Violence is the Norm

Image result for act of violence in publicSource: https://www.aafp.org/news/opinion/20121219violenceedl.html

In the novel Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, violence is normalized by the rich and the poor. Anybody can do a senseless act of violence and no one will bat an eye or get punished.

For example, when Alaa demanded Germinal to “get out” (130) so he can rape Safiya, Germinal was disgusted, but she didn’t even attempt to stop him. She let it happen, and even though she was obviously disgusted, it was only because he wants to have sex with one of the Others.

Germinal isn’t surprised at this act of violence; instead, she feels insulted. Germinal knows that Alaa has sex with a number of other girls, but this situation is different because Safiya is a poor, sick girl who is seen as less than them; so Germinal is disgusted at the fact that Alaa would want to have sex with her in the first place.

“Did you enjoy yourself” (133) and “Have you finished” (132) is what Germinal asked Alaa when he was finished. She only asked him that out of spite and jealously that another woman had his attention other than her. Even in the face of a disgusting act, she still thought about how he wasn’t giving her all his attention.

Image result for cartoon muggingSource: https://humoresquecartoons.com/cartoons/tag/robbery/

In the world of Utopia this isn’t out of the ordinary. Alaa knew that nothing would happen to him if he did this to the girl, because since violence is so normalized, no one really cares. Alaa himself is extremely immoral and has no empathy for sympathy for this girl. Since Alaa grew up having everything he ever needed and wanted at his disposal, he inherited this sense of entitlement, so he knows that he will never be punished for any act of violence that he commits. The only reason he raped Safiya is “to have a souvenir” (130) of his trip. An act of violence that dehumanizes and violates another person is seen as a souvenir in his eyes, and that perfectly explains how normalized violence really is.

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