Carla Drift – Behaviour 1


The recovery of my tropical disease took a long time. I noticed with my body that a European was not created for the tropics. I received good medical care and the residual effects of the disease disappeared after a recovery of many, many months.

These months I used to write my report of my first study trip. In the second part of this report, I described my findings about the influence of individual behaviour of offenders, rulers and opinion leaders on genocide [1].

Sreaming drill sergeant [2]

To date, genocide was never committed by an individual. An individual had not been capable to do so. This will change in the future, because the weapons of mass destruction [3] have acquired an apocalyptic destruction and operation of these weapons can take place by an individual or a small group of people operating together. Several films already give a forecast of this possibility [4].

Hiroshima Nakajima area [5]

Hiroshima Nakajima area in ruins [6]

In Central Africa few heavy weapons are present. A good deployable air force is lacking. The few available tanks are poorly maintained and there is a lack of personnel for operating this weaponry. Usually these weapons have only a symbolic value for enhancing the status of the owner/ruler.

On the other hand, there are many automatic rifles and machine guns available in this area. These weapons can afflict great slaughter among the local people when used by a limited group of soldiers, by revolutionaries, by armed gangs and by raiders. A larger group can also afflict genocide with hand weapons such as machetes.

Based on my findings I concluded in my report that in Central Africa sufficient resources – small arms, light and medium automatic rifles and machine guns – were present for a genocide. These weapons were delivered by several rich nations to perpetuate or enhance their position by supporting local groups. These weapons raise – just like the possession of spears in the past – the respect of a warrior/soldier. In reality, these weapons are usually used for deterrence or threat against opponents.

The first providers of the light and medium automatic rifles and machine guns are often countries outside Africa who want to enhance or perpetuate their influence in the politics. The first recipients are often local leaders or groups who distribute the weapons to settle or defend their influence. The individual receivers are often young men who want to establish their position within the group as a warrior or soldier: the need to receive respect in the pyramid of Maslow [7]. This respect gives next to a position in the group also opportunities for female partner choice and eventually self-respect. Sometimes older men want to defend their interests: the need to safety in the Maslow’s pyramid.

Individual people are or become part of a group. Through initiation rites [8] they are accepted in a group. Warriors often may carry a weapon after their initiation rites – they become part of their warriors group or army. The group gives the individual an identity and the mutual relationships between the individuals give a group/army an identity and a culture. In peacetime, groups of warriors should be kept busy. Traditional activities for groups of warriors in peacetime are: maintenance of equipment and skills, hunting and conquests far away from home.

Congolese soldiers with automatic weapons [9]

Most of the time the people of Central Africa coexist as good neighbours. They practise a comprehensive form of hospitality that exceeds the habits in Netherlands. People take their time to have mutual contact. For most people the material prosperity is rather low. Much attention is given to clothing, appearance and eating; other forms of prosperity are scarce. Just like in many societies and large corporations, the top layer of the society usurps the most of the limited material prosperity. This top layer has control over the distribution of food and prosperity over the entire group. If the groups are in balance internally and externally, then there still is a great inequality within and between groups, but possible tensions are dampened or smothered in many ways. Everything and everyone lives together in a more or less pleasant way.

Ashanti Yam Ceremony 1812 [10]

Literature and the findings during my research show that during internal conflicts and in conflicts between tribes, neighbours perceive each other in a radically different way. Within a fraction of a second, people distinguish between foreigners and members of their own group. When tensions arise, the own good qualities are exaggerated and the own bad characteristics are overlooked. In strangers, the bad qualities are seen a characteristic for the group and the good characteristics are neglected. The group pressure is often so great that the opinions are compulsorily imposed to the group members – otherwise forms of exclusion will follow [11].

In one of his works [12] Jean Paul Sartre described how an individual/stranger is robbed from her/his innocence and freedom of action by two mechanisms. By the mechanism of the “bad faith”, group members will reduce a stranger to an object with a very limited number of qualities – the stranger is robbed from all her/his other qualities. In line with the “bad faith”, Jean Paul Sartre describes the theory of “look” – Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen called this the “look of hate” [13]. The actions of a stranger are captured in a stigmatising look. Hereby the stranger is deprived from her/his ability to change and from his humanity; she/he is reduced to a thing.

 
[1] See for genocide: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide en http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide
[2] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Drill_sergeant_screams.jpg
[3] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernwapen en http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon
[4] E.g.: Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick – see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Strangelove
[5] Source image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HiroshimaNakajimaArea.jpg.
[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HiroshimaNakajimaAreaInRuins.jpg
[7] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs
[8] See brief overview in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initiation
[9] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War
[10] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam_(vegetable)
[11] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
[12] Sartre, Jean-Paul, Being and Nothingness. New York: Washington square press: 1977 – See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Being_and_Nothingness
[13] Luijpen, W., Nieuwe inleiding tot de existentiële fenomenologie. Utrecht: Het Spectrum, 1976 p. 284 – 285

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