Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

Desensitization of Violence – The Ugly Face of Militancy

The social reaction towards tragic incidents and lethal attacks has declined tremendously in Afghanistan. The constant violent practices and suicide bombings carried out by militant fighters will hardly move people to tears. Religious fundamentalists who nurture radical ideology have desensitized violence and bloodshed in the society. Afghans have been embroiled in bloody war almost within four decades and their sensitivity is reduced amidst day-to-day carnage and ugly images.
Killing and wounding men, women and children in Afghanistan make repeated headlines in national international newspapers. Initially, people raised their voice in the loudest possible way with observing gory incidents and urged the government and international community to protect their rights and freedoms. They were shocked and pressurized mentally with the picture of dead bodies of terrorist victims. Too many tears were flown, too many hearts were broken, and too many people were saddened with the countless murders committed by terrorist fighters.
The peace agreement signed between the Taliban and the United States in the Qatari capital of Doha will unlikely put an end to the Taliban’s cruel practice. The Taliban fighters, who inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan soldiers and civilians, seek to continue their attacks relentlessly. With the past two decades, Afghans observed a spate of attacks and suicide bombings which left gory images behind with tens or hundreds of people wounded and killed. People’s tears dried and their hearts turned to stone in the process of time. To put it succinctly, the flagrant violation of human rights, mainly their fundamental rights; i.e., their rights to life and liberty and the amputated and riddled bodies shown through media and posted on social media desensitized violence and murder and hardly triggered a sense of public compassion.
It is believed that when life turns cheap in a society and violence and murder spark off no sense of pity or empathy, humanity, moral values and social norms will be at stake. A number of people and religious elements tend to lash out at western culture and call it detrimental to our culture, but they are silent about desensitizing death and violence in our society through terrorist attacks and their violent practices which will pose the most serious threat to our cultural values.
People’s lack of concern towards tragic issues will turn them indifferent towards all social affairs. Their moral dilemma and sense of humanity will decline with the passage of time. Gradually, they are more likely to engage in moral turpitude. After all, those who keep silent despite violent and anti-human practices and do not play their role actively in the society, they are considered, based on religious tenets, no better than those who are involved in such activities. Every single individual is supposed to play its role based on their ability and capability. Here, the officials have far heavier responsibility and will have to play their role constructively.
Indeed, people are not to blame, but it is the government which has not fulfilled its responsibilities and this issue is a bitter pill for the government to swallow. Despite promises made in Afghan constitution and during the presidential and provincial campaigns of officials, they failed to protect the rights and freedoms of nation.
It is believed that posting bloody and heart-wrenching pictures on social media will add insult to public injury rather than consoling them. This act will traumatize the viewers and fill them with strong sense of fear and chagrin. Similarly, it will also lead to desensitization if recurred. Despite the fact that we are more indifferent to such issues than years ago, if you scroll down your Facebook before your family members and they all see a sliced throat, it will certainly put an adverse effect on their mind.
The government will have to do its best to protect the rights and liberty of Afghan nation and change its traditional mechanism for combating terrorism as the Taliban have changed their aggressive tactics. For instance, now they target funeral ceremonies and carry out successive attacks in the same site, especially when police gather to help the victims, and by putting on police uniform, etc. Similarly, they have reinforced their intelligence through infiltrating police or places where soldiers are exposed to threat. The attack on Kabul military hospital in March 2017 was said to be arranged by a doctor from inside the hospital who acted as a member of the Taliban’s intelligence and gained trust after years of working there. Hence, these all should be eye-opener for Afghan government so as to change its strategy for combating terrorism so as to protect the public rights and liberty.
Furthermore, the clergy will have to preach against violence and terrorism through enlightening the true spirit of Islam in order to prevent from desensitization of violence. Although the clergy also paid sacrifices in this regard since the Taliban make no bone about attacking religious scholars, they should continue fearlessly.