Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Radical Experiment in Empathy

In a wake of Osama's death. A renowned sociologist Sam Richards' timely talk on empathy is challenging you to get outside your skin and attempt to understand the other side.

Many of us still regard Mau Mau movements in fighting for Kenya's independence as heroics, but British viewed them as savaged terrorists. And they set operations to crush them, which was highly supported by majority of British people. When Nelson Mandela and ANC waged terrorist attacks against white South Africa, it was acceptable to a lot of black Africans but himself (Mandela) was viewed as a terrorists by scores of western nations. Malcolm X, infamously said that Black Americans need to speak the same language (of violence) as White Americans during the civil rights movements. And he is viewed as a role model and a hero to a lot of people in our societies.

But our standards of "acceptable violence" took different turn when judging how middle-easterners react to what they perceive as injustice against them. I'm not trying to defend terrorism, but terrorism itself is in relative to who? because Mau Mau weren't terrorist in our eyes--then maybe Hamas or Al-Qaeda aren't terrorists in Palestines' lens. Whenever a society perceive to be treated unfairly, her people will raise up, that is human nature. Social justice and social protection are the cheapest way to avoid violence. Politicians and policy makers ought get their empathy on, if the world will ever try to reduce the amount of violence that is so prevalent.

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