Q10: How Can We Deal with the Dehumanizing Aspect in Ourselves?
10) In an interview that you gave in Auschwitz you said: âThere is a part of us that allows us to dehumanize people. Itâs an aspect of ourselves that we donât want to touch. Auschwitz is the world-monument of that aspect of ourselves.â How can we deal with this aspect in us so that it doesnât cause so much harm in the world?
The first way to deal with this aspect is to remember.Â âRe-memberingâ as the opposite of dismembering â putting back together whatâs been taken apart.Â After the 8th year of remembering victims, Heinz-JĂŒrgen Metzger, the coordinator of Peacemaker work in Europe said it was time to start remembering the perpetrators.Â Heinzâs uncle was castrated because he wouldnât do the work of the SS.Â Heinz didnât learn about this for 25 years because his family was disgraced because his uncle wouldnât comply.Â When Heinz proposed remembering the perpetrators, about half the participants were ready to leave.
I brought up the issue of remembering and honoring the perpetrators at a later retreat, which was very difficult.Â Honor means we site their name, like we do for those who died there.Â The goal was to change from just blaming and hating the perpetrators to get into what was going on- to change the mode.Â So we did a ceremony in guards tower, where each person honors a time when they were a perpetrator or someone was a perpetrator to them.Â Â How far can you go in this remembering?Â If this is one world, and the point is to re-member the whole world, where do you stop?Â Thatâs where your practice has to be. To go into the spaces of what the perpetrators went to and what happened after- many committed suicide.
Another way is to recognize who we exclude and invite them in.Â The most common way of dealing with outsiders to our club is to avoid them.Â At the worst, there is Auschwitz, war, lynching, imprisonment, gay bashing.
Iâm a Democrat.Â Iâve never voted Republican.Â I will talk with Republicans and invite them to my house.Â I canât get angry at people outside my club.Â I donât like their viewpoint, but Iâm not going to be angry at the guy for having it.Â In conflict resolution work, whatever faction you donât invite to the table, thatâs where the process will break down- Achilles Heel.
Take the red clownâs nose.Â Visualize it on the person you hate.Â Imagine Bush.Â You wonât hate him.Â Youâll say- Thatâs ridiculous!Â Heâs a clown.Â Weâre all clowns!
November 21, 2019