"When a child first catched adults out- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgeme"When a child first catched adults out- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgements are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just- his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green much. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child's world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing."
"'Look now- in all of history men have been taught that killing of men is an evil thing not to be countenanced. Any man who kills must be destroyed because this is a great sin, maybe the worst sin we know. And then we take a soldier and put murder in his hands and we say to him, 'Use it well, use it wisely.' We put no checks on him. Go out and kill as many of a certain kind or classification of your brothers as you can. And we will reward yoi for it because it isa violation of your early training.'"
"To Adam who was an instrument, who saw not the future farms but only the torn bellies of fine humans, it was revolting and useless."
"There was a nail-hard strength in her, a lack of compromise, a rightness in the face of all opposing wrongness, which made you hold her in a kind of awe but not in warmth."
"...and he learned that when people are very poor they still have something to give and the impulse to give it."
"And now he learned how men can consider other men as beasts and that the easiest way to get along with such men was to be a beast."
"Adam thought how a man doing an ugly or a brutal thing has hurt himself and must punish someone for the hurt."
"They left the question lying there, walked mentally around it, stepped over it. Their words ignored it but their minds never left it. They wanted to talk about it and could not."
"'I can't understand why a girl like you you-' he began, and fell right into the oldest conviction in the world- that the girl you are in love with can't possibly be anything but true and honest."
"But some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread their hatred around like butter on hot bread."
"There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension."
"'I eat stories like grapes.'"
"'A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything."
"When I said Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so. Now I have bent close with a glass over the small print of her and reread the footnotes, and I wonder if it was true. The trouble is that since we cannot know what she wanred, we will never know whether or not she got it. If rather than running toward something, she ran away from something, we can't know whether she escaped. Who knows but that she tried to tell someone or everyone waht she was like and could not, for lack of a common language. Her life may have been her language, formal, developed, indecipherable. It is easy to say she was bad, but there is little meaning unless we know why."
"He had an idea that even when beaten he could steal a little victory by laughing at defeat."
"So often men trip by being in a rush. If one were properly to perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget it completely and concentrate solely on the means."
"And I will warn you now that not their blood but your suspicion might build evil in them. They will be what you expect of them."
"Laughter lived on her doorstep."
"How could we think about anything without knowing what he thought about it? What would the spring be like, or Christmas, or rain? There couldn't be a Christmas."
"'Do you take pride in your hurt?' Samuel asked. 'Does it make you seem large and tragic?"
"Well, think about it. Maybe you're playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience."
"'I know that it might be better for you to come out from under your might-have0beens, into the winds of the world...You're too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some hew ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to age.'"
"He smiled at her as a man might smile at a memory."
"'He loved a celebration of the human soul. Such things were like a personal triumph to him.'"
"'But you-yes, that's right- you don't know about the rest. You don't believe I brought you the letter because I don't want your money. You don't believe I loved you. And the men who come to you here with their ugliness, the men in the pictures- you don;t believe those men could have goodness and beauty in them. You see only one side, and you think- more than that, you're sure- that's all there is.'"
"A child may ask, 'What is the world's story about?' And a grown man or woman may wonder, 'What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we're at it, what's the story about?' I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught- in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too- in a net of good and evil. I think this it the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any cahnges we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well- or ill?"
"Was he loved or was he hated? Is his death felt as a loss or does a kind of joy come from it?"
"In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world."
"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, wile virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."
"'Maybe the knowledge is too great and maybe men are growing too small,' said Lee. 'Maybe, kneeling gown to atoms, they're becoming atom-sized in their souls. Mybe a specialist is only a coward, afraid to look out of his little cage. And think what any specialist misses- the whole world over his fence."
"'And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good. Is that it?'"...more
"It's hard to live with someone you haven't forgiven. It's like a cavity in my tooth that I can't see but I keep pushing at with my tongue. I'm afraid"It's hard to live with someone you haven't forgiven. It's like a cavity in my tooth that I can't see but I keep pushing at with my tongue. I'm afraid it will crack but I can't leave it alone."
