Yesterday, I reported a video to Facebook administrators. As part of the process, I was asked for a reason. I put 'gross content' in the required field. Actually, I could have ticked any of the eight fields provided, including offensive, violent or disturbing,
The video, which I then proceeded to "hide" because it is so unbearable and keeps popping up on my news feed, shows a pretty little girl spewing hate, calling for 'traitors' to be summarily dealt with, urging them to be shot dead, telling 'anti-nationals’ to go to (where else) Pakistan.
As she spews what can only be described as filth, a woman stands beside her, grim-faced, nodding at intervals, but also looking outward in all directions like a bodyguard primed against attack.
The child herself is expressionless, earnestly mouthing what she has been taught. Every few sentences, are punctuated by that endearing little hitch in breathing that characterises rote learning in small children. Just get it out, then breathe, the faster, the better. It's funny. This is not.
I should have done this as soon as it popped up the first time. Instead I shrugged it off. Finally, having been subjected to its ubiquitous presence on social media, and fed up of almost universal condemnation, I did something.
I also realised something in me has changed. I have begun to tolerate the indefensible, listen to the hideous opinions of the Right with far less outrage than I might have felt a year ago. I am being desensitised to the evil around me.
That's because, in its ubiquity, it has almost become banal. Injustice, brazenness, lying, violence, wickedness, is par for the course nowadays, and my handling is wrong. I try to keep blood pressure from going up and depression at bay by creating sound-proof bubbles of existence to keep me sane and preserve equanimity. But it's all wrong. I need to get out there, keep connected, do something to shore up our defences, take the battle into the enemy camp, come alive. That's what we are doing these days, trying to stay alive.
Look at me, I tell myself. What are you doing at 3 am? Is it normal to stay awake over whether the 45th president of the US has been acquitted in his impeachment trial? He has, and now he will gear up to win a second term in office so that he can complete the process of dismantling democracy in the free world. Helped by Christian Republicans at that.
And now he will come to India to be welcomed by a man whose actions in the past four years have had curious parallels with events in the US.
On Republic Day, there was the spectacle of a Brazilian absolutist as chief guest at the parade. Nothing has stopped his march forward, not deaths, assaults upon the environment, not the expression of the crudest and vilest sentiments one can imagine being mouthed by the leader of a nation. In Brazil it is rape, in the US it us about standing at Fifth Avenue in NY and shooting someone, while here it is 'goli maro salo ko'. A Trinity is in place.
All you need to complete the mix is a Filipino mad man who thinks it is fine to joke about taking illegal drugs to stay awake. Add Turkey, and perhaps the UK, to complete this pretty picture of the establishment of a worldwide culture of impunity.
The world is a very sick place indeed and we are, unfortunately, adapting.
Why else would I go calmly about a routine that would seem bizarre even a year ago? Wake up, check phone for messages about developments at Shaheen Baug. Were there any assaults upon them by the police and their goons?
Take a side on whether AAP should be expected to weigh in on developments like this.Find out if there are any protests in Mumbai today. There are, as always.
Check to see whether people picked up and incarcerated on various charges last night have received the legal aid they desperately needed. Marvel at the way civil society has come together to fight for the survival of our best way of life in the past two months.
Flip through, scroll down, turn the pages on leaders lying blatantly on issues, muddling facts deliberately, making plain their vaulting personal ambitions to retain power at any cost.
And vow to get off my butt and do something.
Meanwhile, try and find out more about that poor, abused child...