Society has hated lawyers since the dawn of time. The law is a profession that often gets little respect, in part because the bad tends to overshadow the good. The lawyers are supposed to help resolve conflicts, in a civil way, but what happened during the ‘lawyer’s rampage’ on Punjab Institute of Cardiology, was the complete opposite of the words ‘peaceful resolution’.
While, the masses aren’t wrong in blaming the ‘murderous’ black coated executioners for what went down, this is something that happens often in Pakistan. Our history of war, pillaging, suffering and immense losses have made violence our proffered agent of change and revolution.
Since the inception of Pakistan, we have endured countless losses and though our pain and suffering we have found solutions to our problems. Our intelligence and intricate web of culture, such as laws and social norms, always preserve and keep this innate violence in check. Humans, in general have the capacity for aggression, but also a propensity for compassion.
While, there is no doubt that culture can help to tamp down violence, but has also facilitated the evolution of collective violence. Religion and society are known to infuse empathy in the daily lives of people, but they are often misinterpreted and morphed into a free pass on violence. Even the most modern cultural structures, aimed to suppress violence don’t always work as intended. Thus, it is not uncommon to see religious scholars that have used the groundwork of religion as a pedestal for their political agendas to threaten violence. Similarly, other groups also possess the tendency to explicitly use one wrong to justify another.
Before and after the creation of Pakistan, our unity and love for each other has always been somewhat degraded. As a result, we have suffered, we have been divided and ruled and that sheer lack of prudence and unity has damaged us far more than any war ever could.
Psychologically, we have come to believe that unity is a close cousin of honor and we love to use honor as an argument. Like, the countless women we murder in the name of honor? Perhaps, I’ve digressed too far, but the point of interest here is how our nation is psychologically ravaged by the desire to be honorable.
The multiple divisions between cultures, across different provinces goes on to show that no matter how far we have come from our ‘bad times’, we still continue to support tribalism. The lawyers attack on Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), is a stark reminder that violence can serve a very specific goal, if one manages to be the victim.
The instrumental goal of the PIC attack was to seek revenge by intimidating a specific group of doctors who had beat up some lawyers. The shared belief here was the consecration of showing dominance and using violence, regardless of the profession’s ethics.
The phenomenon of proving your loyalty to the cause, by engaging in or justifying egregious acts bears a striking resemblance to the gang code of conduct. In gangs, to prove your loyalty you must kill someone from a rival gang or cause significant damage to the rival. Something quite similar to this gang mentality has emerged, with its own mix of honor.
This ‘Honor’ and ‘Unity’ happens to be stalwart enough to blindfold a conscience and overshadow remorse while one forcefully removes oxygen masks and canullas from cardiac patients. This rampage didn’t spin itself up overnight; Mashal Khan’s lynching and countless others who have died to these honor mobs, are examples of the effects of years of socialization and acculturation in particular environments.
Our violent self-expression, in the veil of honor has been socially embedded since day one.
Humans are neither naturally bad nor naturally good, they possess a capacities and possibilities. A deeper understanding about the roots of violence might help us achieve a violence free future, or at the very least help us manage violence.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The ACE News.
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