"...Because resentment and anger are what you old on to when you have all the time in the world."
"The only way love endures is because of one simple gift. Forgiveness."
"We all carry our own tales of violence. The distant war going on over there is not so different from the war we fight here. I don't know why some people, like the Mamas and Suzy, can survive a war and still find enough joy to laugh as if their whole life has been blessed."
"'If you have a strong sense of who you are and what's important, you can live through it. People like me, we never knew who we were, so we became the war. And because I was the war, I could never let it go.'"
"If there are those you love, whoever or wherever they are, hold them. Find them and hold them as tightly as you can. Resist their squirming and impatience and uncomfrtable laughter and just feel their hearts throbbing against yours and give thanks that for this moment, for this one precious moment, they are here. they are with you. And they know they are utterly, completely, entirely...Loved."
"All these precious traits we cling to as uniquely ours- empathy, altruism, morality- they have to come from somewhere. They didn't just appear as soon as the first human plopped out of his or her mother's womb. Evolution is a journey."
"In the end, if fate is just a roll of the dice and you could be born anywhere, to any family in the world, if you look at the odds, who would you rather ne? Most of the time, bonobos have no hunger, no violence, no poverty. And for all our intelligence, all our things, bonobos have the most important of all possessions- peace."
"In return, the bonobos will share their secrets. Schoolchildren learn that when bonobos are get angry, the hug. Women hear that together, bonobo females are strong. Men understand that it is possible to live a life without war." ...more
"I am a realist, and I have heard bad news in my life. I don't expect or need to be treated with kid gloves. But I do believe in hope. And I believe t"I am a realist, and I have heard bad news in my life. I don't expect or need to be treated with kid gloves. But I do believe in hope. And I believe that approaching adversity with a positive attitude at least gives you a chance for success. Approaching it with a defeatist attitude predestines the outcome: defeat."
"And so with Barack Obama- for you and for me, for our country and for our cause- the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on."
"...I hope when you grow up you will dedicate your life to trying to make people happy instead of making them miserable as this war does today." (Joe Kennedy)
"His simple bequest to me has been more precious than any fortune. Love life, and believe in it."
"My mother was right when she observed in her memoir, 'It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time- the mind, protecting its sanity- covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone."
"I decided to put faith in 'the better angels of our nature.'..Then and always, I would work with anyone whose philosophies differed from mine as long as the issue at hand promoted the welfare of the people, and I would continue to await those better angels, and to remain confident in ultimate justice."
"A gulf had opened between what was happening in the military sphere (or what was claimed to be happening) and what was happening to the people: the civilian population."
"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world." (Bobby Kennedy)
"Atonement is a process that never ends. I believe that. Maybe it's a New England thing, or an Irish thing, or a Catholic thing. Maybe all of those things. But it's as it should be."
"I wanted them to experience the ravages of preventable illness and death as I'd learned to experience them: not as abstractions on a printed page, but as blood, and bandages, and needles, and wails of pain down a hospital corridor, and tears, and mourning."
"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
"On that occasion, John Kennedy said, 'The family of man is not limited to a single race or religion, to a single city, or country...the family of man is nearly three billion strong.'"
"I recognize my own shortcomings- the faults in the conduct of my private life. I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them. I believe that each of us as individuals must not only struggle to make a better world, but to make ourselves better, too, and in this lose those endeavors are never finished."
"Human beings are much more complex than that. Some people make mistakes and try to learn from them and do better. Our sins don't define the whole picture of who we are."
"Every single one of us, if we are awake to the brokenness of the world and of our lives, wonders at some pint, 'How coul you allow this, O God? I believe, but help me in my unbelief!' And these questions, this wonder, this pain and this pleading know no bounds of faith- for the simple, hard fact is that God plays no favorites; that we all suffer; that we all die; that, at one time or another, we all shake our fists at God; and that, if we are lucky, we all come home to God in the end. Thomas Carlyle said, 'I had a lifelong quarrel with God, but we made up in the end.' The hardest thing for any human being to understand is that God loves even those who take what is most precious from us. The most awesome thing about God is the width of His embrace. I think that in the end my mother understood that too, for she never allowed her grief to cloud her joy never allowed that moment of despair to impede a lifetime of laughter."
