Posted by Christina on August 01, 2000 at 18:32:04:
In Reply to: Re: For all those who ponder the castingof stones- Italy and Stalin posted by MMMMarcia on August 01, 2000 at 10:54:16:
: Bill writes:
: : I think, in order for such things to never be repeated, there has to be the acceptance that normal people like you and I can be inflamed to support things we would never rationally accept unless stirred to do so by charismatic men or persuasive Governments feeding our baser elements and saying it is okay. WE all have those baser elements in some form. They can be fanned into flame if the right buttons are pushed. We would all like to believe it could not happen, WE would never do such things. If that were true, the Native American my not still own this continent, but he would not have been exterminated to the extent he was. If that were true, evil men would never have a political platform and public support for their ambitions.
: >>I have been following this thread with great interest. My knowledge of history is so woefully inadequate that I don't feel comfortable in making comment along those lines...however, my knowledge of human beings is somewhat more soundly based, and Bill, I have to say that I agree with your sentiments in this regard 100%. You've expressed this very well, and who did what or when they did it seems to me to be far less important than WHY. If we do not understand what motives drive this type of base and hideous behavior, how will we ever even HOPE to change things?
: : We have to accept our weaknesses and complicity before we can prevent recurrences. Don't we?
: >>Absolutely. And this is NOT the same as making reparations of any kind for past misdeeds. It IS, rather, learning enough about the human psyche to enable us to live together in some sort of harmony and mutual respect. It is about understanding how to build a foundation of tolerance and acceptance in each individual, while learning how to conquer the demons of hate and fear of anyone different from ourselves. Until we are able as a species to accomplish an understanding of our own minds, how can we NOT continue to repeat these same atrocities in different places with different people, over and over again? How will we ever progress to a higher level?
: : If we feed into the polarities, ANY polarity, we ensure that history repeats itself.
: >>Yes, precisely. And I, personally, see most claims for reparations for past deeds as falling directly into a polarity category. Instead of fretting over the past, we need, in most cases, to let it GO. It's a done deal. Instead, why can't we look at how best to help each other TODAY, and move forward? To my mind, except from a perspective of LEARNING what happened in order to preserve history and/or avoid the same pitfalls, looking backward is just that: BACKWARD. I'll vote for moving FORWARD, every time.
: Instead of asking "What can I get for injustices done 100 years ago?" why not ask, "What can I do TODAY to help ensure those kinds of injustices never occur again?"
: Just my thoughts.
Wow, MMMMarcia, you and I must have met up in some past life philosophical coffeehouse chat, because your opinions mirror mine exactly. I haven't contributed to these discussions yet because I just got back from out of town yesterday and with work and all really haven't had a chance to process all that's been said. But a lot of it has been VERY interesting and VERY enlightening, and I think it's great to be able to discuss these topics on THIS board, because like Bill said at one point -- this is truly one of the ONLY coherent boards for this type of discussion I've found.
Now, my meager two cents: The whole topic of reparations, apologies, compensation, etc. is a VERY touchy one for me for TWO reasons. One, because I was brought up to believe that when one makes an apology to someone you have harmed, you do it directly and sincerely and with all of your heart. This can only be done if you have some direct connection with the one you, as a human being, have hurt. It does no good for a government or a nation to make blanket apologies to a whole group of people when most of the people concerned have already passed on. I always compare the idea of an entire country, for instance, apologizing for what happened hundreds of years ago in this way: it would be the same as someone in my grandfather's home town demanding that I apologize to them for a slight my grandfather committed in 1926. I might be uttering the words, but I wasn't directly involved so it doesn't have the same meaning. Second, instead of a culture of BLAME, I've always asked why can't we move on to a culture of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY. I always have thought that those who run around spending their energy demanding apologies, reparations, etc. could somehow better expend their energies learning more about the wrongs of past history and passing this knowledge onto future generations. It is NOT my responsiblity to pay back some unknown descendant of a group my relatives might have subjugated hundreds of years ago. It IS, however, my responsibility to learn all I can about past injustices done to ALL people and make sure, to the very best of my ability, that such a thing never happens again.
These perspectives have come to me very vividly as a child of the South, which has plenty of injustices in its past, and as a child of a World War II veteran. I believe that World War II remains such a vivid and important part of our past history because it was the last war when people were truly fighting good against evil. Subsequent conflicts have been immersed in ideology and power struggles. It's important for us to learn all we can about what produced Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and etc, and also all we can about the courage and integrity it took to stop them.
Okay, that's it, I'm done...
pax aye and unity, Christina
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