Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sometimes in April

I watched a really good movie today called "Sometimes in April" about the Rwanda massacre. You should rent it if you can. What a slaughter. Surprisingly, there was little liberal BS in it. The only 'good' people in the movie were the Christians. Christians who sheltered the Tutsi, Christian school girls who all chose death rather than betray their Tutsi counterparts. It was a beautiful movie.

After watching it, I wondered who was the greatest murderer in the 20th Century, based on killing people at the highest speed. Turns out it was Stalin who killed 7 million in the Ukraine by forced starvation in 1933. Rwanda was in second place killing 800,000 in 3 months. In a way, Rwanda seems worse though because every day ordinary citizens turned into blood-thirsty murderers overnight.


The Merry Widow said...

The best of Christ and the worst of humanity...speaks volumes.
Also shows how much satan really hates us, to try and kill as many as possible, usually as nastily as possible!
Sounds like a good movie!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


Eyes said...

Good morning tmw! Yep.

Brooke said...

I'll have to put it on my list.

Anonymous said...

It's always easier for half-way civilized people to "passively" slaughter millions than to actively hack them to pieces, one by one. Of course, the closer you get to living hand to mouth, the easier it becomes to perform the either.

Eyes said...

Yes, and that's the great mystery for me. How could they actually do that - so many do it. I would become a vegitarian if I had to go to the slaughter house and kill my own meat. Just couldn't do it. It would be beans and rice for me! On the other hand I wouldn't hesitate to kill someone who was attacking me - and am 100% pro-death penalty.

Eyes said...

They said at the end of the movie that only 20 people had been found guilty of any crime - and none were in prison. It was like the whole country became sociopaths almost overnight!

Always On Watch said...

I've never heard of that film. I'll check at my local video store.

The bloodshed in Rwanda was horrific!

As I understand it, the civil war was both racial (ethnic) and political in origin.

And, yes, it does appear that ordinary citizens turned into blood-thirsty murderers overnight.

The power struggle in Rwanda was worse that many such struggles. Even children took up arms! And parents sold their children as soldiers, too.

Eyes said...

Hi AOW, Terrible. Everyone in that country must have suffered PTSS.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid it's a "culture thing", eyes...

Plato, "Statesman"

YOUNG SOCRATES: What was the error of which, as you say, we were guilty in our recent division?

STRANGER: The error was just as if some one who wanted to divide the human race, were to divide them after the fashion which prevails in this part of the world; here they cut off the Hellenes as one species, and all the other species of mankind, which are innumerable, and have no ties or common language, they include under the single name of 'barbarians,' and because they have one name they are supposed to be of one species also. Or suppose that in dividing numbers you were to cut off ten thousand from all the rest, and make of it one species, comprehending the rest under another separate name, you might say that here too was a single class, because you had given it a single name. Whereas you would make a much better and more equal and logical classification of numbers, if you divided them into odd and even; or of the human species, if you divided them into male and female; and only separated off Lydians or Phrygians, or any other tribe, and arrayed them against the rest of the world, when you could no longer make a division into parts which were also classes.

One of the greatest psychological and cultural epiphanies I ever got came from reading Freud's "Civilization and its' Discontents." The epiphany resulted from my finally mentally thinking through and accepting the conclusion that not all human beings, nor members of any particular culture/society, were entirely "civilized" (which forced me to come to grips with precisely what that term "civilized" meant and the truth behind the post-modern charge of bias commonly labelled "Euro-centrism").

Now Plato had always divided men, as well as other gregarious herd/pack-like animals, into the categories "tame" and "wild" and I had never before quite understood "why" he felt it necessary to do so.

STRANGER: You remember how that part of the art of knowledge which was concerned with command, had to do with the rearing of living creatures,--I mean, with animals in herds?


STRANGER: In that case, there was already implied a division of all animals into tame and wild; those whose nature can be tamed are called tame, and those which cannot be tamed are called wild.


STRANGER: And the political science of which we are in search, is and ever was concerned with tame animals, and is also confined to gregarious animals.

And Nietzsche best described for me the "process" by which wild men were "transformed" into "tamed" ones, as one of "culture" performed in reaction to the "blond beast" (alpha male/female if you like).

For it is not until man is "tamed" (or a horse is "broken") that internal mental barriers are erected such that one's conscience (existing to the degree which an animal has been tamed) can no longer contemplate genocide without suffering the ill-effect of mental side effects such as one would describe as coming from PTSD (For to my mind, PTSD is the "source" of the "civilized" man's disease, seen manifest in extreme cases as requiring no external "trauma" for source, for the patient suffers a self-induced "nervous breakdown" or manifests symptoms of a similar neurosis).

It was shortly after this "epiphany" where I was forced to conclude that "not all cultures were created equal" and that those cultures which severly punished, prevented and/or took off the table an "automatic" use-of-force-from-superiority reaction to injury were, in fact, the most human/ humane. And that this is what made western culture superior to all the rest.... as we tended to "criminalize" both minor inapproriate and major excessive uses of force as the primary source for morally condemning uncivilized behavior.