"What binds us together across our differences in religion or politics or economic theory is that when each of us is cut, our blood flows red. Mine does and yours does too. Those who would try to appropriate God or family or country for their own narrow ends, who believe that religious faith is the property of one particular ideology, forget the width of God's embrace, the healing power of a family's arms, and the generosity of this country's vision. God, family, and nation belong to us all. And they belong to us all because of all that we share as human beings- the wonder that we experience when we look at the night sky; the gratitude that we know when we feel the heat of the sun; the sense of humor in the face of the unbearable and the persistence of suffering. And one thing more: the capacity to reach across our differences to offer a hand of healing."
"When one of your children goes out of your life, you think of what he might have done with a few more years, and you wonder what you are going to do with the rest of yours. Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find yourself a part of it again, trying to accomplish something- something that he did not have time enough to do. And perhaps, that is the reason for it all. I hope so. (Joe Kennedy Sr.)
"I wish that life were simpler. I wish that loved ones didn't have to die too young, I wish that tragedy never haunted a single soul. But to wish all that is to ask for an end to our humanity. God, family, and country sustain us all. Legend has it that in the ancient world, a poetry contest was held each year. The third-place winner received a rose made out of silver. The secong-place winner received a rose made out of gold. But the first-place winner received a real rose, a beautiful living rose that soon wilted, dried up, and died. I ask you, is there a single one among us who would not choose the living rose?"
"We might not be the best, Teddy, but we can work harder than anyone. And that will make the difference."
"This is the greatest lesson a child can learn. It is the greatest lesson anyone can learn. It has been the greatest lesson I have learned: if you presevere, stick with it, work at it, you have a real opportunity to achieve something. Sure, there will be storms along the way. And you might not reach your goal right away. But if you do your best and keep a true compass, you'll get there."
"'We shall require a new manner of thinking if manking is to survive...Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved through undeAmaaaaazing.
"'We shall require a new manner of thinking if manking is to survive...Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved through understanding.'"
"'It if of course entirely correct and a fact confirmed by all historical experience, that what is possible would never have been achieved if, in this world, people had not repeatedly reached for the impossible.'" (Max Weber)
"'...and idea whose time has come...Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will perish as fools.'" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
"'We moved back to our land and declared it a Space for Peace. We were Lumads, Muslims, and Christians. We realized that the war was not our war. We were invited into the narratives of war, saying that the reason for the conflict was religious or related to ethnicity- but these narratives were not ours. We were encouraged into thinking in racist ways...we said thank you very much- but no. We have our own stories of living together for a century without hate or violence.'" ...more
"What seems to be most appealing about militant religious groups- whatever combination of reasons an individual will cite for joining- is the way life"What seems to be most appealing about militant religious groups- whatever combination of reasons an individual will cite for joining- is the way life is simplified. Good and evil are brought out in stark relief."
"The creation of a new self, which Lifton calls doubling, helps to explain how 'banal' operatives come to kill innocent civilians."
"'Well it came about slowly,' she says. 'Over a couple of years. We got pulled into it, it became a way of life.'"
"Strict religious communities simplify life by proclaiming an exclusive truth- a closed, comprehesive, and eternal doctrine that proides answers to life's most troubling questions."
"Too much choice, especially regarding identity, can be overwhelming and even frightening. Under these circumstances, some people crave closing off options; they crave discipline imposed from the outside. The 'strictness' of militant religious groups- and the clarity they offer about self and other- is part of their appeal."
"It is at the moment that life begins to improve that people are most prone to revolt."
"He agrees. 'I now realize that my desire to help the umma- the Muslim community- was in itself a spiritual error. It is wrong to focus on your own people's suffering, to imagine that the suffering of your people is greater than others. Faith that is not able to make you understand the suffering of all people- not just your own- is unworthy of the name.' He continues, 'I now realize that we become prisoners of our rituals. Our rituals help us pray, but they also divide people.'"
