Not much was left to say when, during an otherwise sensible discussion, a friend quipped, “The Innocence of Muslims angers them and the nonsense of Muslims angers me”. 

To me, the recent deluge of opinions, accusations and insults has been quite disturbing. Because it has swept away all possibilities of progressive debates and submerged every voice that refuses to side with any one camp of reasoning. Seasoned journalists have abandoned their proclaimed dedication to factually and ethically objective editorials for more personal and aggressive outbursts. TV show hosts and their guests remind me of brawling kids who point fingers at each other and tearfully retort, “He started it”. 

My generation too has been busy fighting for the revolution. On Facebook. We have been diligently slapping each other with links and counter-links to viral articles, cartoons and videos that were neither created nor evaluated by any one of us. But we are enjoying the convenience to cherry-pick the facts that prove our arguments. Arguments that do not question us or make us feel uncomfortable; like the style that suits us more or the size that fits us well. 

So as a non-Muslim, I want to share a cartoon that mocks Muslims who ignore hundreds of dying Syrian Muslims but protest against a trashy film. As a Muslim, my choice would be the cartoon that questions Western media’s silence over the drone attacks on innocent women and children. As a non-Muslim, I can simply ignore Amnesty International when it accuses several European governments for doing nothing to prevent discrimination against Muslims. As a Muslim, I’d pay no attention to a similar Amnesty International report that criticizes Muslim-majority countries for human rights violations of non-Muslims. 

When I was photographing this mural a few weeks ago, I wanted the hand in the frame to represent the invisible face of the muralist that questions both these extremes. But then, no matter how powerful or relevant a question is, it still cannot be more than a question. It is the response to a question that has consequences; a response that catapults a change and a response that can evoke a much better question. Unfortunately, our noisy responses to the ongoing crisis are horrid testimonies of just these two faces. The third face remains largely invisible with a voice that is too feeble to be heard. 

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