Friday, April 27, 2007

The Anatomy of Hate

'Beginning with the Nobel Laureate Conference in 1988, the Foundation for Humanity that Marion and I created at the end of 1986 has been organizing international conferences on a single theme: "The Anatomy of Hate."

"Hate," the key word, describes the passions, often contradictory and always vile, that have torn and ravaged the twentieth century. Only the twentieth century? In truth, the word contains and illustrates the full recorded memory of human cruelty and suffering. Cain hated his brother and killed him; thus the first death in history was a murder. Since then, hate and death have not ceased to rage.

Hate - racial, tribal, religious, ancestral, national, social, ethical, political, economic, ideological - in itself represents the inexorable defeat of mankind, its absolute defeat. If there is an area in which mankind cannot claim the slightest progress, this surely is it. It does not take much for human beings, collectively or individually, to suddenly one day pit themselves like wild beasts one against the other, their worst instincts laid bare, in a state of deleterious exaltation. One decision, one simple word, and a family or a community will drown in blood or perish in flames.

Why is there so much violence, so much hate? How is it conceived, transmitted, fertilized, nurtured? As we face the disquieting, implacable rise of intolerance and fanaticism on more than one continent, it is our duty to expose the danger. By naming it. By confronting it.'

-Elie Wiesel, Architects of Peace

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