"Holy war intensifies the boundaries between Us and Them, satisfying the inherently human longing for a clear identity and a definite purpose in life, creating a seductive state of bliss."
"Sociologists argue that the first requirement for mobilizing a group is the identification of a common enemy....Defining 'us' automatically entails in defining 'them.'"
"Nargis, the martyr's mother, tells me how proud she is to have donated her son, but she is sobbing as she says this."
"How does he feel about America? Down with America, he says. I ask why he feels that way. Everyone says that, he says. But do you know why? I ask him. No, he says."
"Americans tend to fixate on enemies that can be fought with military might. We have a much harder time seeing failing states, where terrorists thrive, as a source of danger. We need to assess why bin Laden's and other extremists' ideas spread. And we need to look for clues globally, not just in the Middle East."
"It seemed to me that Mohamed had a harder time facing his mother than he did facing his victims or accusers. There was a jolt of pain in the room, as though the air had been ionized with terror- his and ours. Not a fear of death, but the recognition of evil. The recognition that this person that had killed so many has a mother who loves him, despite his crimes, and that he is afraid to look her in the eye. That despite his evil actions, he is human, just like us. It is one thing to understand this intellectually. It is another to see her mother face her killer son, with his many victims looking on, seeing her fear, her agony, and her loss. The loss of her son- first to evil, and maybe to death."
"Ironically, the enemy's existence- and even his atrocities- help terrorist groups prove the importance of their mission."
"Bin Laden was competing for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims. He said that the September 11 'events' had split the world into two 'camps,' the Islamic world and 'infidels'- and that the time had come for 'every Muslim to defend his religion' (echoing President Bush's argument that from now on 'either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists')."
"Law-enforcement authorities will continue to discover new cells or clusters, but they will not be able to shut down the movement until bin Laden, his successors, and his sympathizers' call to destroy the New World Order loses its appeal among populations made vulnerable by perceived humiliation and violations of human rights, perceived economic deprivation, confused identities, and poor governance."
"It is part of the human condition to lack certainty about our identities; the desire to see ourselves in opposition to some Other is appealing to all of us. That is part- but only part- of what religion is all about. One of our goals must be to make the terrorists' purification project seem less urget: to demonstrate the humanity that binds us, rather than allow our adversaries to emphasize and exploit our differences to provide a seemingly clear (but false) identity, at the expense of peace."
"The terrorism we are fighting is a seductive idea, not a military target."
"In the end, however, what counts is what we fight for, not what we oppose."...more
"They don't wonder why they were compelled to take over the world. They just figure, what else could we have done? We had to take over the world, and"They don't wonder why they were compelled to take over the world. They just figure, what else could we have done? We had to take over the world, and that's that."
"No special control is needed to make people into pyramid builders- if they see themselves as having no choice but to build pyramids."
"As things get worse and worse for us, we're going to need more and more of all the things that give us relief and oblivion and all the things that get us revved up and excited...But meanwhile, of course, every morning we must shake off the hangover and forget about fun for eight or ten hours while we drag our quota of stones up the side of the pyramid. What life could possibly be sweeter than this?"
"If people will willingly reform and industry when their minds are changed, why spend billions to enact and enforce laws to compel them to do it?"...more
"These beautiful, laughing, running kids, were certainly not miserable. They were vibrant with life. Still, knowing what I did, I wanted to find some"These beautiful, laughing, running kids, were certainly not miserable. They were vibrant with life. Still, knowing what I did, I wanted to find some way to protect them: from their pasts, which I could scarecely imagine when looking at their quick smiles, and from their futures, which were so precarious. I wanted to give them more than I possibly could."
"His steady voice quivered for a moment, and then continued with determination. 'It felt like I lost all the world.'"
"We cry. Our homes are filled with tears."
"'If the media will take our problem to the United Nations, they will recognize that we have rights. The United Nations is the father of all countries, not just America. I don't have anything more to say. Please give our message to the international community and let us know if human beings are supposed to live under these conditions.'"
