THE world is a jungle, peopled with beasts – or so it would seem — given the animalistic behaviour of people right across the globe who think that hurting, even killing their fellow humans is the right thing to do.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that each year, over 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. Violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15–44 years worldwide, accounting for 14 per cent of deaths among males and seven per cent of deaths among females.
The World Health Organisation’s definition of violence is, “The intentional use of physical force or power — threatened or actual — against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation.”
The statistics in this report may have sadly gone higher, the demographics and characteristics unfortunately remain an extant reality in world affairs.
Internationally, violence resulted in deaths of an estimated 1.28 million people in 2013, up from 1.13 million in 1990. Of the deaths in 2013, roughly 842,000 were attributed to self-harm (suicide), 405,000 to interpersonal violence, and 31,000 to collective violence (war) and legal intervention. For each single death due to violence, there are dozens of hospitalisations, hundreds of emergency department visits, and thousands of doctors’ appointments. Furthermore, violence often has lifelong consequences for physical and mental health and social functioning and can slow economic and social development.
In 2013, of the estimated 405,000 deaths due to interpersonal violence globally, assault by firearm was the cause in 180,000 deaths, assault by sharp object was the cause in 114,000 deaths, and the remaining 110,000 deaths from other causes.
An advisory posits: “Violence in many forms can be preventable. There is a strong relationship between levels of violence and modifiable factors in a country such as a concentrated [regional] poverty, income and gender inequality, the harmful use of alcohol, and the absence of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and parents. Strategies addressing the underlying causes of violence can be relatively effective in preventing violence, although mental and physical health and individual responses, personalities, etc. have always been decisive factors in the formation of these behaviours.”
A UN Report entitled: “A New Era of Conflict and Violence”, stated, inter alia: “The nature of conflict and violence has transformed substantially since the UN was founded. Conflicts now tend to be less deadly and often waged between domestic groups rather than states. Homicides are becoming more frequent in some parts of the world, while gender-based attacks are increasing globally. The long-term impact on development of inter-personal violence, including violence against children, is also more widely recognised.
“Separately, technological advances have raised concerns about lethal autonomous weapons and cyberattacks, the weaponisation of bots and drones, and the livestreaming of extremist attacks. There has also been a rise in criminal activity involving data hacks and ransomware, for example. Meanwhile, international cooperation is under strain, diminishing global potential for the prevention and resolution of conflict and violence in all forms.”
Guyana has been engulfed by politically driven racial conflict that has divided the people of this country for decades, especially prior to, during and subsequent to each electoral process whenever the PPP/PPPC achieves victory at the polls, except at times when GECOM succeeds in rigging the elections to deny PPP/PPPC electoral victory; and at no time was this more evident than occurrences that transpired subsequent to elections 2020, with the world witnessing and condemning the anti-democratic rhetoric and actions of political and GECOM protagonists.
The politically-driven violence that has ensued in loss of lives and properties, murderous assaults on innocent citizens that have caused debilitating injuries, dislocations of lives because of commuters’ inability to freely and safely traverse roads that were blocked by riotous, violent and even criminal elements; and other horrendous incidents are directly attributable to incendiary race-baiting, divisive rhetoric that opportunistic politicians incited through ostensible concern over the murders of the Henry cousins.
It is interesting to note that at no time these politicians ever condemned the perpetrators of the many horrendous murders by bandits and home invaders, or render comfort or help to the victims; so it is reasonable to assume that this belated concern for the two lives lost, and their race-baiting rhetoric is an opportunity to instigate riotous actions by their supporters to fructify their oft-stated intention of making the Irfaan Ali-led administration ungovernable.
Unless and until leaders of societies and nations take cognisance of the power they have to change human behaviour, and become saviours of mankind – individually, regionally, within communities, and in global demographics — instead of destroyers, their actions may one day precipitate Armageddon.