Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 15th, 2018

People – ‘Your Brethren in Religion or in Kind’


People – ‘Your Brethren in Religion or in Kind’

“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love,” these words have been spoken by a Nobel laureate Martin Luther.
Nonviolent mechanism for protecting human rights and freedoms has been disregarded for two main reasons: first, men’s megalomania and lust for power have strongly bonded a king with his throne. The bloody war in Syria, which has killed around 500,000 people, unfolds this fact. Syria, once a peaceful country, has been changed into hotbed of horror and terror and streams of blood are shed every day. The shockingly high graph of casualties, gory incidents, heart-wrenching stories, etc. are highly outrageous. Women and children are burning amidst violence and bloodshed. Human rights and dignity are violated in the worst possible way.
Fundamental ideologies of warring parties are excommunicating people for their racial and religious backgrounds and spread hatred. The main players behind this bloody game spur fundamentalists on to slay combatants and non-combatants alike and create ugly episodes. Don’t you still believe that “man is man’s wolf”?
If one considers the day-to-day catastrophes and tragedies, they will think that we are living in the state of nature – when people shed the blood of one another out of ignorance and oppression. In the state of nature, men lived in tribal structure and it was “war of all against all”. In this state, people cherished parochial mindset and view the world and humanity from a very narrow lens. For instance, women were treated as pariahs, racial superiority was practiced widely, ethical code and humanity were meaningless, etc.
To understand the magnitude of barbarity, simply imagine the horrible stories of gladiators. A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. In this game, human rights and dignity were violated flagrantly. A number of people, who were considered natural slaves or inferior, were forced to entertain those claiming racial superiority.
We claim to live in modern world and condemn the barbaric practices of men living in the state of nature. We claim to live in democratic society and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), approved after the Second World War, to mitigate the sufferings of mankind. Based on the UDHR, men are born free with natural and violable rights and dignity and they are urged to treat one another with the spirit of brotherhood. All people, regardless of their social, political, sexual and religious orientations, are considered members of human family.
Despite this fact, our bleeding never stops and our anguish never comes to an end. Life is extremely cheap. The discourse over human and women’s rights, the national and international conferences with the aim of alleviating public sufferings and reducing violence have not been a panacea for our problems. The modern world left men at the mercy of greater threats i.e. more destructive weapons. Nuclear powers menace one another. Lust for power has whetted their appetite for further bloodshed. Moral values are in decline and altruistic feelings are moribund. To put it succinctly, modern people are more unconcerned and stone-hearted than those in the state of nature were.
Worst of all, the emergence of modern terrorist networks blackmails the entire world. People of any race and religion are targeted violently by militant fighters. Disregard and contempt for human rights and dignity are outrageous. Neither men nor women are able to exercise their rights freely.

Peace will remain elusive if this trend continues. To sum up, the reasons behind all this violence are believed to be: practicing no religious tolerance; exercising fundamental ideology; claiming racial superiority; humiliating human rights and dignity and treating one another with disdain. If human societies do not uphold the fundamental rights – the rights to life, liberty and dignity – of mankind, violence and bloodshed will continue unabated. Moreover, one should treat others with the spirit of brotherhood. Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S) writes to one of his governors to treat citizens as brothers, “Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in kind.”

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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