"'If you could give a message to the kids in America your age, what would it be?' 'I will wish them peace and I will tell them we are here in Darfur. Our villages were burned, we are in a very bad situation. We ran to the Sudan Liberation Army.' He paused, trying to think of what else he could ask his peers in America. 'How are you guys doing?'"
"'I would say to them that what they are doing is wrong. We can meet together and talk about what you need and what I need, about what is right, what is wrong.'"
"'I turned over every stone, I crossed all the land. I am desperately looking, but I have no solution. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to admit this. So let me rest.'"
"When the horror is so large, there is a tendency to buy into the fallacy that since you can't do everything, then it's pointless to do anything. If we allow ourselves to fall into that trap, we become completely paralyzed. A phone call to your congressperson isn't going to halt the Sudanese government. A letter to the editor of a newspaper isn't going to ensure access to humanitarian aid for displaced people. We know this film isn't going to stop a genocide...But it all feeds into a larger effort. Perhaps it's true that we can't possibly do enough. But what we do does matter. It matters to people in Darfur and refugees from Darfur who are here. It's importat for them to know that there are people in the outside world who care about them, who are standing with them ad working on their behalf." ...more
"They all wanted to know the same thing: What do people in America think of Iran? There we were, citizens of two countries that are sworn enemies, all"They all wanted to know the same thing: What do people in America think of Iran? There we were, citizens of two countries that are sworn enemies, all experiencing the same curiousity and eagerness to speak to one another."
"'Well, do they know we are not terrorists?' she demanded to know. 'We are Muslim and we are proud of our religion, but that does not mean we are terrorists. Do people in your country know this?'"
"But you have to promise that when you go back you will tell people the truth about how we are; that we are just like you."
"Young Iranians dream of a change that will bring them opportunity, but they do not want this change to come through violence."
"We are all young, but we are at the mercy of politics and longstanding hatreds."
"He explained, 'We get used to the West, they cover one eye and see by the other. What they see is the violence, but they do not see the context. They don't see that we want to study and get jobs. They don't see that we use computers, and we enjoy movies.'" ...more
"Generation after generation, we find excuses to hate dehumanize each other, and we always justify ourselves with the most mature-sounding political r"Generation after generation, we find excuses to hate dehumanize each other, and we always justify ourselves with the most mature-sounding political rhetoric."
"The hostile imagination begins with a simple but crippling assumption: what is strange or unknown is dangerous and intends evil."
"Paranoids begin with imagined enemies and end up with real ones as the cycle of reaction turns into a complex historical conflict."
"As a rule, human beings do not kill other human beings. Before we enter into warfare or genocide, we first dehumaize those we mean to 'eliminate.'...'The' enemy is always singular, a limbolike category, to which we may assign any threat about which we do not wish to think clearly...It is not a person we kill, but an idea."
"The most terrible of all moral paradoxes, the Gordian knot that must be unraveled if history is to continue, is that we create evil out of our highest ideals and most noble aspirations. We so need to be heroic, to be on the side of God, to eliminate evil, to clean up the world, to be victorius over death, that we visit destruction and death on all who stand in the way of our heroic historical destiny. We scapegoat and create absolute enemies, not because we are intrinsically cruel, but because focusing our anger on an outside target, striking at strangers, brings our tribe or nation together and allows us to be a part of a close and loving in-group. We create surplus evil because we need to belong."
"It should not escape our notice that the new apolcalyptic mood and images are an inevitable consequence of our advances in weapons technology. Absolute weapons demand absolute enemies. Nothing less than the portrait of the enemy as absolute and total evil, incapable of change, can justify our possession and contemplated use of weapons that will totally annihilate the enemy and perhaps all other living things."
"One way we deny our common responsibility for war is by the self-justifying illusion that people are peaceful and only leaders are violent."
"For the moment we will only note this cruel paradox of human behavior- our propensity to fight for peace, hate for love, kill for life."
"From empathy comes a measure of compassion. To know in detail is to limit hate, perhaps even to abolish it."
