Monday, September 06, 2004

What does Beslan say about our common humanity?

From The Age letters:

I am extremely saddened and appalled by the actions of the Chechen terrorists in Beslan and the senseless suffering of the victims and their families. It's bad enough when such savagery is inflicted on adults; the tragedy is magnified when the victims are children and in such great numbers. The very knowledge that people can do this is forever corrupting.

But it is dangerous to simplistically separate ourselves from the terrorists. It's important to be reminded that these terrorists are of the same species as you and I and that aspects within our make-up make some, and perhaps many of us, capable of committing unspeakable acts under certain circumstances and inflicting incredible suffering on others.

Though capable of great charity, commitment, compassion, sacrifice, beauty and friendship, we humans need to understand this flaw in our make-up.

Although it is obvious that the human condition is complex, it is unbelievably under-studied. We need honestly to examine these flaws and learn more about our complexities. Then we may avert some atrocities in the future.

Dean Frenkel, Lower Plenty

Remind anyone of something?

Kurtz: I've seen the horror. Horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me . It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror.

Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies t o be feared. They are truly enemies.

I remember when I was with Special Forces--it seems a thousand centuries ago--we went into a camp to inoculate it.

The children.

We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile--a pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it, I never want to forget.

And then I realized--like I was shot...like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, "My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that." Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that--these were not monsters, these were men, trained contras, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love--that they had this strength, the strength to do that.

If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly.

posted by thr at 10:23 am


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