“O Judgement,” Mark Anthony says, “thou fled to the brutish beast and men have lost their reason.” However, the reason that propelled Brutus to slay his friend was not without logic, “not that I loved Caesar less” he said, “but I loved Rome more.” In any conflict, reason becomes the first casualty on either side that is why Horkheimer said, “denunciation of what is currently called reason is the greatest service that reason can render.” At Karachi university, the Shakespearean tragedy has repeated itself. Contrary to the past, instead of a man allegedly a comely young woman called it a day when she committed a terror attack upon the Chinese teachers and blew herself along with four innocent people having nothing to do with the war she was trying to win. If she wanted to raise the flag of her terrorist organisation, she failed miserably for no flag, Howard Zinn says, is big enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. Her terror attack has brought the Baloch question to the fore which is directly linked to the unity of the country and has been left unattended by the Pakistani ruling class at its peril. Everyone knows about Balochistan’s history of enduring brazen army actions, brutal assaults, and the saga of missing persons. Its backwardness-largely intentional and partly for the uneven development of capitalism- its poverty, inhuman living conditions and expropriation of its resources are not hidden from the lusty eyes of the establishment. The hypocrisy of the ruling class, over the years, has gone berserk, it wants its coercion not only to be felt but to be seen to force the expropriated masses into submission. If on occasions, the reactive response is equally brutal, why are the rulers stupefied? For violence? But violence breeds violence, if one sows wind, he is bound to reap hurricanes. Children of violence, Sartre miscalculated, do not always draw their humanity through their violence, some seek their revenge, and, unlike shame, revenge is not a revolutionary feeling. If anything, it is a reactionary outburst, a sadomasochistic catharsis that not only highlights the inverted consciousness of the revenge seeker but the bestiality of the perpetrators as well. A society littered with inverted consciousness varying from religious fundamentalism to nationalistic chauvinism cannot complain about violent outbursts, it needs to see its mutilated face in the mirror first. Violence is not an act of will, as Engels points out, it needs its implements and above all those conditions that prepare the ground for violence. It is the given society and its ruling class that provide both the implements and the conditions. Violence is integral to every state, but when it commits violence through its repressive agents e.g., army, police, and rangers it is dubbed as discipline, art, or statecraft. The ugly connotation of the word remains limited to the action or the response of the opponent, regardless of the latter’s motives. From Vietnam to Algeria to Palestine during all freedom struggles, the response of the oppressed to the aggression and oppression of dominating force was/is labelled by the power and its allies as illegitimate, atrocious, and inhuman. By establishing the enforceable meaning of the word, dominant power twists it according to its designs. Once it becomes a necessity for imperialist expansion, violence becomes just an excuse for promoting democracy in Iraq, freedom for Syrian and Libyans, and securing the “right of self-defence in case of Israel.” These are a few examples of twisting the words and the concept attached to these processes through their negation. “In a time of helplessness,” Fanon says “murderous rampage” becomes “the collective unconscious of the colonized.” Such a rampage is the internal projection of the external terror perpetrated by the colonizer. For the subcontinent remained under the domination of colonizers for a major part of its history, the colonial mentality has become innate to its ruling classes. The most potent and organized institution the British left behind was the army which functions on the logic of command and subordination. The purpose of the army is to inhibit violence through violence. Here the logic of Engels of having implements of violence, access to them and their qualitative superiority comes into play. “The triumph of violence,” he says, “depends upon the production of armament that in turn depends on production in general, and thus…on economic strength, on the economy of the state, and in the last resort on the material means which that violence commands.” By Engels’ logic, since the state, imperialist or otherwise, possesses superior weapons and material means, it monopolizes the authority of violence locally or internationally. In Pakistan, state and military are synonymous hence it’s hard to discern the colour of the fingers dipped in the violence. Nevertheless, the word “armed” that separates the powerful agency from the masses has no ambiguous meaning. It categorically states where the power and monopoly of violence rests. One of the main objectives of state violence is to depoliticise society. However, an insecure depoliticised society under a state of constant siege by a big brother becomes a breeding ground for further violence. When the class struggle is disguised or stripped off from its real name, the aggression in the society appears in various other names, having apparently different and conflicting motives. Lynching people in the name of blasphemy, honour killing, sectarian massacres and slaying of workers and innocent people to attain national liberation do not highlight the innate aggression hidden in the human nature as described by Freud but on the contrary, the deprivation and humiliation suffered by the individual perpetrators that turn them into beasts. These apparently different kinds of violence in essence are one, the human committing them is not only alienated from his/her work but from the other human being, his/her species essence and even from the act he/she commits. Killing human beings as others is not alien to the capitalist society but rather a product of it. From the colonization of India and China to Africa and America, hundreds and millions of lives have been taken by the imperialist powers, despite that hate is not inborn to humankind. “It has to be cultivated to be brought into being.” Once done, it works as a two-edged sword, to gratify its interests, the ruling class uses the majority to hate the minority and vice versa, consequently, violence becomes the norm in the society. However, despite its grisly nature, violence cannot be condemned on principle for such condemnation not only justifies but reproduces the institutional violence inherent in the system. Not only this but it’s equally important to discern between the violence of the oppressed that remains entirely different- if not in nature or ethics for both can be evil and grisly but in content- from the one perpetrated by the oppressor. “By what standards of morality,” Walter Rodney inquires, “can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave-master?”History, Marcuse suggests, is not made by the laws of bourgeois ethics and to start applying ethics at a point when the oppressed are fighting against the oppressor and have-not against the haves is to serve the cause of violence by weakening the protest against it. “Sometimes you have to pick guns,” Malcolm X says, “to put the gun down” but not to gun down the innocent people, only a revolutionary consciousness, gone scant remembers the lesson. The writer is an Australian-based academic and has authored books on socialism and history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.