Number as a Unit of Death!

Many precious lives were lost as a result of the barbarous suicide attacks on Kohati Gate Church in Peshawar. How many? Well I think it is a posthumous insult to all the deceased when we sum up the dead bodies and present them in numbers. I object to the notion of using a number as a unit to describe the dead bodies. Because when we do, we then try to use a mere number to label a particular bomb blast as big or small.

Our use of numbers to describe such incidents let our mind go into its mathematical state where it starts comparing the current number to the number of dead from a previous bomb blast. The process of our emotional desensitization to the number of human deaths starts from here. It is this formation of an association between the death and a number that has resulted in our desensitized emotional reaction towards the news of any human loss. Because when this association is formed, all we see is small and bigger numbers. A number decides the severity of a bomb blast.

What we fail to realize is that this number never show us the level of psychological trauma which the family members of the dead ones might be experiencing. It also doesn’t show us the physical and psychological condition of all the injured ones. It can never tell us that the death of a single family member might be the end of the whole world for a family. What the number can give us however, is nothing but a plain emotionless number!

The strong bondage between number and the dead ones has brought our desensitization threshold to a level that seeing a number 10 or less doesn’t even ring a bell in our ears. Our response infact is usually the opposite of what it should truly be. We get happy that the number is small and just a few people died. This is an alarming situation because our desensitization threshold is increasing with a fast pace. It is between 10 to 15 today, who knows where it would be if this menace of terrorism continued like this.

While we don’t know if and when terrorism in our country will end. However, what we can do is to stop considering a bomb blast with a single death any smaller than a blast with more than one deaths. It’s not the number of dead people but the incident which should be given importance.

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