Thursday, September 14, 2017

There has to be an alternative to Violence

I should have at least four videos to this blog.
The first would be the video of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. People who are being disenfranchised, dispossessed of all belongings and driven from their own lands. Entire families being killed, tortured or rendered homeless. Thousands being forced to become refugees. People
whose  only crime is a decision to choose one faith instead of another.

The second video
would have been the one of Nigerian military men torturing, humiliating and killing young men in the Eastern part of Nigeria. Youth who happen to be part of a zone where the population are seeking autonomy. Persons  whose clamor for well-being, good governance and better management of national resources have gone unheard for decades. Igbos who seek to govern themselves as Biafra.

The third video
would have been the one of a young university student being beaten to stupor by four Ivorian policemen. A young man who was part of those protesting peacefully against an increase in non-statutory fees charged by educational institutions. A student whose only crime was to request for better education conditions.

There is also the footage from Syria.  And others from homes where domestic violence is rife.

But I shall share none of those.  Because in forwarding, in sharing, in commenting these videos,we perpetuate their violence. In multiplying the audience, we give more powers to those that think violence is the only way out and the stronger party should always win, even if they are wrong.

It is almost impossible for me to believe that violence is the most effective way to settle differences: among  nations, within countries, between the government and dissident population, between armed forces and the civilians, between couples, between adults and children.

There has to be an alternative. There has to be an alternative to brutal force.
There has to be a means of preventing genocides. There has to be an alternative to bombing out entire settlements. There has to be an alternative to gender-based domestic violence.

Governments need to learn or re-learn the art of negotiation. Peaceful societies, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal 16  needs our focus.  No matter the level of violence used to quieten citizen demands for a better existence, these demands wont go away. People may lie  low for a moment, but ultimately, the demands will surface.

The videos I could have shared here are mostly amateur videos shot from a personal phone. The rise in technology has armed almost every "phone-wielding" person with the capacity to shoot and share videos.. and get these to testify. State propaganda may work, but its days are numbered. The world is on social media and citizens are reporting their demands. If/when violence becomes the language used to respond to legitimate demands  for the respect of human rights..the resultant effect is that these demands go global.

There needs to be an alternative. There has to be an alternative. There must be an alternative.