Toy guns & stray bul­lets

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - SAEED WAZIR

Tguns his is apro­pos the re­port ‘cul­ture of vi­o­lence’. As Eid ul Fitr ap­proaches, the loom­ing men­ace of toy

and stray bul­lets rears its ugly head. Ac­cord­ing to TV Guide re­ports, gun toys are very likely to in­crease ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour in chil­dren, at least in the short term and likely to in­ter­fere with in­duc­ing val­ues and skills of non-vi­o­lent con­flict res­o­lu­tion, em­pa­thy, com­pas­sion and a com­plex view of the equal­ity and di­ver­sity of hu­mankind and the worth of all liv­ing things. This can re­tard the em­bry­onic pro­cesses of pos­i­tive so­cial­iza­tion and ul­ti­mate self-ac­tu­al­iza­tion. The toy in­dus­try is huge and in­tensely com­pet­i­tive busi­ness world­wide. The to­tal rev­enue of the global toy mar­ket is $84.1 bil­lion. Ac­cord­ing to DIG M. Ali, in most of street crimes, an in­creas­ing num­ber of crim­i­nals are us­ing toy guns, hence it be­comes dif­fi­cult for the un­trained eye to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the fake and the real. Ideally, chil­dren should be pro­vided with toys that stim­u­late creativ­ity and imag­i­na­tive play, en­cour­age shar­ing and co­op­er­a­tion, en­cour­age chil­dren to build and create rather than to de­stroy, and pro­mote learn­ing of new skills and help chil­dren de­velop their own tal­ents. In Pak­istan, these toys of vi­o­lence are man­u­fac­tured in­ter­nally as well as im­ported from China and the Mid­dle East. In KP, ‘The Poha Foundation’, an NGO, has con­trib­uted a great deal in dis­cour­ag­ing the cul­ture of this rad­i­cal­iz­ing agent. Prag­mat­i­cally, Par­ents Teach­ers Coun­cils (PTC), civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions, ulema, me­dia, aca­demi­cians and in­tel­lec­tu­als should strive to create across-the­board aware­ness through sem­i­nars, power of the pul­pits, and pres­sur­ize both the Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments to leg­is­late against this loom­ing mon­ster of rad­i­cal­iza­tion and vi­o­lence. District ad­min­is­tra­tors must in­voke le­gal ar­range­ments dur­ing Eids and other fes­ti­vals. Fire­works must be banned on wed­dings. Pak­istani mar­kets are filthily filled with this lethal stuff, ef­forts must be di­rected to diplo­mat­i­cally ban it and in­stead ex­port stationery items and healthy ma­te­ri­als. Re­gret­fully, the cul­ture of ae­rial fir­ing is per­va­sive. This is un­healthy en­ter­tain­ment and fool­ish show of masochism. Is there no way to im­ple­ment laws against this out-dated cul­ture of test­ing lethal weapons ran­domly? Promotion of cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, sports, arts and lit­er­a­ture, concerts, etc must be pri­or­i­tized on ur­gent ba­sis in a bid to di­rect the en­er­gies of the younger gen­er­a­tion to­ward healthy creativ­ity and in­ven­tive imag­i­na­tion. — Islamabad

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