Is the culture of death devouring us?

The memory of the gruesome murder of Hriini Hubert and Mohini Martin, two innocent, young, lively, school children still keeps coming to my mind. Those images that were published in the papers are still fresh. It was certainly a dastardly crime which sent shock waves in the hearts of the people of the region. Fear and anxiety have gripped the parents and the children, hoping and praying that they may not be the next victims or the victimized. It certainly, is a manifestation of the reign of terror.

It is a sad fact, that our region, our society, overwhelms us with evidences of death, cold blooded murder, violence, destruction, kidnappings and the tomb rather than with signs of life. We continue to be burdened with dashed hopes, misunderstandings, and brokenness. We continue to be confronted with destruction of life in all its forms and stages. We are indeed surrounded by the culture of death. It is enough to glace through the daily papers to find instances of violence, crimes and atrocities of all sorts. They usually make headlines in the papers.

The late great Pope John Paul II, once rightly observed “We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, ‘the culture of death’ and ‘the culture of life’. Today’s attack on life are more serious and more numerous than in the past.” Violence on human life, especially on women and children is on the rise.

Today, there’s a lot of culture of death in the media, affecting everyone. Children seem to be losing sensitivity and their innocence. Studies have shown that media contributes a lot to this culture of death that is spreading like a dreadful disease. It was even there earlier, the difference today, is that it has been amplified by the media.

Many people seem to have so much of money in their pockets and so much of less love in their hearts. There is more value for money than value for life. In the craze to have more, consciences have been deadened; people and values are being sacrificed. A sin is no longer sin for most people and morality has taken a backseat. It has become diffused. There is no dividing line between what is moral and immoral. Sad to say most of the youth have already slipped and fallen prey to the culture of death, but they haven’t realized it.

Majority of us think of the culture of death as abortion, euthanasia. But these are bigger things. But the culture of death is coming in a very subtle way that nobody knows it is happening. What about the values we cherished – love in the family, time spent in the family, respect for elders, youngster, children, authorities etc. Where are they? Where the virtues our societies held very dear – sincerity, honesty, hard work etc. Where are the societal and traditional values? Are we losing our rich cultural heritage? The tragedy is that more and more people are sucked into this culture of death, which comes very subtly without even our realizing it.

Today, the latest pop starts, film stars have become role models, doesn’t matter what they do or say or how they live. The culture of death, sex, rape, violence, drugs, and alcohol is slowly gripping our society too is becoming a normal way of life. These are the very things were never heard of and tolerated in our societies. It seems everything is ok today.

Where is the peace that once existed in our societies? Where is the love and friendship that bonded us together as brothers and sisters? Have we lost them or have we forced them out? Why have we reached a stage where we do not recognize our own brothers and sisters? Why are we so ready to sell them and sacrifice them? Have greed and selfishness overtaken us? Can the gun and violence solve all our problems? Are we trying to live in a fantasy world of the movies and films? Are we trying to escape realism and slowing losing our courage and stamina to confront hard facts about ourselves and society?

Silence is sin, they say. Have we been keeping silence for too long? Are we encouraging darkness to overpower and engulf us? It looks as if we’ve rearranged what is right and what’s wrong that we’ve drifted too far from the truth. We have sacrificed our virtues that gave us light. We have disregarded the morals that governed our lives. We haven’t yet realized what we are losing and what we have lost. And when we realize it may be too late to get back home.

The problem may be that we haven’t been saying what we should be saying, loudly, clearly and effectively. May be we do not like to disturb people and organizations? But long do we allow the darkness to invade us.

We all have an incredible call to spread the Gospel of life and diffuse the gospel of death that surrounds us. We have an incredible call to celebrate life, to value life in all its stages and forms at all cost. May be we’ve let the darkness invade us too long. We need to wake up; we’ve got to turn the tide before it’s too late.

Tarcisius Toppo
Salesian College, Dimapur