What we lack is what we need

Paralyzed with fear, she watched them force their way on the bus, carrying guns. They started checking the I.D cards of the men present, in order to determine their identity, thus their race. There were four of them, four monsters and they moved forward to mercilessly kill; just because someone did not belong to their race, just because someone was different. They killed and they left. As the last one was stepping off the bus, she dared to glance at him; his face, like the rest of them, was wrapped in a dirty scarf, revealing only the eyes which reflected one dominant sentiment; hate.

The fictional (yet based on true events) paragraph above only describes one of the many situations in Pakistan where hatred possesses people and makes them commit the most horrendous, most unspeakable of crimes. Discrimination and intolerance are damaging our society just as a cancer destroys a human being. Lack of tolerance can destroy a community, and regrettably all kinds of divisions exist in my society. It is the unfortunate yet undeniable truth that people in this society love to hate.

I wake up listening to reports of people targeted and killed because they are from a different race or ethnic origin; I sleep listening to news bulletins of suicide bombings in schools, shrines and mosques because certain people want to spread what is their idea of Islam. We have a society where those who dare to speak up for what they believe in and against what they do not are killed because there are people present that refuse to accept that others may have differing views.

Why? This one-word question is what I have been asking myself for quite some time now. Why would someone despise the next person for simply not having the same belief? Why would someone believe that only his caste/creed/race deserves to live, while the rest deserve to die? Why would someone think that their being, their existence is most valuable but the next person has no right to live, simply for not being exactly like them? The answer to all these questions is one: intolerance of others, which has stemmed from extreme loathing for all that which is different from us. We fear the unknown, and we will continue to fear them unless we open our minds to education and learn about new things. The masses need to be educated in order to rid themselves of the intolerant and bigoted beliefs, which stems from the fear of the unknown. 

We as a nation need to realize that our strength lies in the fact that our country has so many ethnic communities. We need to understand that this variety can make life multidimensional so that we emerge as self-sustaining and a mature community; caring and cooperative where the most common sentiment would be that of love for one another, regardless of one’s race or religion. 

The fact is that it is high time we acknowledge these issues and act upon them. We need to step out of our bubble and realize that the world, at least the one we live in, is not rose-colored; there are serious issues in our country that need to be addressed and the initial as well as the paramount step towards attempting at resolving our problems is educating the public.

If our society is literate and our minds have been exposed to education about different things, only then will we be able to view things logically and make rational decisions. What wars, guns and hostility cannot solve, education will. Education about different cultures, about History and Sociology, about Math and Physics, will allow us to comprehend things in a rational manner. Only then will we realize that someone is not beneath us just because they are Shia or Christian, that it’s okay to have people with different faiths, different beliefs in our society, that we can live in harmony with them. Societies which have progressed are those where there is no prejudice on the basis of sex, color, creed or ethnic origin. It’s time for a change, for a revolution. Education about different things will teach us to accept and be tolerant of different things. We need education to liberate minds, to at least give our population a chance at making rational decisions on their own, and we need it now.

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4 thoughts on “What we lack is what we need

  1. Raiha says:

    Kudos Zara. You’ve certainly hit the nail on the head.

    I would like to add one thing however, that the type of education we need the most is that of Humanity! That at the end of the day, we are ALL humans. We all have 206 bones in our body, we all have a covering of sinew and skin. We have to ingrain in our minds it is NOT okay to kill other human beings on trivial matters. How will we feel when a bullet goes through OUR chest or a dagger is put to OUR neck? Every child must know what the consequence of taking a human life is.

    And yes, education IS necessary, but so is punishment and a working judicial system. How many terrorist, murderers, rapists have you seen hung, or punished in any way? In our constitution, according to Shariah Law, the punishment of rape is death by stoning. Have you ever heard of that happening? All we read is a newspaper report that “this this this has happened to a minor girl, Police are taking action”. And then what? Silence. No punishment, nothing. The criminal pays off the Police, and viola, he’s living life as a free man!

    • Zara Jan Durrani says:

      Dear Raiha, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. We do need humanity, in fact, shouldn’t that be programmed in our system??

      However, considering the conditions of our beloved Motherland, I am afraid the ‘jahaalat,’ or illiteracy has certainly taken it’s toll on the population. We need education to remind the masses that, as you said, we are all humans. Once basic school education is given to a person, they will realize that hatred towards fellow citizens (or actually any innocent human being) is simply idiocy.

      And yes, we most certainly need proper enforcement of the law and according to me at least, that can come solely from proper basic education.

    • Zara Jan Durrani says:

      Dear Raiha, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. We do need humanity, in fact, shouldn’t that be programmed in our system??

      However, considering the conditions of our beloved Motherland, I am afraid the ‘jahaalat,’ or illiteracy has certainly taken it’s toll on the population. We need education to remind the masses that, as you said, we are all humans. Once basic school education is given to a person, they will realize that hatred towards fellow citizens (or actually any innocent human being) is simply idiocy.

      And yes, we most certainly need proper enforcement of the law and according to me at least, that can come solely from proper basic education.

      • Raiha says:

        Yes…

        Although there’re flaws even in our education system. Our educated people can be turned into extremists in a jiffy… Even some of my teachers had very…debatable… beliefs.

        It scares me when I see these EDUCATED jaahils, and there are unfortunately many in our country. Maybe you’ve had the good fortune of never meeting one?

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