Pages

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Violence and tolerance

by Haris Gazdar

Non-violence, sculpture by Carl Fredrik Reutersward
Photo credit: Flickr/Georgio Galeotti

Targeted violence against Shia Muslims came home to me recently. I was catching up with a close relative (let’s call him Zain) who has himself been a victim of such violence a few years ago. He was shot and injured, but thankfully recovered. We were at a family gathering and I urged him to take another helping of food when he said that he needed to watch his diet because he had “restricted his mobility” and was not getting enough exercise. It turned out that there had been a spate of shootings culminating in the attack on a majlis at a home in the North Nazimabad locality of Karachi, and many of those incidents directly affected his social circles. Zain felt that he needed to be cautious. The almost normal way in which we spoke about these threats was, on reflection, shocking. Perhaps, being a survivor, had made him stoical and stronger.

While deeply affected Zain is one of those people who is able to see the human dimension of such incidents. Yes, these were sectarian attacks, hence political by their very nature, but the individuals and families who had been targeted needed the support any victims of violence needed. Practical matters such as the safe and sensitive conveyance of dead bodies from the morgue to their homes for funerals took priority. He had recently been for pilgrimage to Iraq where what he expected to be a deeply spiritual experience was marred by reminders of a violent struggle - an entire generation of young men was preparing itself or being prepared to become soldiers and martyrs. I could see that in Zain’s worldview retributive violence was as disturbing as the initial act itself.

We got talking about violence in general, and not just sectarian violence. How there is so much violence in action and in speech all around us. Yes, between religious persuasions, but also in virtually every other field of human interaction. The rich routinely and almost unthinkingly conduct their relations with the poor through violence – violent thoughts and violent speech. And then they are paranoid that the poor will one day pay back in kind, so they deploy even more means of violence to protect themselves. Small disputes can escalate into violence conflagrations – between ethnic groups, factions and even among relatives. Even the normal flow of traffic is punctuated by violent sounds and gestures which can escalate into something more terrible.

How do individuals and collectives deal with violence? One way of answering this question is to see violence not as an event but a trajectory. Individuals, communities and entire countries can go up and down the scale. But most people, even those who believe that violence can be productive, say that they ultimately want peace. Hardly anyone accepts that they initiated violence, and it is virtually impossible to prove this one way or another. Those who are seen to be very aggressive say that their violence is a way for ultimately ending violence and creating peace. This is, of course, a slippery slope. If every act of violence is met with another, even bigger one, how long do we carry on until one side or the other submits? And is submission just or sustainable?

Another common response is to say that there is nothing to fight over. Those of different religious, ideological, political and ethnic affiliations are in reality one people and do not really have any serious disputes. Being in the middle of violence, this can be a soothing thought. Leaders who hold out hope that differences might be trivial are seen as working for a de-escalation of violence. We seek out those religious leaders who preach inter-sect harmony to counter those who emphasise differences. This response, however, is not radically different from the violent response to violence. It works, when it does, in tandem with the strategy of the big stick. In nearly all cases it is a balm that accompanies a violent crackdown. Saying that there are no differences is not all that much better, in my opinion, than assuming that any difference should be articulated violently.

When disputes arise, as they will, we have not done the work to prepare non-violent ways for dealing with them. Individuals have not learnt how to manage their emotions in the face of provocation, and collectives have not worked out their ways of resolve differences through the pursuit of non-violent methods of action. Tolerance, of course, is an essential condition for de-escalating levels of violence. It can give us space and time to think and act non-violently. But merely tolerating differences in the hope that they will not, ultimately, provoke a violent reaction in ourselves or others, is betting too much on chance. What is needed are individual, social and political practices and methods of action which will empower good people like Zain to anticipate and pre-empt differences from escalating into violence.

