Thursday, November 3, 2011

For the brave boys of Amboli

I realised that a lot of you may not know their story.
Here are a few links that may help – detailing the incident, an eye witness account and a glimpse of the public outrage thereafter.

FB group:

In fairy tales, when the knight in shining armour saves the damsel in distress, it’s the end of a drama filled story, the happy ending.

Moral science classes teach you to stand up against the wrongs you see before you, to ‘do the right thing’.

Our religious beliefs tell us that evil will never prosper.

But then life happens and you realise that the world we live in is a lot murkier than you ever thought possible.

I will not recount the story of the untimely deaths of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes. Like me, you too would have probably read and re-read the articles and blogs and visited the various facebook pages and groups launched in anger and revolt against the events around these deaths.

We live in a country where people cross over to the other side at a faster rate than we care to be aware of.

When you’re sitting on the outside, it’s always easy to say ‘it was his time’ or ‘He died for a cause’. We’ve all heard these words and we’ve probably said them as well. And yes, it may all be true.

But there’s no way in hell that it means we do not have a moral responsibility in all of this. Or that justice does not need to be carried out.

These boys were sons, brothers, friends, colleagues. Who fought for what was right.

We are scared. We are angry. We are up in arms.

This could have been your son, your brother, your friend, your love, your colleague. If we don’t take a stand now...we leave the world a little less safer for our sons and daughters. We will continue to fear the nights and the bad guys, who have clout on their side. We will continue to take a beating and we will continue to walk in fear.

Eve teasing has graduated from playful name calling in colleges to murder. There is no pretty way to say it and it’s pointless to even try.

We have no choice but to accept what has happened. But we have the choice to fight it. Will you?

It must stop.

I want my children to know that the concept of justice is not dead. That criminals are held accountable for their crimes. That in our country, where the girl child is desperately fighting for her rights, she will have people who will fight for her honour without fear.

Would you be able to sit back and watch all of this if Keenan and Reuben had been your brothers?

It is a personal debate that each one of us must have – conscience vs reality.

The fear of standing up and fighting against this is very real and it grips us all. But if you choose not to react today, your younger brother or daughter will do it tomorrow. You may lose a life that you could have helped save...with your actions of today.

Would I have run out and yelled and screamed had I been there? I am haunted by that question and have thought of it often in the last few days.

I will never know.

But I can hope that if ever faced with that situation, I will.

Would I desperately try to hold back the ones I love from fighting against that gang, alongside Keenan and Reuben?

I will never know.

But if they did, I would probably watch and cry silent tears and pray that they came back to me safely.

You can never be fully prepared for something like this. But the will to fight...the will to stand up against this strong within us all.

We need to find that voice. It is all we have.

In a country like ours, the media has a huge responsibility towards it’s public, especially in cases like this.

We look to you; the media, to bring injustices to light, to champion just causes and to not just look at TRP’s.

It’s not about who’s going to make a movie about this whole tragedy.

It’s not about which media station gets the most coverage and sole rights to the full story.

It’s not about putting on your best supportive face and doing an angry debate on national television and the minute the camera stop rolling, you’re back to being one of the many.

Do not play, do not mock, do not disgust.

We believe you. We watch you. We hang on your every word.

Because we choose to think of you as a person of substance. Because we want to believe that you will make a difference. Because we have faith that you can bridge that insane gap between the victim and the accused.

Can you live up to those expectations? Can you make that difference instead of asking grieving friends and family for movie rights?

Can you help bring the accused to justice? Can you hold the government accountable on behalf the public?

Can you help uphold the constitution? Can you be the real voice of the people?

Honour your craft. Step up to the plate and bat for the crowds who WANT to believe in you.

The media has taken a right beating in recent times. Show us that you’re here for the right reasons, that you do give a damn about the country whose politics and drama you feed off. Give us back our faith in the industry that is meant to use our right to the freedom of speech; for justice.

I know talk is cheap.

But while I am angered for the victims in cases like these and I want to do something about it back home, I cannot.

But it is my country. It is my tomorrow.

And I can raise my voice against this injustice. And I am.

Join me. For the sake of all our tomorrows.

Rest in peace Keenan and Reuben.

I wish I had a more fitting tribute for your bravery.... but then that’s what Heaven is for.


  1. Well said! I pray justice is speedy, not just for Keenan and Reuben, but also to serve as an example to other cases languishing for years in the courts.

  2. I agree.. I sure hope the justice is quick.. This should really not happen again.. or atleast.. someone who thinks of doing things like this... should think twice..

    I hope the families gather sufficient strength go to thru this..

  3. Your words brought tears to our eyes. We too join in with your voice and are sure that many many others do too. We hope and pray that justice happens for this case and all the others that are pending for long periods. Hope our government is able to bring in laws to clean up such termites.

  4. Very powerful and well worded. I think of little Dylan who was murdered with his grandmother ... whatever happened to those boys? This is another case. Will we ever get justice? I wonder.