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Just what is life worth?

14th September 2012
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Editorial Cartoon

With good enough health and adequate time around, there lies ahead of humankind a universe of infinite possibilities – to love, to learn, to develop and to love more and more. But in denying another person this divine gift, there can be neither excuse nor justification.

Any attempt to impose one’s will on another would be hard to defend, and one doesn’t have to be a Mahatma Gandhi to know or appreciate this. Intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, a group or a community, regardless of whether it results in injury, death, psychological harm or deprivation, is simply unacceptable.

There are evident links between level of violence and modifiable factors like poverty, income and gender inequality, and in all these one sees the need to forestall or avoid violence in all its manifestations.

Quitting a habit or nurturing a child is a virtue and, much like most other virtues, can only be attained by extending love to oneself and other people.

Tragically, many people commonly take love for granted and seldom show or live it. Doesn’t this in a very important way explain the 700,000-odd reported globally every year?

For the incidence of violence to recede, all communities ought to introduce parenting education to prevent maltreatment of children as well as training in life skills.

They also need to adopt school programmes that place a premium on address gender norms and attitudes, curb alcohol availability and misuse through enactment and enforcement of liquor licensing laws and/or taxation and pricing regulations, reduce access to guns, knives and other weapons, and promote gender equality by supporting economic empowerment of women.

Sheila L. Videbeck, author Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing put it aptly that anger is a normal emotion that involves a strong reaction to a perceived provocation.

This relates closely to such incidents as terrorist attacks on diplomatic missions apparently meant to settle scores or make the attackers’ presence on the world scene not only felt but also feared. Justifiable anger, really, despite the costs in the spilling of innocent blood, etc.?

People often lose control of their anger only when they (consciously) choose to. In fact, most opportunistically seize the moment to escalate the emotion in the mistaken belief that doing so makes whatever atrocity they commit ‘understandable’.

It is one of the principles of governance that all persons and institutions both public and private, including the State itself, are conform to laws of the land – and these ought to be enforced without fear or favour. Realistically, it requires measures to ensure adherence.

No person or institution, however prominent, powerful or wealthy, is above the law – though laws sometimes dismally fail to serve as true “levellers”.

There is no way anyone can be allowed to continue to behave as if the “law of the jungle” where might is right is still the way to go. Human civilisation has made such giant strides that everyone ought to say a big NO to whatever it is that seeks to diminish the value of human life., for human life is invaluable!

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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