Violence can be overcome by good deeds

Supporters of Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, take cover from tear gas as police officers arrest Kyagulanyi during his presidential rally in Luuka, Uganda, on November 18, 2020. 

Photo credit: Stringer | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Here in Kenya, gender-based violence seems to be taking root with recent reports made of a woman gang-raped, before her tormentors shoved broken bottles into her private parts.
  • But it is not all gloom. Some individual have poured out their charitable efforts in showing kindness to society.

The world is increasingly sinking into and getting mired in a disturbing culture of violence that is causing needless pain and trauma, across all the strata in society.

And most worrying is the interpersonal violence (PV) – intentional use of physical force/power, threatened or actual, against a family member or individuals. The victims of PV suffer various injuries, trauma, deprivation, and even death.

The growing trend of cruelty, an indicator of a dysfunctional society and dying humanity, is captured in the World Bank report titled: Conflict and Violence in the 21st Century.

Current trends as observed in empirical research and statistics, which indicates that an estimated 1,300 people are killed daily, translating to half a million annually in some form of interpersonal violence. Of course, many more go unreported even as the press is awash with such tragedies.

These are hard, cold and faceless statistics that don’t factor in the social, economic, psychological, and emotional cost to the families and larger society.

In a world now in the firm grip of a pandemic that has capsized our socio-economic and political structures, the levels of distress, confusion and misdirected anger, violence could so easily be the new normal of venting, especially among the vulnerable in society. This not to say that the rich don’t also cry.

It is in this context that the killing of George Floyd by police in the US, which raptured a fragile racial and social frame, also ignited global protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter (BLM). The world spoke albeit through hateful words, indicative of grave sentiments towards such acts.

Rogue officers

Closer home, violence reared its ugly head in Nigeria where trigger-happy police shot dead 12 innocent civilians, who were part of a protest against terror by an elite police unit.

Their crime was a demand for President Muhammadu Buhari to disband the rogue Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

To Buhari, the protesters got what they deserved for “undermining national security”. In Ethiopia, civilians are trapped in what is morphing into a genocide in the Tygran region. Thousands are being killed, maimed and rendered homeless for political reasons with children and women bearing the brunt of the violence.

Gender-based violence

Here in Kenya, gender-based violence seems to be taking root with recent reports made of a woman gang-raped, before her tormentors shoved broken bottles into her private parts. This vile deed generated anger across the country with calls to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Unfortunately, there has been no follow-up report on arrests. Thankfully, she survived. She will, however, have to live with the scars of the cruelty in a society known for its egocentrism.

With a pandemic striking this hard, its ironical that fellow humans, rather than empathise, prefer escapism into self-preservation; the fabric that nationally thrives, causing destructive ripples, which only deepen the crisis.

But it is not all gloom. Some individual have poured out their charitable efforts in showing kindness to society.

Think of the doctors, serving patients and dying in the line of duty. That’s a sacrifice that’s heart-warming, as it is heart-wrenching.

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