*This blog originally appeared as part of a special report 'On Tolerance' on The News on Sunday

4 comments:

  1. Am Lucy Morgan from Atlanta Georgia i was suffering from genital herpes, oral herpes, shingles. Before I came in contact with dr. Kham It is no longer news that the Acquired immune deficiency syndrome Herpes Virus is increasing by the day, The fear is that many people living with the sickness are scared of saying it because of the stigma that comes along with it.I am bold enough among many others to state that there is now a potent cure to this sickness but many are unaware of it.I discovered that I was infected with the virus 3 months ago, after a medical check-up. My doctor told me and I was shocked, confused and felt like my world had crumbled. I was dying slowly due to the announcement of my medical practitioner but he assured me that I could live a normal life if I took my medications, In a bid to look for a lasting solution to my predicament, I sought for solutions from the voodoo world. I went online and searched for every powerful trado-medical practitioner that I could severe, because I heard that the African Voodoo Priests had a cure for Herpes syndrome. It was after a little time searching the web that I came across one Dr. Kham website who offered to help me, He gave me some steps to follow and I meticulously carried out all his instructions. Two days ago to be precise, I went back to the hospital to conduct another test and to my amazement, the results showed that " I am NEGATIVE" You can free yourself of this Herpes virus by consulting this great African Voodoo Priest via this EMAIL dr.khamcaregiver@gmail.com or dr.khamcaregiver@outlook.com] WHATSAPP NUMBER +2348159922297, You can Also Visit his website to know more about him at > https://drkhamherbalhealingcenter.wordpress.com/

    HE CONFIDENTLY TOLD ME HE CAN ALSO SOLVE THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS WITH ANY DELAY IN TIME

    PREGNANCY spell

    EPILEPSY cure spell

    GENPILENCI

    HIV AIDS.

    PREGNANCY

    DIABETICS

    STROKE.

    EXPANDS OF PENIS BREAST

    H.P.V TYPE 1 TYPE 2 TYPE 3 AND TYPE 4. TYPE 5.

    HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS

    HERPES.

    SYPHILIS.

    CANCER.

    HEPATITIS A B and C.

    HIGH BLOOD PRESSURES AND BODY BOILS.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I Want To Appreciate Dr.OYAGU for his great deeds, I Was Diagnosed With type 2 Herpes Virus Last year,And i Was Looking For Solution To Be Cured Luckily I Saw Testimonies On How Dr.OYAGU Cure Herpes Virus I Decided To Contact Dr.OYAGU I Contacted Him He Prepared A Herbal Medicine Portion And Sent It To Me,I Started The Herbal Medicine For My Health.He Gave Me Step By Step Instructions On How To Apply It, When I Applied It As Instructed, I Was Cured Of This Deadly Herpes Within 2 weeks, I Am Now Herpes Negative.My Brother And Sister I No That There Are So Many People That Have The Same Herpes Virus Please contact Dr OYAGU To Help You Too,And Help Me To Thank Dr.OYAGU For Cure Me, I’m Cured By Dr. OYAGU Herbal Medicine,His Contact Email:oyaguherbalhome@gmail.com
    Or Cell Whatsapp Number +2348101755322 thank you

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have had (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) disease over the past six years and I've been in constant pain, especially on my knees. During the first year, I believed in God that one day I would be cured. This disease began spreading all over my body, and I was receiving treatment from my doctor, a few months ago, I searched on the internet if I could get any information about the treatment of this disease, and in my research, I saw a testimony from someone who had recovered from (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) By this man, Dr. Uromi she gave this man the email address, and we recommend contacting him in case of illness that will help him, so I wrote to Dr Uromi the to tell him about my (HERPES virus) well after all the procedures and treatments that this man gave me a few weeks later I started experiencing changes everywhere. Now I'm here to testify that I am no longer sick with herpes, I have experience a total transformation in my life, because all herpes patients get your herbal medicine to treat your disease. There is a rapid improvement in my health, I no longer feel pain and wake up every morning feeling energetic. So my friends advise if you have such a disease or any other disease at all, you can contact him on any of these diseases WhatsApp +2349021374574 Email: Druromiherbalhome@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete