Aren’t we all just impish little fiends beneath the sheen of glossy eyes and silky skin? Does not our jagged interior penetrate this truthless shell and expose the monster within when given the slightest of oppurtunities? Isn’t man’s greatest enemy his fellow man?
This universality of inhumanity serves to cast a somber hue over any prideful advances of the human race.
For every polio vaccine discovered, there are ten atom bombs voiding those gains.
For every Live Aid, there’s a Darfur, a Rwanda, Kosovo, Armenia, a Nazi Germany. In man it seems is an inclination to always revive his heart of darkness.
One step forward, three steps back.
The 20th century was supposed to bring civility and equality as a burgeoning middle class gained greater access to education and transportation and health. Instead the advances in science and technology were perverted by those in power and blissfully ignored by the masses that would soon be erased by the millions. The 20th century was supposed to bring light instead it brought filth and radiation and mustard gas and barbed wire wrenching skin from flesh from bone.
The cooling ashes of the holocaust served not as a endpoint for the denegration and dehumanization of man, but instead as a sterling example of how to exterminate an entire race of people.
Methods of genocide may have varied on a case by case basis, but the ubiquities of bigotry persist, every single time. To kill a person pits us against our own evolutionary instinct to preserve and ultimately proliferate our species. Outside of extreme situations and mental abnormalities our natural reaction to murder, especially in committing it ourselves is one of abhorrence and revulsion. How then, did the nazi’s get their own educated and civilized citizenry to participate in the calculated destruction of 6 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists and countless others? How did the Sudanese government get the Janjaweed to decimate entire villages, rape women and children and burn them all alive? How did the Democratic Republic of the United States ,a supposedly righteous nation, gleefully engage in the ritualistic eradication of the Native Americans?
All three share a common causality, dehumanization. It is hard to kill someone you see as your equal and virtually impossible, unless forced, to kill someone you empathize with. That is where the brilliance of proliferators of genocide lies. By making a different race, religion or gender subhuman these leaders effectively remove the instinctual roadblocks that normally prevent the taking of a life.
Throughout history and regardless of race, religion or even gender we find a sick realization in humanity’s willingness to suppress and even eliminate our fellow man. Time and time again the rallying cries of superiority have rung out and a demonized minority has borne the brutal consequnces. Further enlightenment and education seem to be among the only tools against this plague of wanton indifference. And though certainly not the only culprit, the divisiveness of religion must take the brunt of the blame. Do I believe that a post-religious world would be one entirely devoid of violence and subjectivity, no other factors such as economic and political suppression will continue to aid those causes until they too are equalized. What I do believe, however, is that along with a growing empathy the decline of religion would only serve to bolster to cause of peace.
The world and it’s inhabitants share an equality of ignorance, so profound and unrelenting that it may never be completely eliminated. We can make attempts to lessen that vagary, but in the end people will still kill, one culture will still subjugate another and atrocities will be committed, falling on deaf ears and relinquished to the back pages of history books. Humanity is suffering, till the end of our days.