go there of course need to be blamed. But wait; they only know the work is going to be hard. They are fine with it for the large sum of money they are promised. Nobody tells them the living conditions, not about the "Khafala"system. If they are told; they are told that is a sponsorship system , not an owning system.

      Once they land, their passports are confiscated. Living conditions are sub standard and no medical facilities. These folks have to be a bit clever and not fall into these traps. Thei governments must do something for those as well. It seems after an incident back in 2010; Philippine government sends their medical personnel every year to middle eastern countries where their people work and get them medically checked.

      Still; I suppose these folks would still grin and bear if they got the money promised. They don't! They are bought and owned until death.

  6. Hi. I was wondering if you feature guest postings. Do you have an email address I can contact you on? Thanks and have a great day!

  7. Honestly, B the good thing about you as I have seen you in the Blog world is that you listen to criticism and accept it even if you have to change your stand. I'm afraid despite of all this posturing by me I may not be noble as you. Thanks.

    1. Anil, whats wrong in accepting a mistake. In this case; my intention was not to villify the animals or compare them with us; honestly. For me animals are in very high esteem than man.

      I would change my stand if someone else is telling the right thing, why not? :)

  8. True! I haven't personally seen such inhuman behaviour but have seen it on TV and heard it from other people.
    I feel sad and ashamed at the same time for being counted amongst those people who have no regard for other human beings.
    I always wonder why God(if there is one) gives no punishment to these people who are high and mighty and make the poorer ones' lives so difficult and cruel. :(

    1. Watch those documentaries if possible. But not for the faint hearted I warn. God doesnt punish them because they are Gods. Sad but yes; they are the masters

  9. I had watched the video on camel jockeys. It is so disturbing to even think that a human could indulge in such acts... that too on kids. The divide that we have created in the name of rich and poor, color and caste, is going to kill all of us someday.

    1. Exactly! I wrenched when I saw the camels frolicking in a swimming pool in a Camel Hospital.


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