Outbreaks of conflict and wars, regardless of their scale, location or causes, invariably divert the bulk of the attention to the violence. I am not able to provide any explanation behind the mechanism of such occurrences at both individual and societal levels. This is not to say that thematizing violence is not an important issue or that the human dimension is not discussed at all, rather, it is about stressing the share of space each occupies in the public discourse. It is the allocation of attention towards either the violence or the human dimension that can determine decisively the trajectory of the wars and conflicts.

In observing and reflecting on the onset and perpetuation of conflicts as well as the ensuing discussions surrounding them, the following glaring realization arises.

Our daily exposure to the number of casualties and the images of widespread destruction often evokes emotional responses that may overshadow our rational analysis. Emotional outrage, frequently expressed through social media interactions such as writing some lines, leaving brief comments, likes or shares (sometimes even without going over the whole shared content) seems to be the primary immediate reaction to such exposures. One major implication is that while tens of millions of people might have an emotional outrage, only a small fraction actively engage in political actions.

The prevailing public discourse tends predominantly to focus on the magnitude of brutality, neglecting the intrinsic human dimension underlying these atrocities, In news bulletins, op-eds, even some academic deliberations, and roundtable discussions alike, human lives are regrettably reduced to mere numerical entities.

Can the escalating death tolls ever convey the profound torment endured by those human beings doomed within those tumultuous geographies?

Do these numerical figures have the capacity to tell us what it means when thousands of lives are lost or capture its impact on those who lose their entire family? Rather than reinforcing our focus on violence and emotional outrage, bold headlines featuring numbers compel us to engage in taking political actions, or do they redirect our attention towards addressing the root causes of violence, or open new avenues to explore political options to end those atrocities?

If we were confronted with more stories that vividly portray the daily struggles and suffering of all those innocent children, women, and men caught in the middle of those conflicts, we could consider discussions centered on halting violence to protect millions of innocent souls by ceasing political, financial and military support to conflicting parties. Moreover, what if we, especially the younger generation, engage in discourse on embracing, advocating, and participating actively in denouncing violence in all its forms, thereby preventing political manipulation through securitization of political issues?

Shifts in the public discourse towards a human-centric approach could reshape the trajectory of conflicts and wars worldwide. The ongoing calamities around the globe should stir our collective conscience to reclaim the discourse space, shifting the focus from predominantly violence-centered narratives towards a human-centric political dialogue to resolve the contentions by non-violent means.

Written by Mansoor Hussein Ayobi

Photo Credit: Антон Дмитриев, Unsplash