Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Fall of Man
Eariler, I happened to see a movie called defiance. It basically dealt with the persecution of Jews in during the Nazi invasion of Belarus. As far as the movie is concerned, I do suppose it was quite satisfactory with regard to the entertainment value it had in store. But nevertheless it got me thinking, about how someone can be persecuted for a reason as ridiculous as belonging to a certain sect or class. In this case namely, Jews. I have seen Schindler's list and The Pianist and the movie I'll be watching next is The Reader. Apart from being a Kate Winslet fan, any movie which deals with the Holocaust is of particular interest to me.
They basically serve as a reminder to how low humanity can stoop. How the most intelligent of beings on the earth can squabble over something utterly trivial. Its ironic because they say that only humans can show compassion and kindness. Its one of the things that seperate us from the rest of the animals. However, time and again we have proven that not only can we utterly eschew kindness and comapassion, but we can turn into monsters as well. I suppose its the clever ability of the human mind to metamorphasise in into which ever vile being one chooses to.
I do not wish to ponder upon how and what lead the humans to persecute their brethren.
I suppose one could attribute it to anthrapological aspects.
I dont suppose the Jews were persecuted because they were Jews. I merely believe that their persecution occured on account of them always being a minority in whatever host nation they chose to live in.
And when their hosts deceided to flex their muscles, they were the ones who were the first to get beaten.
Its very much like the nerd who is regularly bashed by the high school bullies. Merely the wrong place at the wrong time sort of scenario.
All beings including our primate cousins like to subjugate the weak amongst their herd in order to show who's boss.
Inspite of all the progress we have made as a civilized soceity, I daresay we are'nt that different.
Its common practice to prey upon the weak. It asserts dominance of one race upon the other. I obviously do not propagate such practice, nevertheless its extremely unlikely that such practice can ever be abandoned. Old habits die hard.
The only diffrence between humans and apes, is that apes will attack you without any plausible reason. Just a whack on the head.
But humans being gifted "intellectuals" will attack the innocent with excellent reasoning so as to why they are doing so.
Thus in the end the opressor is seen as a saint and the opressed is seen as a vile thug. And thats how the cookie crumbles.
Take the Jews for instance. The Germans began a most interesting propaganda expalining how the 'pure blooded' blue eyed blonde Germans were genetically, intellectually and morally superior to the corrupt, miserly Jew.
The Germans were deemed saviors for rescuing their countrymen from the clutches of the Jews. I wonder though, if the Germans were actually in need of rescuing in the first place.
Nevertheless the propaganda worked, and what followed suit is something I believe is well known to everyone.
So who's to blame? One would say obviouly the Germans. For today they are seen as the instigators of hatred and violence towards the less fortunate races.
Nevertheless, I would like to offer an alternate hypothesis.
Suppose the Jews instead were the majority and the Germans a minority, what then?
Could there have ever occured an incident when a fanatic Jewish leader deceided to exterminate the minority Germans because he considered them a threat to the Jewish way of life?
Its a possibility. Why not?
Take the current events into consideration for instance.
The Palestinians in the Gaza strip are the minority and the Jews the majority. Agreed that few rockets from Gaza were fired into Isreal causing minor casualties. But in retaliation Israel has deceided to bombard Gaza (women and children included) to kingdom come.
We all know that around 250 or so innocent people have lost their lives in the conflict. Israel knows this as well. I do not call the Gaza bombing a genocide, but nevertheless its an act of absolute persecution of the minority. Obviously diplomacy has no say here whatsoever.
But heres the point. Its all about might. Its all about who has the power. The power to deceide whos lives and who doesnt. Today the Jews are powerful enough to obliterate an entire race of men. Whether they shall do it or not is another question. But obviously they have forgotten what it was like to be hunted like animals during the days of the holocaust. I daresay the Palestinians feel that way now.
I doubt there is anything such as a noble race. A race that remains tolerent and kindly towards the minority. And I doubt there is ever going to be one. You seldom hear a "civilized" soceity being generous and kind towards the minority. Such cases are rare and often even unheard of.
Lets consider history shall we?
Long before the Holocaust.
The year is 64 Ad. And Emperor Nero has just returned from the Circus Maximus where he along with the Pagan citizens of Rome watched christians being torn apart by lions. They laughed as the christians screamed for mercy. Most christians then almost always ended up as martyrs. Sympathizers on the street would remark "why would someone persecute the christians, who are the very embodiment of peace and virtue?"
Now lets proceed a little further ahead.
The year is 380 AD. On the roman throne sits Emperor Theodosius I. Nicene Christianity has now been officially declared sate religion.
What follows suit is a chain of events. Pagan temples are torn down, the Vestal Virgins(priestesses who served the Goddess Vesta) are disbanded and humiliated. Practice of Pagan faith now is a punishable offence. Pagans are now persecuted. In Alexandria, a coptic christian mob rapes and brutally murders the Pagan scholar Hypatia due to her criticism of the Alexandrian Pope Cyril (who is now deemed a saint).
I wonder whatever happened to the peaceful and virtuous christian populace? Ironically they were the ones that propagated the concept of love thy neighbour.
But I suppose the fine print read "Love thy neighbour but kill him if he isin't christian."
Sarcasm apart in the end I can say as history is a witness, that the race of man can seldom ever be noble.
Given the chance the presecuted can later be the persecuter. Irrespective of the numerous doctrines ones faith quotes, man cant help succumbing to the fact that there is an animal within him waiting to exert authority over the less fortunate. I suppose man remains subjected to the laws of the animal kingdom rather than the laws of humanity.
Being human we have the ability to look after the unfortunate through compassion and mercy. We are the only beings that can offer selfless love. Selflessness doesnt exist within animals.
But I suppose with each passing day man succumbs more and more to his animal instincts.
The above examples show, that all that matters today is the aquistion of power and nothing else. I have no remedy, nor any suggestions to get over this problem. One doesnt need remedies. All one needs is the ability to realise what exactly transpires around oneself. The ability to judge by yourself whether your actions were noble or corrupt. Nevertheless I doubt mankind has ever been introspective. If it were I doubt we would be having the sort of problems we face today.
One doesnt need to search far for answers. All answers lie within oneself.
If the current hateful trend continues I shant be surprised if mankind succeeds in destroying itself.
Unless the very idea of racial or communal superiority is abandoned I dont think peace can ever reign upon this earth.
Otherwise we shall be the first species which shall succeed in eliminaiting ourselves.