Needless to say, not all so-called "civilizations" do this, and this "womanly" need to talk out our inter-personal social grievances was one of the factors which lead us to the political development of democracy.

And whereas the Rwandan's seem at present more interested in community/herd "reconciliation" than eye-for-eye "justice", I doubt that the national reaction to this slaughter has done much to "civilize" them, as any reconcilation which omitted a strengthening of their "punitive system of justice" (the system which binds the Tutsi and Hutu's together in a common constitution) seems rather hallow and divisive. In fact, I am sure that "vengeance" lies just around the corner... when the balance of power shift's once more from one tribe, to the other.

But then, perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the "memory" of an uncivilized man is not nearly so long as one who has long been forced to have become "civilized".

Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals"

We Germans certainly do not think of ourselves as a particularly cruel and hard-hearted people, even less as particularly careless people who live only in the present. But have a look at our old penal code in order to understand how much trouble it took on this earth to breed a "People of Thinkers" (by that I mean the peoples of Europe, among whom today we still find a maximum of trust, seriousness, tastelessness, and practicality, and who, with these characteristics, have a right to breed all sorts of European mandarins). These Germans have used terrible means to make themselves a memory in order to attain mastery over their vulgar and brutally crude basic instincts. Think of the old German punishments, for example, stoning (the legend even lets the mill stone fall on the head of the guilty person), breaking on the wheel (the unique invention and specialty of the German genius in the area of punishment!), impaling on a stake, ripping people apart or stamping them to death with horses ("quartering"), boiling the criminal in oil or wine (still done in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), the well-loved practice of flaying ("cutting flesh off in strips"), carving flesh out of the chest, along with, of course, covering the offender with honey and leaving him to the flies in the burning sun.

With the help of such images and procedures people finally retained five or six "I will not’s" in their memory, and so far as these precepts were concerned they gave their word in order to live with the advantages of society—and that was that! With the assistance of this sort of memory people finally came to "reason"! Ah, reason, seriousness, mastery over emotions, the whole gloomy business called reflection, all these privileges and ceremonies of human beings—how expensive they were! How much blood and horror is the basis for all "good things"! . . .

Anonymous said...

Their PTSS has unfortunately been mentally sublimated into a "mistrust" of their opposing (Hutu-Tutsi) tribesman instead of a fear of their national "justice" system. In this sense, the likelihood of a future national "division" and "conflict" is much more likely than any 'true' reconciliation under a unified national government.

Anonymous said...

IMO the "reconcilation" between Shi'a and Sunni in Iraq may be made much easier by the fact that there are "third" parties involved in the government who can mediate AND the fact that the perpetrators of the terror attacks are in an overall 5-1 minority of the general population.

Eyes said...

Whew! Long and intelligent comment FJ! Since the Tutsi were the minority (10%)they are unfortunately not in a position to demand justice. And of course the "can't we all be friends" UN thinks that their reconcilation project is the answer. If I was a Tutsi, I'd be looking for the nearest 'exit' sign.

Anonymous said...

Sorry... sometimes I get carried away and post AND organize a new argument at the same time... ;-)

Eyes said...

:>D Always a pleasure reading a well framed argument! It's also interesting to see what changes the way people think... what light bulb goes on - when and why.

The Merry Widow said...

FJ-I respectfully disagree on the womanly discourse, Kipling put it thus;

The Female of the Species
Rudyard Kipling

1 When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
2 He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
3 But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
4 For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

5 When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
6 He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
7 But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
8 For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

9 When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
10 They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
11 'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
12 For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

13 Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
14 For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
15 But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale --
16 The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

17 Man, a bear in most relations -- worm and savage otherwise, --
18 Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
19 Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
20 To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

21 Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
22 To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
23 Mirth obscene diverts his anger --- Doubt and Pity oft perplex
24 Him in dealing with an issue -- to the scandal of The Sex!

25 But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
26 Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
27 And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
28 The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

29 She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
30 May not deal in doubt or pity -- must not swerve for fact or jest.
31 These be purely male diversions -- not in these her honour dwells.
32 She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

33 She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
34 As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
35 And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unchained to claim
36 Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

37 She is wedded to convictions -- in default of grosser ties;
38 Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! --
39 He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
40 Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

41 Unprovoked and awful charges -- even so the she-bear fights,
42 Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons -- even so the cobra bites,
43 Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
44 And the victim writhes in anguish -- like the Jesuit with the squaw!

45 So it cames that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
46 With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
47 Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
48 To some God of Abstract Justice -- which no woman understands.

49 And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
50 Must command but may not govern -- shall enthral but not enslave him.
51 And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
52 That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

Though there is petty, feminized nattering, there is also logical and straight masculine(which is obviously backed up by a very large stick!)

Eyes said...

HA that's great TMW!

Anonymous said...

LOL! That was priceless, tmw!

...but who ever said that 'women' could be 'civilized'?

Anonymous said...


Eyes said...

FJ!!! Tsk tsk!

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