How Conscientiously Passive should we be?

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Let me start by saying that it took me a long time to write this article. A lot of thought and informal interviews went towards giving you my opinion on an incident that happened recently in Dubai.

The incident as reported by Gulf News on July 17th.

A strong message from Dubai Police on driver assault case

The Dubai Police this week sent out a strong, unequivocal message that no one is above the law when they arrested an Emirati for assaulting an Indian driver in full public view.

The suspect, believed to be a high-ranking government officer, may face trial in the misdemeanor court if the prosecution decides to press charges under Article 339 of the Penal Code.

All this happened after the police took cognizance of a minute-and-a-half video depicting the assault. The video went viral on social network sites on Monday, triggering outrage among Emiratis and expatriates alike. Dubai Police’s Twitter account was inundated with messages, catching the attention of Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other prominent Emiratis.

So far so good, justice is taking its course. If a man regardless of who he is, assaults another he shall receive his punishment.

But the story doesn’t end here.

The same day, Gulf News published this report:

Van driver assault in UAE: Police arrest man who posted YouTube video

Dubai: A man who took a video of an Emirati man allegedly assaulting an Indian driver and then posted it on YouTube was arrested on Wednesday, a senior police official said.

Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Acting Chief of Dubai Police, told Gulf News that an Asian man was arrested on charges of taking a video clip of a UAE government official while he was allegedly beating an Indian driver over a minor traffic accident. The incident happened on July 13.

Major General Al Mazeina said the Asian man who posted the clip was arrested after the Emirati official’s son lodged a defamation complaint at Al Ghusais Police Station.

When I read the first article, I was curious to watch the video, and I did.

Surely, as mentioned in the article, the Emirati man was beating up an Indian man after what seems like a traffic accident had occurred.

What struck me in this video was not the act of beating. It was the guy who was filming the incident with his phone. Instead of opting to help the guy who was getting the beating, he just sat in his car, watching and filming.

At a certain point in the clip, when he thought the Emirati man saw him filming, he dropped his phone so he wouldn’t be noticed.

A few hours later, I read the second article the Gulf news published; that the son of the Emirati man had lodged a complaint against the man who was filming and Dubai police arrested him. Now I call that JUSTICE!

It is such a shame to see that people now, are so accustomed to invasion of privacy and public defamation over social media that they fail to see justice in its modern form.

So how Consciously Passive should we be?

With the availability and access of media links and social media, everyone is a potential reporter.

With that in mind, every average Joe believes other people’s lives, mistakes, blunders (and in this case a shameful incident) is his for the taking, and publicly posting it — disregarding the fact that this man, even if he’s wrong, has an innocent family that has to live with this shame for as long as the video lasts.

What is more shameful than witnessing an unfair act and not acting to stop it? Let alone correcting it!

I asked a lot of people about the incident, NONE, had noticed that the man filming the incident could have stopped what was happening, most of them focused on either the racial aspect, or that the Indian driver had it coming if he was the one that had caused the accident.

Recently on Facebook, there was a cartoon of some people standing on the beach holding their phone and taking pictures of a man drowning. This simple drawing depicts everything that is happening in our lives nowadays, from the smallest, to the biggest.

people-nowadays-drowning-man-taking-photos
Image courtesy: CrazyHyena.com

I went to a concert a couple of months ago with my husband and a few of our friends. The scene there was so surreal; almost all the attendees were watching the concerts from their phone cameras.  I asked my husband, who was also filming the event, why he was doing it. I thought he was missing the point of a live event. He took a moment of thought and said; “You’re right!” and put his phone away.

So this is what I am asking, have we, as regular non-heroic, average individuals, conscientiously taken to the benches and decided to become passive? And worse, is that the new norm?

I wonder…

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Arabian Gazette editorial view, nor any other view.

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