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Huma Zafar |

An emotive nation, we don’t allow others to disagree with our point of view. Every week, keyboard warriors get ready to voice their opinions on issues that they have limited knowledge on and endlessly engage in rebuttals to get their point across. I write this piece from a neutral bystander’s perspective who is rather ashamed of her own emotional outbursts and rants of some five years ago when passion overrode logic.

Since then I’ve learned that communication is not about getting your point across, it is about understanding someone else’s point of view, it is about realizing that you can entertain their thoughts in your mind without necessarily reacting to it. Listening is the key to effective communication.

An awareness of a deeper issue in society has arisen – can we forgive a mistake? I know we are capable of moving on from issues and capable of forgetting – but are we capable of forgiving?

What prompted me to pen my thoughts in this piece, was the negativity and intolerance I see on social media every day. As I begin to type, I can see the comments coming my way – you chose to write about this issue, and not on other bigger issues the country is facing? Well, there are many holes in a sinking ship that I can discuss and that I am very concerned about, but intolerance is something that bothers me very deeply.

Read more: Do I just represent the ‘honor’ of the men in my family?

In the last few years, cases of intolerance are on the rise. You see mobs of heated people, aggressively and passionately playing their role in what they believe is justice. But are the cases on the rise, or are we more aware of them now due to technology? Has intolerance always been part of our society, or is intolerance part of human nature?

History has shown many examples of intolerance and it being widespread – from Europe to the Middle East, North to South America, China, and Asia Pacific, I can’t think of a region where intolerance has not left its mark in history. This made me think: is intolerance in our very nature? Can we not accept someone different from us?

Last weekend, someone called Yasir Hussain, made an inappropriate joke at an award show and suddenly everything he has ever done is wrong. The joke was indeed inappropriate but perhaps if it was said in a close gathering of friends, would it be laughed off casually? In a society where cuss words implicate a man’s sexual preference for his mother or his sister, why are we so shocked?

Read more: Blood and Mayhem: The true face of a blind impotent society

To be a more tolerant society, we need to be more tolerant ourselves and accept that others are different from us but it is the differences that we need to learn from to continue improving ourselves.

Let us have a look at what our media offers: tasteless shows with derogatory humor,  roundtables with heated panelists, political leaders demeaning each other in public,  statements being changed constantly, sensationalizing the news, and the audience is used to listening to this kind of immaturity. Does that make it okay?

What disturbed me the most about the comment was perhaps not the comment as much as the reaction to his apology. I understand the outrage and the public statements on his comments. I understand people were genuinely upset. So the man apologized. Whether he did it under pressure, whether his apology was not genuine enough, whether it was done after “so long”, the comments, from the intellectual elites came pouring in.

He was wrong. He didn’t apologize properly. How dare he say this? One comment I read even questioned if his apology was genuine because it didn’t sound genuine. (woah) … Hold it right there…. What do we see… Intolerance. See how intolerance has spread to every socio-economic class in society? The man apologized. Let’s accept his apology without lynching him online, we are in no position to offer judgment at the People’s Court of the Intolerant Republic of Pakistan. The man apologized. He made a mistake.

Read more: Mashal Khan’s Murder becoming increasingly politicized like those before him

An awareness of a deeper issue in society has arisen – can we forgive a mistake? I know we are capable of moving on from issues and capable of forgetting – but are we capable of forgiving?

Each one of us has our own sets of faults and inner demons we fight, each one of us is a perfectly flawed human being and once we realize that, we will judge a little less.

To be a more tolerant society, we need to be more tolerant ourselves and accept that others are different from us but it is the differences that we need to learn from to continue improving ourselves. Each one of us has our own sets of faults and inner demons we fight, each one of us is a perfectly flawed human being and once we realize that, we will judge a little less. If we allow compassion and kindness to live in our hearts, there will be no room for negativity. Negativity breeds intolerance. Live and let live.

Huma Zafar is a fitness enthusiast with a passion for fashion. She runs a few successful charities in Pakistan alongside a demanding career. Her interests include reading, writing, hiking, exploring, traveling, and meeting new exciting people. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Huma Zafar is a fitness enthusiast with a passion for fashion. She runs a few successful charities in Pakistan alongside a demanding career. Her interests include reading, writing, hiking, exploring, traveling, and meeting new exciting people.

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