Thursday, January 27, 2011

Correlation between rhetoric and violence

Laura Conaway observes the positive correlation between political rhetoric and political violence in Uganda:

In Uganda, they call them "iron-bar killings." It means someone beats you to death with a hunk of metal, like a tire rod, a hammer or a crowbar. Iron-bar killings date back to the reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s, the BBC reports, and they're back now that Uganda has been debating a bill to make homosexuality a criminal offense punishable by death.

...When we talk about the consequences of violent political rhetoric in the United States, we generally separate the senseless acts of the mentally disturbed from the embarrassing electioneering of those who seek power. In Uganda, the politics themselves are violent. And while we don't yet know why Mr. Kato was killed, we can't so easily cleave the state violence proposed by Mr. Bahati from the very real fear experienced by gay Ugandans.

When leaders encourage people to kill homosexuals, most people do not respond with violence, but there will inevitably be those few who believe that killing gay people is the moral thing to do because a government official implied so. The same thing happens in Iraq. Islamic clerics issue fatwas condemning homosexuals, and a small number of individuals become convinced that killing gay people in their own families would not only be tolerated, but rewarded by God.

In many parts of the world there is a clear correlation between political or religious rhetoric and violence. It is always shocking to see people calling for the deaths of innocents.

No comments :