Look anywhere in the world and you see racial and group strife. Millions being tortured, maimed, killed. But why? What is the underlying reason for a world filled with hate and killing?
I HATE YOU," is a powerful statement. It brings tears, sorrow, and disillusionment. It can also cause more hate, torture and all-out war. Today, an "I-hate-you" attitude grips this earth. The hate is social, political, religious, cultural and linguistic. It forces groups to TAKE SIDES against each other. War — either local or international — is the usual result.
Our Mad, Mad, Mad World
But have you ever stopped to wonder WHY this world is filled with hate, killing and war? Why can't people get along? Why must skin color, religion, language, tribal affiliation, political ideology, personality differences create a barrier between two human beings? The result of this hard-nosed hatred between groups and individuals is reflected in the strange, entangling alliances we see in this world. The Soviet Union was our ally by circumstances during World War I, became an enemy between the wars, changed to an ally during World War II, now is considered by many to be our greatest military enemy. On the other hand, two former enemies — Japan and Germany — are our allies. That is, except East Germany which finds herself allied with the Soviet Union and, therefore, against the United States. In Asia, Chinese Communists oppose Chinese Nationalists living on the island of Formosa. During World War II Germans and French — many of the same religion — fought each other. Meanwhile, Vichy French were against Free French. Both the Soviet Union and Mainland China have the same political ideology — Communism. Yet, border disputes and general animosities periodically flare up between them. In the Nigerian civil war, BLACK Ibo tribesman fought BLACK Hausa tribesman. Sometime before, black Congolese hired white mercenaries to fight other black Congolese. Why? Why all this confusion? Why this hatred for other human beings? The reason is, in unexpected ways, quite simple. It has to do with the phenomenon called "group instinct." It often manifests itself in what has become an explosive four-letter word: R-A-C-E. Not color, but race. Color is merely one aspect of race. "Race" or "Group Instinct" involves many interrelated factors. These include birth, historical association, language, culture, political ideology, color, physiognomy, religion, economics — and many other factors.
Origin of Group or Race Hatred
But why must groups of people hate each other? Is group or race hatred inborn? Actually, it is not. It is acquired or learned behavior. That is the definite conclusion of sociologist E. Franklin Frazier: "... studies of children have revealed that race prejudice is ACQUIRED BEHAVIOR" (Race and Culture Contacts in the Modern World, Boston, Beacon Press, 1957, page 275). Recently, two sociologist/psychologists, Gustav Johada and Henri Tajfel, stated that they found the first thing most children learn about people of other nations is to DISLIKE them in some way. Their declaration was presented to the 127th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. It was based on a survey of Austrian, Belgian, Greek, Dutch and British children, ages 6 to 8. The Johada-Tajfel conclusion was, "Emotional attitudes toward various foreign countries are, as it were, built into children before they have assimilated even the most elementary factual information about them." This built-in emotional attitude often leads to conflict on an internal or international scale. Of all the explosive factors capable of igniting strife and war, "Color and race," said John Franklin, chairman of the Department of History at the University of Chicago, "are at once among the most important and most enigmatic" (Color and Race, edited by John H. Franklin, Boston, Houghton-Miffiin, 1968, page vii). Racial strife, of course, is not limited to white and black as some Americans may think. For example, during the week of the 1965 Los Angeles black-white riot, brown men and yellow men were also slugging it out in Malaysia. And at that same time brown men and black men were slaughtering each other in the Sudan. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Africa, black men killed other black men.
