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Everybody A Victim


Every religion has been persecuted.  Some have been persecuted horribly on a huge scale, like the Jews.  Some have been persecuted for long periods, like the early Christians in the Holy Lands or, more recently, the 22 young men beheaded on a Libyan beach for being Christians.  Some persecutions have already receded in our Western memories, like the cruel multiple Crusades against Muslims.  But religions have long memories.  Persecutions are never forgotten.  The histories of Asia and Africa are little different — just different names for the persecutors and the victims.

Persecution is not limited to religions.  Tribal or ethnic persecution is also commonplace.  Remember the Balkans in 1991, when Serbs and Croats made killing each other a sport.  Remember the Rwanda massacres in 1994, when the Hutu tribe massacred not less than 500 thousand members of the Tutsi tribe.  The most deadly long-running tribal persecution has been the continuing conflict between the Sunni and Shiite tribes of Muslims.

Although often presented humorously, the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in the US was just persecution based on family names.  Persecution is easy — so easy, it can be almost humorous, unfortunately.

I attended an award ceremony last week, where the government employee receiving the award lamented the fact that government employees are disrespected (read:  victimized) by business workers, who believe government employees are pampered with expensive benefits, making business employees victims.  A lawyer whispered to me that nobody is more disrespected (read:  victimized) than lawyers.  (Lawyers are victims too??)

Is it ever good to be a victim?  A relative of mine believes there are only two types of people — the minority who need respect and the majority who need pity.  It is not that respect has to be won, while pity is reserved for the losers.  Instead, it is a question of whether persecution serves the purpose of delivering pity to the majority?

As long as “them vs. us” exists, persecution will continue.  I think existentialists are less likely to see the world in term of “them vs. us.”  Because we tend to see ourselves as individuals drifting anonymously through existence, we see it as “them vs. me”.  Persecution makes no sense in a world of existentialists, where all “them” are the same — regardless of religion, tribe, family, or occupation.  In a world of existentialists, there is nobody to persecute — only other drifting individuals.

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