There seems to be no place to hide these days from massacre and mass destruction of some human beings by another. Our children can be disturbed in their safe haven, so are others in Iraq, Lebanon, East Timor or in Nigeria trying to vote in an election.
We have lost patient with peaceful coexistence and we are ready to dish it out to one another so that somebody can have his way. What can we learn from such tragedies in our localities?
This recent massacre in Virginia Tech touches all of us worldwide but so was Columbine massacre. My own fear is that we see and hear it daily on television and radio happening to others in different countries that we may become less sensitive.
There was the report of a man who released poisonous gas in the subway in Japan trying to kill as many people as he could. So when we hear that it happens elsewhere as ransacking a police station and killing people in Kano, Nigeria, we tend to think that it can not happen in our backyard. For families of those who lost lives to whatever ideologue, the few killed are all they got.
We thought it is only children in Calcutta, Nairobi, or in the ghettos who seek attention by risky behavior claiming they are as good as dead since they have nothing to loose. They joined gangs to belong to a family, brotherhood or for protection missing in their life. The middle class kids have displayed the same deadly behavior in an environment that is not lacking in basic needs.
n the midst of plenty, many turn out to be lonely or may not fit in with the others. So they do something dramatic to catch our attention. If these were bad kids, they could have been isolated into correctional program but what about those who are well accomplished and could not be detected until it is too late?
A few of us have lost control and it is reflected in our children. If Cho Seung-Hui, at 23 lost control and became a mass murderer on Virginia Tech’s campus, nobody wants to accept his blame. I am sure his parents would call him a good kid. If he felt rejected in a fathom relationship, couldn’t he find someone else, ask his parents or friends he shied away from to find him someone, seek dating service, or seek counsel of others?
He never learned the process of accepting loneliness, or looked up to us as role model. He could have been worried that parents would embarrass him or friends would laugh at him.
This is by far not an excuse for him to kill but for the sake of other lonely children, we need to demonstrate examples of handling explosive situation without resorting to crude, coarse language, threats or encourage culture of violence. Rejects in the society always look for relevance sooner or later but usually by repulsive way, if assimilation is blocked.
Violence is preceded by an atmosphere where caustic and humiliating intolerance in our words and gestures flourish. It can be political, religious, racial or sadistic ideologue that is reflected on our televisions, radios and in our children who play cowboys with guns versus Indians with arrows.
Not even our church, mosque or synagogue that is supposed to civilize us by instilling the fear of God; is safe anymore. They have been defiled with weapons of all types. So low is our tolerance, the Taliban destroyed centuries of historical images in Afghanistan because their own religion has no room for images of others.
We hear that many people in America carry guns everywhere anyway. Some of them claim that guns do not kill, suicide bombers do not kill, neutron bombs do not kill, it is people that kill! Indeed we have bombs that will destroy property with 99 percent accuracy, but not people except by collateral damage.
The argument in Virginia now is that if other students were allowed to carry their own guns, the murders could have been limited. Others beg to differ; it could have turned into a war zone. Could there be some other world somewhere where some more intelligent beings are watching our folly?
Sober, we do get in our moment of grief and we are surrounded by clergies from many denominations observing moment of silence. We ask our neighbors to pass on an act of kindness hoping that it will spread. As we recover, we become complacent. In disaster we claim we do not know how it could happen here; these were good people and the children are innocent. We need to look deeper into ourselves, in the mirror, we will the children.
As we face our invention of many means by which we destroy ourselves either by guns, poisoned arrows or bombs to gain initial advantage in order to inherit and rule the world, we shriek at the thought of others possessing the same.
Within the same community, we are divided into strong powerful conservatives who turn the badge of arms into honor; and the meek, cerebral liberals who procrastinate on suffering because they are cowards. Yet liberals use force when absolutely necessary, as in Bosnia in support of the Muslims.
Even the democracy we cherish so much because it gives everyone participatory dignity to determine our government is being diluted. In Russia, electoral regional governments were replaced with appointees. In the USA, the Supreme Court determined the President that got minority votes but following the rule of the game, those with majority votes accepted.
President Carter told a story when he was an observer in Nigeria. As he looked away for a minute, empty ballot box became full. He asked when votes came; he was told since he looked away! Now, it is worse, hooligans in politicians’ skin would steal ballot boxes in broad day light. Deprived people ask for more: Na democracy we go chop?
Everyone in Nigeria just accepted the ruling of the Supreme Court in spite of their disagreements. Our children actually witness politicians and election officers abide by the Supreme Court ruling. That is one giant step for our Country that we should be proud of. The rule of law holds and everyone should be happy, right? Nevertheless, it has not stopped the violence. It is so ingrained in our politics, it will take a while to abandon.
We look at Pakistan where the Supreme Court Chief Justice was humiliated as one of those meek liberal, by a dictator. If people look at the court as the last place to seek redress, they are less likely to take the law into their hands.
But administrative hearings are equally important before the courts for those who may not have the means or desire to navigate a process they consider overwhelming. Consequently, people who have been disenfranchised and exhausted laid down rules designed to placate them may loose hope. Our children are learning from us.
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Tola Toronto, Canada April 20, 2007
A civilize analysis of the recent pride on violence that may destroy all of us. In our Country the greedy on s would rather destroy everything than be exposed. Outside, they fight for dominance with the hope of domination.
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