A possie in Aussie

March 30, 2009

Coldness of evil in hot conflicts

Filed under: race relations — Nayano @ 7:48 am
Tags: , ,

Henrik at Eclectic Grounds writes about Dehumanization & Conflict: How soldiers and societies “make” violence just, and gives these insights to explain the seemingly inescapable pattern of blame and violence in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict:

Personal identity and group identity

Victims are never innocent

Moral double standards

The role of the state

The sociology of the army

and gives references for those who want to read more.

I am reminded of Gitta Sereny’s excellent, if chilling works on evil: studies of Mary Bell, a child murderer, Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, and of  Albert Speer. Chilling in more than a metaphorical sense – my main impression of the subjects of Sereny’s books is that of coldness. They come across as appallingly normal but boring people – the sort of people who leave one cold. This contrasts with the red-hot images of ‘villains’ and ‘monsters’ that are much more easy to deal with, because in our imagination they are so ‘not like us’.

See Migrant workers, the credit crunch & Nazism



  1. hey nayano!

    also check out hanna arendt’s book “eichmann in jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil”.

    here’s a link to the book http://books.google.com/books?id=ZwjNGDPUSPsC&dq=arendt+banality+of+evil&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=aGDQSargPIGb-AaF5YnVBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result

    and to an analysis: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/BanalityEvil_Herman.html

    Comment by henrik — March 30, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • Hey Henrik!
      Thanks for the heads up!
      Another Sereny fan?
      Arendt too?

      Comment by nayano — March 30, 2009 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

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