Lynching Lahore: On our way to the Darkest Ages

Last month Jordanian Air force was engaged in aerial bombardment of ISIS targets in Syria. One of the jets piloted by an unfortunate Jordanian officer crashed and the pilot was captured alive by ISIS. The gruesome video of his execution outraged the entire world. He was burnt alive while trapped in a cage.

The world was already familiar with ISIS and their brutal, inhumane acts against humanity. The pilot was obviously engaged in attacks on the ISIS and was captured during one such attack. His was one of the jets responsible for the loss of life and property borne by ISIS. ISIS was at war and the pilot was the enemy. His capture from a plane’s rubble that dropped from the sky after bombarding them was proof of his “guilt” as regards ISIS. It was already common knowledge that international conventions on war prisoners or human rights have no place in the ISIS’s mind. The execution enraged the world but did not surprise them. It was not an act unbecoming of ISIS, it was an act unbecoming of normal human beings.

Two churches were targets of terrorist attacks in the Youhannabad area of Lahore. An enraged mob got hold of allegedly suspected terrorists involved in these attacks. There was no way of being sure of their guilt as they were not heard or interrogated, let alone tried in a court. They were tortured, killed and set on fire. The mob did not know for sure if they were the enemies and follow up investigations reveal they probably weren’t. The only apparent proof of the victim’s guilt were their proximity with the place of attack and their appearance; not even close to a proof by any stretch of imagination. I assure you, none of the people in the mob belonged to ISIS. They were normal, average people. They did not just match ISIS in its cruelty, they went a step further. They did this to men who were only deemed guilty and then to cross all human boundaries, several members of the mob continued to record and take pictures of the burning bodies. In an edited video of the incident one can see twenty or even more people standing and recording the inhumanity. It was not an act unbecoming of the ISIS, it was an act unbecoming of normal human beings. Not only did they have it in them to torture another human being to death and burn him alive, they had the guts to video tape it for future viewing and sharing pleasures.

They were enraged at the killing of their peers and fellows, they were frustrated by the lack of State action, insecure, cornered and victimized. All of that has nothing to do with what they did. The Christian couple lynched and burnt alive by a mob, again in Lahore, was not killed by people who were frustrated by lack of State action, insecure, cornered or victimized. They were killed because they were weak and outnumbered and the mob was in a position that enabled it to do what it did. The victims of both these incidents were innocent in all probability, but they were weak against the power of a mob; the collective inhumanity.

Being in a mob reduces the chances of getting caught or blamed for an act in your individual capacity. It presents an immediate validation and approval of your actions by your peers. Such validation and improbability of retribution unleashes the animal within us otherwise kept in check by law and social disapproval. These incidents are a glimpse into our society’s inner selves. They show us where we stand on the ladder of personal growth and social evolution. We don’t seem to be anywhere on the ladder, we seem to be digging our way into the ground. Committing the act because you were able to is one thing, recording and saving it forever is beyond vile.

The reasons for this growing sadistic face of our society?
1. Absolute non-existence of rule of law which leads to unchecked human behavior reverting it to barbarity and animalistic trends.

2. Stooping social morality and consequent rise in approval for social vices. Corruption, for instance, is not as frowned upon as it was twenty years ago.

3. Our all seeing media that focuses most of its airtime on all the negativities in our society. Highlights the ills and ignores any good. This is in turn making us lose hope in humanity in general and our society in particular. Media’s access to the masses and its influence ensures that we see each other through its eyes, and what we see is grim.

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