"'To say that it had not been a very important day because the Second Battalion had but two NVA kills now seems ludicrous; it was a damned important day for those two dead men. When even just one man died or got his fingers blown off or his leg shattered or his hearing imparied or his eyes bloodied and blinded, it was one hell of a costly battle- especially if you happened to be the guy who got it that day. It's something generals and presidents can never understand- only mothers, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters, and wives...If anything has happened to our country as a result of the Vietnam War, it is our national infection with the sickness of the numbers game. We reduced the blood and suffering and death and destruction to mere ciphers, and in so doing we reduced our own souls. Numbers don't die; people do. Columns of figures don't disintegrate in the explosion of a bomb; human beings do. Statistics don't bleed, and if you can make your war a war of numbers, you have no trouble sleeping. Most generals and presidents sleep well.'"
"The major responsibility for war lies not with villains and evil men but with reasonably good citizens."
"We become politically potent by accepting responsibility, for better or worse, for the conduct of our leaders."
"When we reach the point in the journey of the human spirit where we want to become conscious, we must be willing to become real rather than 'good.'"
"When there are no restraints on our conduct, no moral limits beyond which we will not go to survive, no carnage, torture, or expenditure we will not sanction in the name of private advantage or national defense, then we are living godlessly, no matter how much we invoke the name of God."
"It becomes more and more difficult to imagine who we are without reference to our enemy."
"...'And from the joy of being alive in death's presence to the joy of causing death, is, unfortunately, not that great a step."
"To be human we must die. We need not kill."
"When we feel we don't count, aren't important, don't matter, violence becomes our last resource for crying 'I exist, I can make a difference, I am powerful.' If we have lost the confidence that we can create anything that bears the stamp of our individual existence, respond to a calling by which we may earn a name for ourselves, we can still deny our impotence by destroying."
"Pessimists take a grim delight, optimists an easy comfort, in determinism. For both, the outcome of history is already wirtten and all we have to do is sit back and await the final act."
"The reason that most predictions about the future are boring is because they are predicated on the view that the story is already finished."
"We may prefer to die angry than to live with the kind of radical trust necessary to create rational and compassionate policies."
"Power corrupts, but so does powerlessness."
"If we must be dead right, and the enemy dead wrong, we will both be dead- right or wrong."
"We are now faced with the necessity to create a metanational identity...taking the next step in political evolution beyond nationalism."
"Trying to maintain the illusion of control is exhausting."
"The human species is very young. Our social evolution has just begun. Nature, Life, Evolution, or God- pick your belief system- is not yet finished with us. Therefore the past is not an accurate reflection of human possibilities."
"...the name 'God' must no longer be used as the sanctifier of carnage."
"Nationalism and species chauvinism are idas whose time is past."
"If we don't yet know new answers, we can at least refuse to be hypnotized by old questions."
"And when we must fight, it must not be as holy warriors but as deeply repentant men and women who are caught in the tragic conflicts of a history that we have not yet had the vision, the will, or the courage to change." ...more
"Dehumanization is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil."Dehumanization is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil."
"The terrible paradox of the Inquisition is that the ardent and often sincere desire to combat evil generated evil on a grander scale than the world had ever seen before."
"...but only by examining and understanding the causes of such evil might we be able to change it, to contain it, to tranform it through wise decisions and innovative communal action."
"Mr. Correctional Officer, do you think that when this job ends you're going to have enough time to become a human being again?"
"If a prison is anything like what I went through here, I don't know how it could help anyone."
"This intense, extended experience is enriching my apprecation of the complexity of human nature because just when you think you understand someone, you realize you know only the smallest slive of their inner nature derived from a limited set of personal or mediated contacts."
"Paradoxically, by creating this myth of our invulnerability to situational forces, we set ourselves up for a fall by not being sufficiently vigilant to situational forces."
"Most experts on torture and on police interrogations agree that such physical abuse committed with humiliation and degrading tactics rarely yields trustworthy evidence. You get confessions and admissions by building rapport not by bullying, by earning trust not by fostering hatred."
