Normalization of Violence

La Voz de Galicia – March 29, 2019 →

Cristina PatoI had to wait. I sat with my book in the most secluded seat in the waiting room, avoiding a television that attracted everybody’s attention. It was 11 am, and one of those morning shows that blend the latest news with society-page gossip and diverse oddities was on. I did everything I could to avoid watching the television, but the rhythm of sounds, the changes in lighting, and various screams all added up until I could no longer focus on my book, or on anything else, for that matter. I remained stunned, spellbound, struck and astonished, watching television.

One of the scenes was captured by a security camera and showed violence—real violence—without permission or warning, and I could no longer avoid recoiling in distress. Violence is everywhere—in our idle hours, entertainment, play, politics, and in our streets. It is completely normalized.

And I thought about the absurd situation in which I found myself: here I was, in a public building, in a formal waiting room, where we were all forced to watch a channel that none of us could turn off or change. And the images shown in that channel at that time was considered apt for all audiences. If those images I didn’t wish to see made me tremble, I couldn’t begin to imagine how the child at my side or the elderly woman in the first row must have felt.

When I was finally able to stop watching, it was the sound that distressed me most. Verbal violence is already a way of being for a generation where television is always at the table. How can we avoid being violent if we dine daily with violence?

Non-violence” is a powerful weapon. As Gandhi said, it is “the greatest force at the disposal of humankind.” But for some reason, our society continues repeating the same mistake, per secula seculorum…

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