The Hell Report

Humans are social animals. We love to get together and we like to associate with the others. But sleeping lightly in our nature lies the ability to hate other men, people who are “not from us”. This beast can be awakened by sequences of banal and seemingly innocent situations which gradually de-humanize The Other. History shows us that such spiral of hate can lead to atrocities beyond imagination. And the worst news? It can happen anytime. This map shows how. The 9 level structure of hell on the graph has been inspired by Danteʼs Divine Comedy.

It always starts the same. Someone steps on someoneʼs toes. Claims for territory or raw materials are heating up human relationships. “For example, an acute shortage of arable land and fresh water seems to have been a significant factor in several conflicts, including those in Chiapas, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. The arable land and fresh be developing other areas of a significant factor in For example, an acute shortage ofsame conditions appear to water seemsinto have beenscarcity;” says professor Michael T. Klare, the author of Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict. “It is all about the resources,” claim several conflicts, including those in Chiapas, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. The same conditions appear to beis the most the ideologists of modern Russia. They say that protection of Russiaʼs natural resources developing in other areas of scarcity. part of the “national revival strategy”. important

Jokes are innocent, right? But rising number of anecdotes about The Other often signals about tensions between nations, religions or classes. Funny strereotypes lead softly towards the de-humanisation of groups of people. So, jokes can be the first warning signal that something is wrong. Still, sometimes jokes may ease the confrontation and do not have to lead any further problems immediately. A typical one: “How do you get 100 jews into a car? Throw a quarter in it.”

It can be funny to read that “Hell is where the lovers are Swiss, the innkeepers are French, the cooks are English, the mechanics are Italian, and policemen are German...” but ethinc or racial prejudice and stereotypes can also take much serious form where The Other is seen as “lazy”, “dirty”, “unintelligent” and so on. It is also common for a human to see the habits of communities of “the other” as weird and clumsy, this can become an excuse for disrespect and conflicts.

Conflicting interests. Claims for the same resource - land, natural resources, property...

Making fun. Jokes and anecdotes about The Other.

Ideologies that claim your religion, nation or class to be better than the others, are dead dangerous. Why? Because they give an excuse for not thinking with your own head and thus make you blind. Such arrogant concepts can also produce inspiration for similar counterideologies. For example, Nazism in Germany justified itselt as a counterforce against the “Bolchevist-Jewish” plot to take over the world. It is also good to be skeptical of “new findings” about the “great past” of a nation and stories behind any pompous monuments. Insulting names are invented or old names get new bad meanings, such as “negro” for blacks or “žyd” for the Jew in Russia, “tibla” for a Russian in Estonia etc. With this mechanism, people will be labeled and made “less human”. Some violence may appear. One of the recent examples is the deportation of people with Georgian names from Russia in 2007. The historic extremes of the similar process could be seen in Nazi Germany that required Jews to wear a yellow star and homosexuals a pink triangle. Now it is bad. Many have two options left: fight for humanity or flee. The Other is compared to an animal, non-human, cockroach or a dog, sometimes by the media as was the case in Rwanda. This will mean that human laws do not apply to The Other. In US recently a milder, but similar dehumanization strategy was introduced by bureaucratic terms “enemy combatant” and “terrorist”. Dehumanization strategy works the other way too - use of distinct labels, armbands, tattoos and uniforms will give people the machine-like feeling, so that they do not have to bother with personal responsibility any more when they clash with The Other. Violence against The Other becomes natural for some people, because they no longer have moral problem to be agressive. Their neighbours remain indifferent, for the same reason. This can also be the point of no return, since once blood is shed, a viscious cycle of revenge starts that is not stopped easily. It can be the bridge burning point for the violent as well, because from now on they can not easily admit that they have made any mistakes, it would destroy them morally. It has even happened that people who have been deported have been told that it is “for their own protection!” as was the case with a Lithuanian intellectual Balys Sruoga under the Nazi occupation. The main idea of this stage is to put the victims “conveniently away”. The US government after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has reportedly been using similar tactics within CIA “secret prisons”. Millions have died. “...whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been” (Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: Report on the Banality of Evil).


Stereotyping. Prejudice against the other.

Normally we stay on first three Ideology. An ideology appears levels. It is a bit like an entrance room. It takes events to push us to lower hell. that claims some groups to be superior to others. Events that are highly symbolic. In worst cases Polarization. Groups will not talk normally it means unjust death(s).
any more. The “other” will be labeled.

Some famous triggers in modern history: The assassination of the Austrian crown prince Franz Ferdinand in 1914 that ignited the World War I, shooting down the presidential plane in Rwanda in 1994, sparking the bloodbath of the century and 9/11 in USA.

Final dehumanization. The Other will be described as non-human.

Sometimes a less deadly, but highly symbolic event can lead to the descent to the next level as well, like the cartoon depicting prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005. It created considerable tensions between the Arabic and European value systems. Sometimes a trigger can be socially engineered by politicians who see it as a vehicle for gathering easy votes.

Violence. Blood on the streets.

Deportation. The Others will be deprived of rights and put away,

Normally it is possible to crawl back to the previous level of the hell, but there are certain points of almost no return. Coming back from there may be only possible in the course of many human generations. On the picture: Franz Ferdinand
Distant Signals, 2008

“The final solution”

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