Just when I thought the human race couldn’t become more selfish than they already were, I was hit by the most absurd realization. The blow came right in the face. How can one be so heartless? We have become so excessively concerned about our own selves and about the people we love, that we don’t care even if the person unknown to us is dying.
The ridiculousness of the situation has surfaced to such a level that it is agonizing to explain.
“Where?” My mother would ask after hearing that there has been a mishap.
“Lahore.” I would say casually.
“Where?” She would ask on another occasion.
“Karachi.” I would reply changing the channel.
“Where?” She would ask, yet again on another.
“Peshawar.” I would reply in a panicked voice.
Upon hearing that, she would rush to the living room, her eyes glued to the TV, prayers escaping her lips. Are the people of Karachi and Lahore not humans? Does their death not affect anyone? Of course they are and of course their deaths affect a lot of people, it’s just that they are someone we don’t know. We wouldn’t blink an eye, we wouldn’t flinch. We wouldn’t care as long as the victim is not our loved one.
I remember the time when a bullet shot, a person being victim of target killing, suicide bombing and drones were alien to my country. I still remember the time when any of them happening reached the news channel and the whole family would grieve over it, even though the mishap would be miles away from us. The news would haunt us for days and the buzz would go on for weeks. Funny, how time changes and how our reactions to these incidents also change.
Time passed and these fatalities became more frequent until a time came when no day passed by without there being no bad news. It became a part of our lives. No more did we grieve about any of the bombing in a local market in Lahore or the target killing in Karachi.
“Nothing new.” I would hear people comment when they saw the news, even though I would see a lot of new killings mentioned on the screen.
No place was safe. People started to build higher walls around themselves and their loved ones. People kept dying but no one cared as long as they weren’t the victims of the mishaps. It became routine. It became a way of life and we kept building illusions that it was all normal. It came to a point that we would hear the news of 30 people dying in a bomb blast, we would panic at first, make a few hurried phone calls, but when we would get reassured that our loved ones are safe, we would calm down and forget about it.
Fear enveloped the whole nation. Everyone’s greatest and darkest fear was death. They all sought a way to escape the fear and in process lost all the humanity they had. They moved from their red-zoned hometowns. They built strong security checks around themselves and their daily routine. Still their greatest fear remained – they didn’t want to be a victim of death. Little did they know that they would be freed from their greatest fear by death itself – by their life being snatched away from them. They would meet their unexpected final demise. They would lie there in a pool of blood missing a foot or a hand or sometimes even the whole body, with just a head remaining. It was enough to make anyone shake, even the one with the bravest heart. But not us – not anymore.
We don’t realize that there will be a day when we will be the victim of a fatality but no one will be there to mourn beside our corpse. No one will be there to raise a voice for us. We will be just another person dying. It will be normal to all the people out there who have already been a victim or a victim to-be. We will be just like another chicken slaughtered – another person dead – another soul snatched away mercilessly but it will be normal – just normal.
Being concerned about oneself is in the human nature. Building walls around themselves when they are scared is normal. But letting the fear engulf the human inside you is not normal. We are subdued by paranoia and we have lost hope – hope of a better day. Our sole purpose is to survive and protect our loved ones. We have become selfish. We have let the beast of selfishness inside us win. The mishaps are not just killing the people; they are killing the human inside us.