April 17, 2012
“This whole war on terror is a fraud. It’s a farce. It’s very difficult to say it out loud because people are intimidated against saying it, cause if you say it they want to make you into a nutcase. But the truth has to come out. That’s why I’m doing this interview. The fact of the matter happens to be that the whole war on terror is a fraud, is a farce.” – American filmmaker Aaron Russo, from “Reflections And Warnings – An Interview With Aaron Russo.”“The objection that there were no witches, but there were communists – I would only recommend that somebody who believes that or says that should go back to 1692, stand in the public square of Salem, Massachusetts, and say, ‘you know, there are no witches.’ He’d be dead. Quick.
There were witches. They were everywhere. Everybody knew that if you were a Christian. You knew there were witches because it said so in the bible. And Saul said, ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,’ meaning, you kill him. And they can’t kill them if there are none. I mean, it’s ridiculous. This whole thing is an ahistorical remark, it has nothing to do with the truth.
And I could develop a campaign tomorrow morning in this country, probably in a number of other countries, which would be based upon the idea that we are being invaded by weird, strange spirits from underground who have in their power certain number of people who are going to get you if you don’t watch out.” – American playwright Arthur Miller, from this interview in the early 1990s.
“Something is manifestly unfair about the practice of scapegoating, and some might feel that scapegoating itself qualifies as a moral vice. But the point of the present discussion is that the practice of scapegoating is built upon recognizing the symbolic value of an act of vice. We focus upon a single act of vice, and this act symbolizes other actions of vice by the same person or different persons and ultimately the unwanted outcome.” – Gregory F. Mellema. “The Expectations of Morality.” 2004. Rodopi: New York. Pg. 82.
“It is no weakness for the wisest man to learn when he is wrong.” – Greek dramatist Sophocles.“Do not believe in an absurdityno matter who says it.” – Persian poet Rumi.
The documentary is fascinating because it captures the irrationality of scapegoating. Once the fans realize the error that Bartman made, the lynch mob mentality took over. The blame game off the field became more interesting than the game on the field. What Bartman did had no psychological consequences on the Cubs players and the outcome of the game, but the mindless fans were angry at the defeat and he became the object of their hate.
In the grand scheme of life and history, this is a meaningless incident. And yet, it is full of meaning. It deserves scrutiny and commentary because of what it reveals about human nature, the cruel practice of scapegoating, and the quickening speed with which a lynch mob can hurl venomous words and death threats at an innocent person.
The 2008 film, “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” by Cyrus Nowrasteh, based on a book by Freidoune Sahebjam about Soraya Manutchehri, also captures the same theme of scapegoating and the dangerous pitfalls of lynch mob injustice. It is a story about how a husband turned a small village in Iran against his wife to get rid of her, and the Islamic authorities helped him in his sick and twisted endeavor. He accused her of adultery without evidence, and she was subsequently stoned to death by a lynch mob led by corrupt local government officials who justified the barbaric deed in the name of Islam.
Lynch mob psychology does not recognize time, place, tradition, or law. It can take over a baseball stadium in the American Midwest in 2003, a small village in Iran in 1986, a small town in Massachusetts in 1692, an entire country in Europe in 1933, or an entire civilization in 2001. It is usually used by official authorities, whether political or religious, to pursue their own barbaric and evil goals.
Scapegoating is also primitive, irrational, and stupid. And it is an evil that has remained with us in the 21st century. It is used as a political strategy by the authorities in so-called democratic countries as well as in totalitarian countries. The religious practice of scapegoating, as the French philosopher and literary critic René Girard describes it, is not limited to a particular country, civilization, or system of government.
“The practice of scapegoating is as old as civilisation itself,” writes Jabir Sukar, “and remains an all-too common practice in modern societies, democracies and otherwise.” Scapegoating degrades the character of a society. It destroys humanity.
Whether the context is baseball or war, whether the country is America or Iran, the twin evils of lynch mob psychology and scapegoating have the potential to destroy the humanity of a human community. If both of these psychological and social phenomena are allowed to be utilized by thugs in power for their own political benefit, then they can do anything they want and kill anybody they want.
In a society where scapegoating and lynch mob justice replace the rule of law and dialogue, then anyone who criticizes the government can be turned into a guilty threat and killed. All the government has to do is accuse its innocent victims of being terrorists, and people will accept their murder as legitimate.
Conscious citizens must demand that governments worldwide stop exploiting lynch mob psychology to advance corrupt political agendas. We all remember how the tragedy of 9/11 was exploited by the Bush and Blair administrations, the Israeli government, as well as other governments. America and Israel gained the world’s sympathy after the brutal attacks. This video, “The Day The World Stood Still For America On 9/11,” that was posted on YouTube on September 11, 2001, by 911archives, is a reminder of how sympathetic the whole world was to America. America had the love of all of humanity.
But, after eleven years of fighting criminal and unwinnable wars, America has won nothing but the hatred of all of humanity. It has destroyed the moral values of humanity and the democratic values of Western civilization in the name of bringing an end to the terror that it itself created.
As a civilization and as a world, we must revisit the 9/11 attacks, and do what was not done the first time: ask questions, and tell the media to go to hell. 9/11 must become the ultimate teaching moment.
Saman Mohammadi is the writer and editor at The Excavator Blog
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 7:11 am