Do we even want this barbarism to stop?

There is a striking parallel between the Sialkot lynching and the massacre of more than 90 Ahmadis in Lahore.


Faheem Younus August 23, 2010

What are some of the key features of the Sialkot tragedy? Innocent young men being mauled by a mob filled with hate, and with dozens of people standing by, including the police, all doing nothing. These are not the hallmarks of a regular terror attack where in a split second dozens of lives are lost.

There is a striking parallel between the Sialkot lynching and the massacre of more than 90 Ahmadis in Lahore on May 28 this year. Those worshippers were just as innocent — and the assailants filled with just as much hatred, even a willingness to give up their lives in the process. At the same time, there are differences as well.

In Sialkot, the family of the victims came to know about the tragedy after it had happened. In Lahore, the family members kept on begging the police to intervene. At least the whole nation is — rightfully — united in mourning the Sialkot tragedy. The massacre of the Ahmadis received a mixed reaction. Some expressed sympathies while others distributed sweets at the murder of the ‘infidels’. The relatives of the Sialkot victims are allowed to express their side of the story on the media. The Ahmadis were shown a copy of an ordinance and silenced.

Why are we so brutal as a society? Could it be lack of education? Or is it lack of law and order? Is this an American conspiracy? Could RAW be behind this? Is God angry with us? Where do we go from here?

Like a heroin addict, who keeps on needing a bigger dose for the same high, the mobs on the streets of Pakistan seem to want more and more – of blood. And they cheer when they see blood. I think that gruesome incidents such as these public executions are only going to increase because intolerance in our society is so prevalent and there is no sign of it abating. In any case, such things are already happening in parts of Fata under Taliban control. Media representatives, or folks willing to make cell phone videos, will have front row seats reserved. Executing the minorities would not ‘move’ the crowd. But something like cutting the hands of a nine-year-old ‘thief’, stoning a woman in objectionable clothing, or flogging a DVD store owner would.

We may say that we want to stop this barbarism. But do we? The state is behind the draconian laws that instil prejudice in Pakistanis from an early age. The clerics continue to push for a rigid and orthodox version of religion and are quick to call others ‘kafirs’. The influential and the elite come on talk shows and do just that— talk. The masses are indoctrinated with hatred and bred on a diet of resentment and anger caused in large part by lack of governance. And those who can change something instead change their country of residence.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2010.

COMMENTS (34)

jai | 10 years ago | Reply yes, the beating to death was disturbing but even more disturbing is the calls by many pakistanis to murder the murderers in the same fashion. this comes from a misplaced sense of justice and mistakenly believing that their morality is superior to the murderers in that episode. i’ve never understood why islam calls for the stoning to death of adulterers. firstly how is adultery between a couple any one else’s business and the even greater concern for the entire society being dehumanised and asked to partake in an inhuman event where a vicious crowd stones a person buried upto their shoulders to death. how is that different from this episode?
liahos | 10 years ago | Reply All the talk about corruption, lack of law and order, ignorance, religious extremism, etc., etc., may well be true in its own right but the fundamental problem is not social, psychological, legal, political or theological. The basic issue is biological. Men, particularly young men, bubbling with testosterone and no outlet are going to get violent. Throughout history mankind has invented institutions like the army, the university, the monestary, the prison, etc., etc., to control 'testosterone afflicted' young males. A society that can not effectively 'contain' this restless mass of energy, experiences violence in one form or another under one pretext or another. So what to do? If you can not have mass castarations, then you need total sexual freedom. Any society where young men get laid a minimum of 25 times a month on average, will be quite tranquil and violence free.
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