Saturday, 23 July 2011


Human life demands dignity. It is the basis upon which almost all ethical traditions (religious or otherwise) are based upon. Life must be respected, given honour, and in turn, death too must be given its due - respect and honour.

Some deaths hurt us more than others, some deaths reach us at our very core. The loss of a parent, sibling or child is immeasurable. The Quranic statement that killing a single human being is akin to "killing all mankind" (5:32) is due to the value of that person to their family and friends; for a mother who has lost her child, none of the 6 billion plus human beings on earth can fill the void that was left by their son or daughter.

However, sometimes in death all we see is opportunity. Death becomes sanitised and we forget the pain and suffering it causes.

With regard to the terrorist attack in Norway - there is much to be said. Much to be said about the news corporations that covered it, the analysts that spoke about it, the reaction afterwards. Indeed there is also a lot to be said about the killer himself and his affiliations.

But I strongly feel that it can wait. What needs to be said can wait. The tradegy is barely a day old and already analysts and individuals are feasting upon it for their own purposes. For every child that was killed, there is a grieving parent whose life has been completely demolished. A moment of mourning needs be observed.

Likewise is the unfortunate trend of sanctimonious mourning. With the death of the celebrity Amy Winehouse - some feel outraged that a celebrity should be mourned when there are dead in Norway. Others comment that why should Norway be mourned while there is famine in East Africa. This feels to me disrespectful to all deaths involved. It is as if we completely forget the value of a human life, and have lost sense of what it means to truly mourn.

Death is the most human of all experiences, and touches all - religious and otherwise - as being the cusp of the very unknown. Analysis and post-analysis can wait a few moments; while we remember and respect the value of human life and afford it the dignity it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Yep , like this, right on cue. Well done and well written mashallah.