"War is hell on soldiers, but it is always worse on civilians and especially children in battle zones, when the soldiers stray off the moral path, acting cruelly against them. In another recent incident under investigation, U.S. forces killed as many as thirteen civilians in the hamlet of Ishaqi, Iraq. Some were found tied up and shot in the head, including several children. U.S. military officals, acknowledging that 'noncombatants' had been killed, called the casualties 'collateral deaths' (again this is an instance of euphemistic labeling associated with moral disengagement.)"
"If you disobeyed, refused to continute, got paid, and left silently, your heroic action would not prevent the next 999 participants from experiencing the same distress. It would be an isolated event without social impact unless it included going to the next step of challenging the entire structure and assumptions of the research. Disobedience by the individual must get translated into systemic disobedience that forces change in the situation or agency itself and not just in some operating conditions. It is too easy for evil situations to co-opt the intentions of good dissidents or even heroic rebels by giving them medals for their deeds and a gift certificate for keeping their opinions to themselves."
"We opened fire until the lasr living being in the other group fell to the ground. We walked toward the dead bodies, giving each other high fives. The"We opened fire until the lasr living being in the other group fell to the ground. We walked toward the dead bodies, giving each other high fives. The group had also consisted of young boys, like us, but we didn't care about them. We took their ammunition, sat on the bodies, and started eating the cooked food they had been carrying. All around us, fresh blood leaked from the bullet holes in their bodies."
"It was clear to me that he knew his days would soon be over, and he didn't bother to be afraid for himself. But he was for us."
"So I couldn't bring myself to be completely happy. It was much easier to be sad than to go back and forth between emotions, and this gave me the determination I needed to keep moving. I was never dissapointed, since I always expected the worst to happen."
"He continued, 'Every time people come at us with the intention of killing us, I close my eyes and wait for death. Even though I am still alive, I feel like each time I accept death, part of me dies. Very soon I will completely die and all that will be left is my empty body walking with you.'"
"To this day, I carry the pain that my sisters and parents felt. When I climbed down after the rebels were done, I couldn't stand and my tears froze in my eyes. I felt like my veins were being harshly pulled out of my body. I still feel like that all the time, as I can't stop thiking about that day. What did my sisters do to anyone?"
"'You will get used to it, everybody does eventually.'"
"We had been fighting for over two years, and killing had become a daily activity. I felt no pity for anyone. My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen."
"It hadn't crossed their minds that a change of environment wouldn't immediately make us normal boys; we were dangerous, and brainwashed to kill. They had just started this process of rehabilitation, so this was one of the first lessons they had to learn." ...more
"I hoped that when our national mourning was over, we, as American citizens, might feel a renewed sense of empathy because of this incident- one robus"I hoped that when our national mourning was over, we, as American citizens, might feel a renewed sense of empathy because of this incident- one robust enough to transcend our national boundaries and inspire us to see the rest of the world."
"...I marvel at these strong women who have dressed in their best, most colorful clothes to meet us...These same wome, welcoming us with broad smiles and their rolling tongue chants, are forced to hide in the banana groves at night in fear of men bearing torches and guns who search them out."
"The story is about being loyal to the truth as a nation, that citizens of a democracy are collectively responsibile for what their troops do in war, good or bad. It's my job to make sure they see it all."
"Allahkarami lost two sons in the Iran-Iraq War, but makes a sweeping gesture across the rows of graves that have no names or photographs, the unknown martyrs. 'These are all my sons,' she says, which sounds to me like a very familiar sentiment."
"I like that. I believe that anything, a story, a novel or a piece of art, has a place for you in it. A place that is yours to decide."
"Some people have eyes but their hearts are blind."
"People are more than just the sum of their misery."
"Eight thousand skulls look back at you from empty eye sockets, asking you to see not just their deaths but also their lives. Once they laughed, dressed in clothes, ate breakfast, took shelter from the rain, made tea. It was these things they were robbed of and these things they seem to ask you to remember so that they are more than statistics of a heinous crime, more than skulls on a platform."
"I believe I could have been happy never to resurface, but eventually your air runs out and you have to come up."
"War poses as combat but is really collateral damage."...more