In August of this year, owner Daryll Mann lost his cat in Coventry, England. The animal was discovered 15 hours later when Mr Mann heard her cries from inside a wheelie bin. After checking his security cameras he discovered a woman, Mary Bales, had grabbed the feline by the neck and thrown her in the bin. The police and the RSPCA were called into investigate the incident. The public outrage was swift and brutal. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed his shock while a concerted media campaign led by Britain’s notorious tabloids condemned this act of ‘inexplicable cruelty’ and called on Miss Bales to serve the maximum six month prison sentence. Members of a facebook group even compared her to Adolf Hitler. Amidst all the brouhaha, Mr Mann chimed in by saying “Its disgusting, she’s a lovely cat…she would never hurt anyone.” So fierce was the vitriol that Miss Bales had to be placed under police protection. Miss Bales, who was on her way to meet her dying father, was eventually sacked from her job and found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. She was fined 250 British pounds and banned from owning a pet for five years.
During the same month, some four thousand miles away in the Pakistani city of Sialkot, two young brothers were mercilessly being beaten to death because of dispute over a cricket match. Not only were the murders committed in full public view but were meticulously filmed by a professional cameraman and aired by every news outlet in the country. The Sialkot District Police Officer Waqar Chauhan and eight other law enforcement personnel were present at the incident and stood callously aside as a brutal mob beat the last vestiges of life out of the two siblings. After the lynching their bodies were hung upside down in a square. The Murders were roundly condemned but not in any sufficient proportion to the barbarity of the crime and to this day no-one has been charged – despite the fact that the faces of killers were openly caught on camera. In Sialkot itself some tried to tarnish the reputations of the deceased by suggesting that they had been involved in a theft, while others brazenly told the press that they had got what they deserved.
Since August, there has been a period of introspection in the United Kingdom with many questioning the public hatred directed at Miss Bales and the awful consequences on her life as a result. Under a recent piece in the Guardian newspaper by Gwyn Topham many of those who left comments have decried the mass hysteria that gripped the nation and questioned whether this is civilization and political correctness gone mad.
But what of Pakistan? The murder of the two brothers remain unresolved and the country has lurched from one senseless and barbaric cruelty to another. Most appear to have lost interest and there is very little concern about how this has affected the family of the men. It seems odd too think that two countries so different and distant were simultaneously caught amidst a tempest of madness and hysteria The British perhaps went too far in their attempts to scale the heights of civilization while the Pakistanis once again showed the world the savage and monstrous depths to which humanity can plunge. I remember when the murders happened one commentator suggested that even the lives of animals are considered more valuable. In the United Kingdom this really is true.