Opinions & Editorials

On dealing with the oppressor’s hubris

 Is it not comical how arrogant we are of our being? 

As citizens of a “glorious” nation, we are confident that war will never tear our homes. As healthy people, we lounge comfortably, thinking that disease will never rip us limb from limb. As educated people, we tend to believe we are protected from ignorance. As nourished people, we think not of the pain of starvation and dehydration. And as we acquire status, we trust that our fame and wealth will shield us from mortality. 

We tend to fancy the idea that the trials of life are not for us, as we are the protagonists of our lives, untouched by misfortune. We accept that if these calamities were to befall us, it would be sooner rather than later. 

But when those inevitabilities come close to striking us or our loved ones with unyielding force, it is then we are humbled and reminded of our rightful place beneath the laws of nature. It is then we come to realize that demise does not discriminate with regards to wealth, color, creed or status. It is then we give back to others for the harms we’ve done. It is then we live to the fullest. It is then we ponder our end and tremble at thoughts of the afterlife; a metaphysical fight or flight response. 

But until then, we would never discuss our mortality so firmly, as that would be an admission of humility. 

Education, access to food, good health, the ability to work and gain connections. All of these are factors that constitute a better chance at ascending the social pyramid. But these tools for success can be easily misused. Those who misuse them are known throughout the course of history as the enemies of the masses. 

The worst of them are plunderers of wealth, drinkers of blood, violators of the weak and propagators of injustice. In a word: the oppressors. 

The arrogance of these people is unlike anything ever witnessed in our interpersonal and political interactions. The oppressors are proud when responsible for the imminent death of others, yet cower in fear when their death is imminent. 

They enslave, torture, rape, kill, mutilate, burn and conquer. Their hubris acts as a source for their power and propels them to commit these atrocities. They genuinely believe that their wealth, education, health and status will guard them in this life against all manners of nature. The oppressors deny the fact that every soul shall taste the torment of death. Or rather, they believe that everyone will meet death but themselves.

The only cure to this god-complex is true empathy, which requires the subject to have experience of the condition that the sufferer is enduring or has endured. If you had been subjected to an unprecedented amount of trauma, empathy would feel genuine if received from someone who knows what it’s like to suffer that pain. 

As for the oppressor, he would cease his heedless destruction of mankind if he were to endure the same pain he is subjecting to the common folk. Undoubtedly, if he were to feel the same scathing agony that he is causing, it would humble him. If he were to lose some of his wit and knowledge, health and ability or wealth and status, he would shrink into oblivion and wallow in his destitution.

But the oppressors have never thought to put themselves in the place of those they wreak havoc upon. The capitalists can never understand what it’s like to be born poor and die homeless, as they are the ones who bring such calamities. The warmongers can never know what it’s like to see the onslaught of their kith and kin daily, as they are the ones who bring such calamities. 

The hoarders of land and bodies of water have never felt the physical toll of malnourishment and dehydration as they are the one who bring such calamities. They will never understand what it’s like to lose something of value until we step up to take it from them.

What will we, the common folk, take from them? 

Everything. The land they own and reap from its fertility, the waters they blacken with their industrial waste. The mansions and yachts they buy and sell like peanuts. The empty units of public housing they tend to, while people walk roofless in the rain. And the factories and stores they force us to work in under the threat of poverty. 

We must take hold of it all. And in addition, we must seek to give them the true empathy they rightfully deserve. We give them every ounce of what they have given us in the course of human history. The blood, the pain, the tears, the cries for mercy. As stated in the beginning, it is when backed into a corner that people begin to repent and regret. 

But we will not heed to their pleas. We must show them what it’s like to suffer by the hands of another. Everything they have given we shall return will an unyielding rage. That is when they will show humility. That is when they will ask themselves in terror, “We did this to these people?” That is when they will empathize. 

It is unwise of us to demand humility and mercy from the oppressor and to expect him to carry forth this request with gusto. The only option is to take matters into our own hands. We are now the judges and the suppressors of freedom are guilty by unanimous decision. We, from the class of the oppressed, will not reconcile. 

We will not take the middle ground, and we will not compromise. If the oppressors refuse to humble themselves, then we will humble them ourselves. If they will not emphasize with our suffering, then we will make them empathize. We will not simply wait for pity, for they have not given any to us and neither shall we to them. 

Oh oppressor, prepare yourself for all of us. From the farmer, the craftsman and the artisan. To the poor, the homeless and the distraught. From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Sahel to the Namib. 

For when our turn comes, we shall make no excuse for the terror.

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