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Overcoming the spiral of violence in the world

Photograph: BBC

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We can start by doing simple things for one another, even for people with whom we disagree at times, says Dev Arul Jayakumar.

We turn on the news and we can see that something has gone terribly wrong. It can be in any part of the world that we live in.

Over the last two months, we saw the devastation of people getting killed in England. First, a bombing in Manchester, and then an attack in London. Its motivation was supposedly based on the political beliefs of certain individuals allegedly linked to Isis.

So much dispute, so much violence prevails around the world, regardless of what motivates people to carry them out. It may not even be terrorism, but other random acts of catastrophe surrounding us in our daily lives – such as the fire at Greenfell Tower, in which about 80 people perished. It is likely that the death toll will increase by the end of the year after the full investigation is complete. Just after that, a man rammed his car at Finsbury Park Mosque, a community centre where many Muslims gather.

Why do these random acts of violence keep occurring? Why are some people bent on hating one another? Why are we willing to kill and fight for the sake of politics and religion? Even in our homes we can see how certain family members treat one another or how some individuals are willing to hurt their closes friends.

The recent death of T Nhaveen has shocked many Malaysians. Yet, these kinds of incidents have been happening for some time. Nhaveen’s is not the first case, and it will probably not be the last.

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So who is too blame? What spurs individuals to carry out acts of violence? Can the blame be put on the media and their content?

Or is it the world of entertainment? Many seem fixated on what they see in movies and video games. They seem to want to imitate what they see in films and over television. Movies portray violent, graphic scenes that can have an impact on youths. For instance, movies that depict war have often come under scrutiny for glamourising death as being spectacular. But we know that is not true.

The same can be said of video games. Role Playing Games have become a gateway for youths to spend hours on their computers without realising it. Some can forget that games are just based upon fictional content that is made for entertainment and have no bearing on real life. This is not to say that everybody who watches movies and plays video games will go down a violent path.

Yet there is no end to the spiral of violence, and nothing is going change any time soon. So is there an answer to the outbreak of violence taking place around the world. If so, what is it?

Before we start to look at the factors that contribute to violence, we need to first understand where violence comes from. Violence has been at the forefront, since the dawn of civilisation. It can be traced back to ancient times, such as the Greek and Roman eras.

Some would say that we as individuals know nothing except violence when it comes to getting what we want or what we desire. In a way, it seems that we are unable to live a life without some form of violence. For instance, during World War Two, the death toll rose to nearly 70m people. It was a watershed period in human history.

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So much violence leading to major upheavals in society on a global scale. Looking at history, maybe violence is a part of human nature and it is not going away anytime soon.

Yet, can we lower the rate of violence? That depends on which country we are looking at. Different countries may have their own problems in dealing with violence.

The United States may be a world power but it has one of the highest rates of violence. It is not surprising because of the many factors that have led America to where it is now. One such factor would be the lack of gun control. Some 13,286 people were killed by firearms in the US in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured. Looking at these numbers, nothing is going to change anytime soon.

So there seems to be no end to violence. There will always be fighting happening all over the world. Yet, we can all play a part by living a life that does not have anything to do with violence.

We can start by doing simple things for one another, even for people with whom we disagree at times. Compassion and empathy can go a long way: just listening to someone, talking to them in a polite way, just being kind and respectful towards one another.

We must decide what we want to do, the kind of life we want to live, the kind of person we want to be. In the end, if we want anything changed in this world, all we have to do is start with ourselves.

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Maybe we can start by coming out of our comfort zones. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Dev Arul Jayakumar is a pyschology graduate currently doing an internship with Aliran. He recently participated in an Aliran Young Writers Workshop on Youth and Activism.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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