Monday, May 19, 2008


When anthropologists look back on history they can often feel a loss when an invading force takes over a culture. The invading force, in attempts to show its power, destroys the culture of the people. They may smash temples, defile sacred objects and in some cases rape women to further demonstrate their power over the people.

Today, we look in horror at these events of the past. Jews and Christians alike mourn the loss of Solomon’s temple. The academic world mourns the loss of many Mayan artefacts. Yet, humanity continues to repeat the failures of its ancestors.

A sniper in the US army has been using the Koran as target practice. The Koran which was bullet ridden was found to have been defaced with graffiti as well.

A study was done in 1971. A Stanford professor of psychology used his class to demonstrate how a prison psychology works. He built a make-shift prison. He assigned half the class to be prisoners and half the class to be guards. He would assume the role of Warden.

It took less only a few days for the students who were ‘guards’ to start demonstrating “genuine” sadistic behaviour towards prisoners. It took the prisoners only a few days to realise they had to take it.

If we allow those with the biggest gun to rule over those they are meant to protect, only fear can come out. It is only through mutual respect can we overcome the biggest obstacles that confront us. Degrading what others are and what they believe will not lead us on a path of peace.

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