- A war with warriors other than the usual ones
We are always ready for wars. We are trained for it. We expect to fight in the apocalypse, holy wars, national wars, the war against opponents. But we always have practiced it against the fellow we never liked in school, a colleague we always hated and the relatives we disowned. Mentally and physically we always fight someone. The enemy always has a few attributes;. he is an outsider, unwanted, ugly and monstrously impulsive and evil. There are also a few rules regarding war and apocalypse, set by our myths, bedtime stories, comic books and yes movies. The first rule, we need a savior. Secondly, we are safe at our place. Third rule, danger always comes from outside. And fourth, the traveller is always a wise person. The narrative is always the same as well. The town is in trouble or plagued by some evil force or ruler. Then comes a saviour. He too, is a polarized character, Christ in one book, anti-Christ in the other. Biblical or fictional, he is a native but banished from the town for some political or not-so-political reason, like Harry Potter, Jon Snow, or Orestes. He can be some traveller or outsider who tries to help and save the town for the betterment of humanity like Superman or Sinbad the sailor; he can be some noble aristocrat or filthy rich guy who has been working on such missions, like Batman, Zorro or the biblical Christ, even a commoner like Aladdin, but the foreign training is a must in this narrative. He (the saviour is always he) first meets the town, makes its natives ending their feuds, gathers them in the town because the outside is not safer, vows to protect citizens, puts the women and the children inside a castle and finally, fights besides the men and defeats the demon. The demon is always, dark, wears black, brings a storm and is supported by the power-hungry group of the town. He can be the purest power-hungry sorcerer like Jafar, or evil itself like Voldemort, or a demonic creature accidentally made by nature like The Night King, or he can be some revengeful psychopath like Joker.
I like the Urdu folklore narrative as well. Jinn ne sb ko pathar ka bana diya hai. Door kisi ghaar main aik tota hai, us maindjinn ki jaan hai. Shehzada aega, us totay ki mundhiya marorhay ga. Jinn bhasm ho jae ga. Is tarha woh apni ra’aya ko bachaye ga. (The monster has turned everyone into the marble. The (promised) Prince reaches the plagued town and traces the demon. But he finds a parrot in a distant cave in which the monster’s life is and breaks its neck. The demon turns into ashes. The town is finally saved.)
They are superheroes, who hold their equipment like swords, performing their duties without second thoughts, or blaming XYZ or ABC. Maybe they know that the blame game is not going to help. Maybe they know everyone is a messiah in his place. Maybe they know that apocalypse has one rule: If we do not stand united, we are defiantly going to fall united.
That’s how we are trained…. trained to wait… wait for the Promised Messiah, trained to consider ourselves safe inside with our own people. It’s not only us who think like this. So does the state we live in, the government we elect to govern us. They say every country has a plan A, B, C and D ready to fight a war against their presumably enemy country. They say every military has always been preparing to fight such glorious wars with deadly weapons for ages. They say every government also prepares to fight against a natural disaster like a tsunami, an earthquake and a flood. No doubt! because they do perform well in such disasters. They say Pentagon has a plan for the apocalypse, zombie attack and alien attack too. Just like a superpower!
So, we remember those lessons we have learned over the centuries. We remember not to trust other people but our people, because we have learned to discriminate against people. So we choose or make friends as well as enemies. We believe the traveller is always wise, brings something good for us. And yes, we are always ready to fight the unseen villain of humanity. Things didn’t happen the same way this time! No deadly Beowolf roamed the earth this time. No Dark Lord, anti-Christ, Aegisthus or Jafar plagued the town. Yes! a foreigner has been attacking us. But he wasn’t a citizen from the next town or next planet. He is no citizen! No human being! He is a citizen of the human body. The invader who has been attacking every“body” he sees around, making each of us a demon for the other person. So the demon is not an outsider this time. It can be us or our confidantes. In this war, every citizen is a warrior. A jinn is turning everyone into marble and everyone who touches the marble will be one of them. Everyone can be transformed now. Not willingly like Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, but unwillingly!
So, who is going to decide who is the villain this time? Surely us! We are in the habit of making enemies (thanks to our training) even in an apocalypse like the covid-19 outbreak. ABC calls corona an XYZ virus and XYZ says that it’s ABC army who planted this virus in XYZ land. We always forget that the saviour’s first move is to meet the townspeople and “ask” them to end their feuds and to fight against the demon because if we do not stand united, we are defiantly going to fall united.
Why does a Messiah need to tell it? It’s a common wisdom written behind every truck, Facebook pages on environmentalism and different sort of activism. And after this motivational speech, why does the Messiah fight beside the citizens like he is one of them? Notably, he was a different person with unique abilities before his motivational war speech. Maybe it’s his kind words that separate him from the herd. Maybe his thoughts are his unique ability. Maybe it’s the only missing ingredient from Grandma’s cookbook. And he is no Messiah without his philosophy. He might be as strong as his herd is. Because no hero fights alone, he always fights along with his people. Those who fight in the front row can be seen equally heroes. They know the recipe of wars. They know if they stand together, the town’s not going to fall. Currently, people fighting in the front row are no soldiers, they don’t have uniforms with badges on shoulders. They wear white coats, some of them wear a stethoscope around their neck and some of them wear safety goggles. And they are wearing it like armour these days. They are our own people (both he and she). They are one of us. They are not outsiders. They are not from Krypton, or faraway lands, or holding magical swords. Yet they are superheroes, who hold their equipment like swords, performing their duties without second thoughts, or blaming XYZ or ABC. Maybe they know that the blame game is not going to help. Maybe they know everyone is a messiah in his place. Maybe they know that apocalypse has one rule: If we do not stand united, we are defiantly going to fall united.