Genocide is grounded on fanatical ideologies and assumed superiority
Stabroek News
November 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

The genocide of the native tribes of the New World by the European explorers, the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks, the African Holocaust, the ineffable extermination of the Hindus by the brutish Islamic invasion of India, the massacres of Stalinism, the gassing of the Jewish people by the Nazis and now the incineration of Sept 11 are all linked in that their motives have evolved from a similar ideological framework.

Each of the genocidal movements was grounded upon a moral and social construct that assumed self-superiority. An inherent conviction of self-supremacy that empowered its subjects with unflinching fervor to pursue conquest and dominion, thereby obliterating all obstacles in its sublime path. During the reign of the Conquistadors in the New World, the Native American Indians were seen as "grotesque and retrograde", the Turks saw the Armenians as "inherently demonic", during the African Holocaust the Blacks were viewed as "savages and brutes", the Islamic invasion into India saw its subjects of conquest as "idolaters and infidels", Stalin saw his victims as "insignificant heretics", Hitler saw the Jews as "Untermenschen" (lesser than Humans) and Osama Bin Laden saw the towers of the World Trade Center as "the epitome of infidelity and westoxification".

Civilizations are built upon the philosophies sanctioned. Behavioural patterns are nurtured by the values and norms that have been allowed to permeate the thought processes. Ideology stimulates reasoning and thought and hence thought ineluctably materializes into behaviour. The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle wrote " states of character emerge out of like thoughts". Ideologies that propound the apprehension of truth and reality from the perspective of exclusivism and totalitarian fundamentalism in effect establish an unchallengeable orthodoxy where its adherents are galvanized in its fetishism and are compelled to exhibit aggression against the world outside its prison. Human hate is not natural but is a product of thinking and thought inevitably is traced to ideology. Thus, history is not the result of chance. We cannot say that anything could have happened at any time. We may not know all the antecedent circumstances, but we hold that effects have causes and ideals and the human mind is the most pivotal among them. Human history is swamped and drenched with blood from the atrocities of man, but when we deeply ask ourselves why, it is not because we are intrinsically demonic and sadistic but because our faculty of reason has been poisoned by the malice of a menacing self- righteousness. This disease is spread by the uncritical consumption of a propagandist, fanatical narcissism that hides under the cloak of some sacred doctrine. Fundamentalist ideologies are theologies of hate because they systematically espouse an attitude of peripheralization towards the world's inherence of variety and seek to decrease it to the banality of its ideological monochromaticism.

The inexorability of this philistinism that claims possession of finality and absoluteness exposes its inextricable entanglement in psychological deficiency and intellectual vacuity. History has shown and this contemporary dispensation is confirming that to seek to planetize any paradigm of thought and the subsequent undermining of all other schools of thought can only be equivalent to violence and intolerance that will sooner or later explicitly manifest itself. The Indian Nobel prize writer Rabindra Nauth Tagore writes, " Limitedness knows nothing but itself, it is a void that will however destroy everything including itself".

Self-righteousness, is perhaps the greatest and most intractable prevarication of truth and definitely the most destructive opiate of world understanding and peace. All self-righteousness, the world should understand, germinates from the stench of exclusivist ideologies.

Philosophies according to the study of hermeneutics are constructed on the capacity to methodologically and analytically interpret the phenomenon of truth, hence given the variance in the methodology and analytical capability among civilizations to interpret and rationalize, variance in philosophies is preordained. This phenomenon should be acknowledged and encouraged in worshipping the richness of our philosophical diversity. Conflict and competition between philosophies results from exclusivist propensities and invariably leads to conflict among civilizations that ultimately explodes in war and genocide. The Indian philosopher Vivekananda in very simple but pungent words captured what is needed: "Difference is the sauce of life, it is the beauty, it is the essence of everything. Difference makes all beautiful here, it is a variety that is the source of life, the sign of life, why should we be afraid of it".

Peace on Earth, that fragile desert plant, will always remain a chimerical oasis, until the bushes of exclusivist/ fundamentalist thinking that obscures the glistenism of truth is weeded from the processes of our thought. Exclusivism will never be able to escape its depraved and fanatical nature.

Yours faithfully,

Amar Panday