Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No More Us vs. Them

Today, September 11, is another horrific reminder of division and the horror that ensues when somehow division is created. Today, I visited Srebrenica, which on July 11, 1995, saw the start of a genocide that would kill ca. 8500 people, mostly men and children. Srebrenica happened because some people felt that “them” – Bosnian Muslims – were somehow inferior and should be eradicated if at all possible. Alas, that same attitude was also apparent on the walls of the Dutch UN peace troops on the outskirts of the town, where graffiti reveals how the soldiers looked upon the people they were to protect – but failed. The end result was the worst genocide since the Second World War – and the perpetrators of the genocide are currently on trial in – ironically – The Hague.
Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladić took Srebrenica on July 10, proclaiming a perceived wrong – which happened seven centuries before – had been righted. He saw the Bosnian Muslims as something that had to be eradicated, as they were less than human. In the following days, he created something which the tribunal that indicted him for war crimes described as “truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history." Mladic is but one of numerous examples in which Mankind has created a duality of us v. them, which we have seen in the horrors of the Second World War, the many religious wars fought and being fought across the world, the Conquest of the New World and so many other scenes of Mankind’s Past.
We do “Us Vs. Them” all the time. We even find delight in it, especially during the recent Olympic Games, which has become transferred into a battlefield of nations winning medals, rather than individual athlete’s victories. Every politician running for office highlights how different he or she is versus the other person running. We are all individuals and should cherish our own uniqueness – but in a positive manner. No-one or no group or nation should define their identity by being anti-whatever or underlining what sets them apart from others. Us vs. Them is the true cause of hatred and horror that stops Mankind or humanity from living up to its name.

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