Opinion: Are we still human?

Zainubia Ahmad, UK

Human beings stand apart from the animal kingdom, not merely due to our superior mental capacity, power of articulate speech, and abstract reasoning, but also because of the quintessence of our humanity. The qualities of being humane, compassionate, tolerant, sympathetic, kind, considerate, understanding, merciful, kind-hearted, generous and loving towards fellow human beings are the qualities that differentiate us as human beings. Yet, today, I feel despair and shame as I observe the state of much of humanity, wherein people are forsaking their God-given faculties and are engulfed instead by the base instincts of animals. As we cast our gaze upon the conflicts and wars that are spreading at alarming speed, we must ask ourselves: Where has our humanity gone? Why do some lives take precedence over others?  

Unquestionably, we find ourselves navigating through a fragile world where the value placed on human lives seems to be diminishing day by day. Perhaps there are lots of factors contributing to this, but the chief among them is greed and lust for power and wealth. The human race has always been driven by motivation to achieve, attain and hoard more. But while we are achieving, progressing or evolving, we are simultaneously losing our humanity, which is the core element of being human.  

Here the main question to ponder over is, ‘What is the use of progression when the result is an ever-rising tide of destruction of other nations or peoples?’ Injustice, cruelty, and selfishness have led us to the point where one human is killing another without remorse. And remorse is a fundamental virtue of humanity that distinguishes us from animals. Indeed, even animals have a degree of mercy and love for other living species, whether it comes as part of their nature or from whatever intellect they are gifted with according to their species. But here, we humans in this so-called modern world seem to be living by the law of the jungle, where there is no limit to how low we can stoop to achieve our goals and pursue our vested interests.

Killing one being, whether they are Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, people of different races, or simply belonging to any other nation, is akin to committing a crime against humanity – our humanity. The current unfolding catastrophe in the Holy Land has sparked deep concerns and sorrow in the whole wide world. It was painful to see when Israeli civilians were attacked by Hamas and many innocent lives were lost and hostages taken. And it is painful to see the suffering of more than two million Palestinians, with over 8,000 thousand dead up until now, mostly children, women and the elderly. Just watching the suffering of the helpless occupants of Gaza and listening to the screams of women and children naturally drowns any person in a well of deep sorrow.

Honestly, it is not even possible to watch such scenes for more than a few minutes. Yet, much of the Western world is silent in the face of such a catastrophic situation. Those who have the power to end this war and human suffering will not make efforts to stop it. Are Israeli lives of greater value than Palestinians? Are Palestinians less human than Israelis? No, each and every person, whether Israeli or Palestinian, is a human and both have the right to live in peace and security. Blinded by a bitter thirst for revenge, one cannot just go on killing innocent people in the name of defence. One cannot forget how the Palestinians have been controlled, oppressed and caged in a small strip for many decades, which is inhumane in itself. And as if it were not enough misery, they are being bombarded and killed ruthlessly. 

In the name of peace, wars are being fought, and in the name of love, hatred is induced in hearts. Survival of the human race cannot be achieved through warfare or hatred but lies in peace, harmony, justice and love for fellow human beings, regardless of the creed or nation they belong to. Sometimes I ask myself what we are leaving behind for our future generations. The legacy of wars or hateful, appalling crimes against humanity. Fearful as it is to say, I ask the world: Are we still humans?

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