Posts Tagged ‘cruelty’

Terrorists:can they be so barbaric? Yes, they can….

December 17, 2014

Obviously, I’ve been musing on this phenomenon of terrorism. War, in itself, is a form of terrorism; it’s always the innocent pawns who get slaughtered while the King and Queen look on from their safe fastnesses.

It’s interesting that we use the term “barbarism” to describe terrorists; the

Barbarian

according to the Wiki entry, is “a person who is perceived to be uncivilized.” but may also mean “an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.”

“Romans used the word “barbarian” for many people, such as the Berbers, Germanics, Celts, Carthaginians, Iberians, Thracians and Parthians.”

I thought the word derived from the Berber people, but apparently not.

Well…whatever it is..we thought we’d plumbed the depths of human cruelty when terrorists thought up a plan to send passenger aircraft hurtling into buildings. But to attack a school and kill children there brings our inhumanity to a new low.

One friend incredulously exclaimed:”No one can, atleast in full conscience (I feel), be so brutal and remorseless!”

Oh…but they can.

Several years ago, A was on a flight, and next to her was a woman soldier who told her she was returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The conversation was desultory (A did not want to pry into what was obviously an unpleasant experience the woman had had)…when the child in the seat across the aisle started crying.

The woman soldier immediately turned her head away and just shut her ears. And, later, explained why.

In Afghanistan, American soldiers would smile at a child that was wandering from the Afghan tents into their space,hoping to offer them sweets…and knowing this, the Afghans strapped explosives to the child’s body, and sent them to the American camps….where, at the moment when the most Americans could be killed or maimed, they would detonate the charge remotely….

One of the reasons the woman soldier was returning was that she could not any longer bear to see such scenes; she was returning for counselling for her deep disturbance. She said, “I cannot bear to LOOK at a child any more. I see only death and destruction and enemity when I see one.”

It stands to reason that the children were Afghan ones….so yes, humanity can be incredibly inhuman.

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A sense of humour….my questions

August 23, 2011

On my Facebook page, I posted a joke that was sent to me by a friend, and talked about one of the first jokes he’d enjoyed…and that set me musing about that sense that seems fairly rare in the animal kingdom…the sense of humour.

All babies seem to start laughing and smiling quite early, but at some point in their lives, it’s not just happiness that prompts the smiles or laughter, but “funny” situations. When we pull faces at them, or make “funny” noises, they react with laughter.

But unlike other milestones, the development of one’s sense of humour seems to pass almost unnoticed. When does one learn to appreciate absurdity, irony, and parody? When does one learn about the fun of wordplay and puns? Humour, to a great extent, is the putting together of unexpected elements…when does one learn to do that?

Often, a sense of humour also means, being free of ego and being able to laugh at oneself. Is this the same as laughing at other things in the world?

We all know some people of our acquaintance who are more “humourous” than others. They can say things which set people laughing. What sets these people apart from those who don’t have the ability in the same measure? How are they able to spot the humour in a situation, and articulate it, in a pithy few words or sentences?

What makes people suddenly come up with very humorous words? Why is a sense of humour sometimes cruel and biting as well? How often have I seen someone taking a witty dig at another person..who is discomfited at the ensuing laughter! What distinguishes “cruel” humour from “kind” humour? Why is unkind humour still so funny?

I don’t find that a generally happy outlook in life is a pre-requisite for a good sense of humour; sometimes happy people are so contented that they don’t seem to need a great sense of humour. But I do know that the nicest people can sometimes be without a sense of humour, and that can make them utter bores!

Then there are the people who can appreciate, and crack, jokes about everything else under the sun…except themselves. Would I be able to say these people lack a sense of humour, when they can obviously laugh at other things?

What would be a more “adult” sense of humour, compared to a “schoolboy” sense of humour, with its implied crudity? How would I say that someone’s sense of humour is “sophisticated”…especially when such persons can enjoy the “slipping on a banana skin” joke as much as ever?

A sense of humour is one of the “subtle” senses that a human being has….I think it’ the best “sixth sense” that we have!

Oh..the “schoolboy humour” joke that set this train of thought chugging from the station?

Teacher to student: “Who is Gandhiji’s son?”
Student: “Dineshan”
Teacher: “What? That is rubbish”
Student: But sir, you taught us that Gandhiji is the father of Dineshan”

I don’t know if my sense of humour has stagnated…but I had a hearty laugh at this!

Cruelty to animals….

April 27, 2007

I received this on an egroup I belong to:

“The following link gives you an indication of the kind of pain and sufferings the animals face due to this. It also gives us a comprehensive list of the products which “are tested on animals” and those “which are not tested on animals”.

http://www.petaindia.com/lcaringc.html

Surprisingly, many well-known brands are on this list.”

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How to prevent the average customer from buying these brands, and go for the “animal friendly” brands?

The average consumer, if bombarded by publicity on this issue, will go for an alternative…only if the brands are clearly spelt out. But usually, a lot of publicity about the brands that use such animal testing methods (without fearing to name names) is not done because of their money power. There is also the fear of being dragged to courts and worse.

Another problem I also see is that sometimes anything “without” is made MORE expensive than anything “with”. “Without pesticides”, “Without artificial additives”, “without animal testing”….all these kind of products are sometimes made so much more expensive that the paying public just goes for the cheaper alternative; after all, no image of a suffering animal comes before their eyes at that moment.

Also, not everyone gets senstized to these issues even after publicity; and to them, what is more important is the savings to their purse. I once asked one lady not to buy one of the brands that she was talking about; she shrugged and said, “Well, if I stop buying this product, do you mean to tell me that all cruelty to animals in this world will stop? Why, we are not even able to prevent cruelty to women and children in this country, leave alone the world…” I might disagree with her buying the brand, but I could not refute her logic.

All we can do is generate lots of positive publicity about the brands which don’t use animal testing, and make it “cool” for people to buy those brands; it should become a matter of prestige to say, “I buy only XYZ”….I never underestimate the power of pride and prestige! If this becomes associated with the product, the paying public usually takes trouble to buy it. Take the case of leather, which is associated with a plush lifestyle…people pay extra to use leather goods and leather upholstery. If we could bring this “cachet” to cosmetics which are animal-friendly, who knows, one day we need not torture our fellow-beings on this planet in order to enhance our appearance.

The anti-fur brigade, for example, has almost made it fashionable to buy faux fur, rather than real. They do everything possible to reinforce this…they show pictures of baby animals being slaughtered, for example…both negative and positive images are used to make their point. But too much of negative publicity becomes evangelism and the average customer is indifferent to this. So a middle path has to be taken. It will be a long and arduous road….