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OP-ED: Humans vs humans

  • Published at 10:53 pm March 19th, 2021
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Why is there so much cruelty in our society?

When a man beats up a woman, it is likely that she protested against something that the man did or said or ordered her to do. The man, presumably the husband, the so-called bread winner of the family, or maybe a boyfriend, didn’t like what the woman said or protested against. And he beat her up.

When a man beats up a woman, maybe his wife, our society, quite eager to uphold religious values, would say that a man has the right to control his female partner. That’s what God has ordained.

I become quite flabbergasted when I hear that an egoistic husband beats up a wife just because she doesn’t listen to him; and then, in the dead of the night, the husband has the desire to make love to his wife.

My question is: How would you make love to the woman who has just been beaten up by you, and is cursing you to go to hell? Yes, that’s right. When you, men, use your fists against the person you say you love, that person curses you and you’re not at all an adorable person who you could make love with. Love is a precondition of making love.

When a teacher beats up a student, a mere child, he creates a broken heart with the possibility of hating the teacher for the rest of his or her life. Manhandling can never be a form of punishment for a student. In our times, many of us were beaten by our teachers. And honestly speaking, we don’t remember what they taught us; we only remember that they were a bunch of cruel people and we don’t have an iota of respect for them.

Many parents, in the name of controlling them, also physically assault their own children. Many also claim that beating up your own child is sometimes very necessary. Otherwise, the children won’t learn the lessons that we want to teach them.

A foolishly funny logic.

Recently, a teacher of an Islamic school was sent to prison for beating up a child. Excellent! The teacher is punished and he will learn his lesson. Job done! Period. Now, let’s find some more like him and also send them to jail.

No. Our job isn’t done. Until we do something to change teachers’ anger into love and eliminate this culture of cruelty, we won’t have a psychologically sound nation. What kind of human will a boy or girl turn into when he or she grows up after being assaulted in their childhood?

We have seen many incidents of public lynching. Someone is beaten to death just because he or she stole something; a mother was beaten by a passerby just because they thought she was a child kidnapper. We take part in the gruesome act of lynching happily, with enthusiasm. And we don’t even know the person we are hitting.

It looks like, to my mind, a collective paranoia. When I consider that beating up another human is part of my right as a human being, there must be something seriously wrong with me.

Consider someone in police custody. We have heard stories about how alleged criminals are treated when they are taken to police remand. Police interrogation isn’t verbal; it is extremely physical. Sometimes, these stories of torture are published in the news.

I know we’re not idealists, but what does our law say? Doesn’t it say we cannot torture someone in police custody? Then why do we take it for granted that we have to resort to torture as a tool for interrogation? Where are we coming from? 

What are we achieving by giving painful treatment to people who cannot defend themselves? Have we reduced crimes from our social life? Far from it.

If we have to resort to medieval torture in order to get alleged criminals to confess their crimes, we must be living in that time; our psychology hasn’t matured; we’re still emulating an age-old grammar to make the society crime-free.

I’ve just read a piece of news in which it says a gang of people, who aim to assert their supremacy in their locality, use machetes to cut off the hands of their opponents. There are also some criminals who do the same when they mug innocent people.

Imagine those innocent people or your opponents also carry machetes or guns for their own protection. What would happen then? How cruel would they become towards you? Not very difficult to imagine.

Now, if those humans had any ability to defend or protect themselves from the cruelty we display towards them, what would they display?

The answer is surely blowing in the wind.

I’ve cited only a few examples of our own cruel psyche in this piece, but there are thousands. Sometimes, our cruel nature overshadows our humanity. Most of the time, we fail to realize that we are humans and we can love.

I believe our cruelty towards others evolves from another pain, another trouble that is deeply seated within us. We, the cruel and arrogant humans, have a different kind of sorrow that is leading us to exert our strong emotions on other humans -- in a cruel way.

I don’t know whether our state,  -- and we as a collective population -- needs to think about these and do something to reduce cruelty in society. Maybe, maybe not. 

But when I look at these from afar, my conclusion doesn’t comfort my awareness as a human.

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.

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