Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The normalization of brutality in process

I remember few years ago, the last time i dared to open a link from twitter about any news about any revolution was when i saw the pictures from the revolution in Libya: photos of shredded and tortured bodies! They were so horrifying, i had nightmares for weeks after that and flashbacks of those photos every time i closed my eyes...... then again until when would such photos spark this horror effect if they are constantly shoved in our faces?  We do watch violent movies where people die, get deformed, explode or whatever, and seeing such scenes to some people is still disturbing, but there's a certain awareness in movies that these scenes are not real that make the views more digestible - and movies are another story and the latter statement is very debatable.....

Here the question is: what happens when we are watching tv after an explosion and we know that these are human beings, sometimes who live five minutes away, who have died in an explosion and we see their dead/tortured/deformed/mutated bodies on TV or on social media (facebook and television mostly because photos are not in links, they get shoved directly in your face)!

Let me make a detour here to make my point  through asking a question: what is normal? there are trillions of theories about that but let's just state that the most convincing argument for me personally is the wave of social science that argues that nothing is normal. Normal is a becoming, normal is something that becomes, something that becomes a norm. So norms are social codes where a big number of people agree that it is acceptable to behave in a certain way, like wearing clothes for example, it is "normal" for people to wear clothes (now it gets much more complicated when we move into the maze of discussing what type of clothes but this is not what we are talking about here). To move on, normal becomes normal through normalization, something becomes familiar, and then you get used to it, and eventually it becomes normal (to put it very simply).So i will go back to my question above: what happens when we keep seeing shredded bodies, deformed flesh, legs who belong to someone who are just on the floor? Maybe it becomes normal?

 These images become a part of a familiar view that we see everyday and this is exactly what normalization of brutality is, the normalization of violence. The normalization of death because of violence and disasters as a familiar happening that takes place infront of our eyes everyday and not because someone got sick or died in an accident, or whatever "normal" reasons people die for. No, this constant viewing of brutalized mutated flesh - faces and bodies of human being is building up to become so familiar that maybe the reaction towards it eventually might change and consequently death due to violence, wars, explosions etc, will not be something as disturbing, neither will the photos that cause us nightmares at night! The scene of a mutated body might as well become so usual that you might scroll down your computer screen as if you are scrolling down a fashion magazine.....

 Back to questioning: what happens when violence becomes the norm and watching the news on television or scrolling down your social media page while you see photos of brutality seems so natural as if you are scrolling down a fashion magazine! Isn't that kind of tricky because we become immune to images of brutality? And since this is the generation of social media and facebook, i can't help but think, what will happen next? are we the build up of a generation that will eventually become more and more immune to these images and ideas and perception of death and violence to the extent that we will become indifferent to it and what will happen next, really, i know this might sound naive, but after this, what?! What!

At the end of this blog i would like to highlight something, i do understand that sharing these photos might trigger more "solidarity" from around the world, but what if our threshold of receptiveness to violence kept escalating? will there be space for solidarity anymore? what will happen if the shock effect that these photos are supposed to trigger diminished because they became a familiar view?

In solidarity one needs to be careful not to be as violent to bodies as the one who actually killed them.

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