Beyond Skin Color
"Color" as men define it, however, is capable of causing immediate reactions in some humans. Of all the racial characteristics that peg men, "skin color is the most glandular," says MIT Political Science professor Harold Isaacs (ibid. page 75). Skin color immediately marks the identity of a man's group. But it is not the skin which is at fault. "Color is neutral," says Roger Bastide, professor of Sciences Humaines at the Sorbonne, "it is the MIND that gives it meaning" (ibid. page 34). Blind people who have recognized the race of persons by their smell, skin texture, voice — immediately reveal their ATTITUDE toward the person being recognized. The point being there is no biological reason for color to incite hatred. The dislike stems from attitudes concerning skin color which were funneled into the minds of the people involved. Skin color is merely the most easily observable characteristic of race. But there are others. Korean and Japanese people, who have about the same skin color, find other distinguishing characteristics to dislike about each other — physical, religious, educational, social, dietary, linguistic and cultural, to name a few. In Nigeria, the most pronounced characteristic between the Hausas and the Ibos was their education, industriousness — and tribal affiliation. During World War II Germans used political and group affiliations as a mark to pick out Jews and Gypsies. America and Britain also have their "race" problems. However, neither Briton nor American has yet experienced RACE WAR to the degree that other nations in our times have. But we would be naive to think Britain and America are immune from guerrilla race war. It would do us ALL good in America and Britain — white, black, brown, red, yellow — to pause and ask: Must we TOO have our cities and towns filled with the blood of millions of human beings in a horrendous race war?
"The Dark Continent"
Whenever one discusses the problem of group conflict, he is immediately tempted to begin with Africa. Africa is cursed with a cancer called tribalism. It parallels the curse of self-centered nationalism among European states. This group-oriented tribalism lies at the root of the recent Nigerian civil war. Tribalism has also unleashed the potential of another group struggle in Kenya since the 1969 murder of Kenyan politician Tom Mboya. The past wars in Ethiopia, the Sudan, Tanzania, the Congo, Zambia, Uganda and others — almost all have their tribal component. A tribesman owes his first loyalty to fellow tribesmen, much as a citizen of a nation gives his allegiance to that nation. Members of one tribe often fear and hate another. The Western ideal of nationalism — itself a catalyst precipitating ethnic war — is broken down to a grass-roots tribal level for Africans. In Europe there may be twenty nations — tribes grown great — who explode periodically into national war. In Africa there are about 6,000 tribes. These range from a few thousand members to many millions in population. They compete for all the necessities of life. And today many of them compete for political power. The differences in tribes are matters of geography, culture, history, level of development, social organization, religion. At times the differences are physical — as in the case of the tall Hamitic Watusi and shorter Bantu Hutu. Infused into this constantly tense situation is the added historic memory of Arab enslavement of black men. Few realize that Arabs penetrated almost the entire east coast of Africa. They were in control over most of the northern part of Africa. Islam today is the religion of North Africa and perhaps a third of the black population of east Africa. Added to this is the legacy of the sometimes discriminatory and cruel "white man's burden" in Africa. While Europe, and especially Britain, held sway in Africa, the simmering coals of racial conflagration — against white, brown and black — were held down. But shortly after World War II, the monolithic pre-eminence of Europe began breaking down.
Continent in Chaos
Agitation for independence was the cry. In the late 1950's and 1960's, nation after nation in Africa was granted independence. Curiously with the departure of the white man's power, group and race war — against black, white and brown — increased. The following examples and statistics are NOT pleasant. But they graphically portray the curse of race and group hatred. These words are written in the hopes that those who read them may be able to impart their influence so that any further racial or group conflagration can be avoided. Consider a quick summary of some news events from January, 1964: *ZANZIBAR... Approximately 12,000 Arabs die in less than two weeks. *TANGANYIKA... Army mutinies, President Nyerere goes into hiding. *CONGO... State of emergency in Kwilu province, beginning of tragic civil war, hundreds of thousands killed. *UGANDA... Army mutinies. *RWANDA-BURUNDI... 10,000 Watusi killed in Rwanda, bringing total to about 100,000 dead. *ANGOLA... Portuguese drop napalm onto guerrillas in "rotten triangle." In a summary analysis for the book Africa Addio, author John Cohen added: "During the month of January, 1964, then, just about every country south of the Sudan and the Congo — more than half of the African continent, which alone is bigger than the USA, Communist China and India put together — was involved in mutiny, rebellion, civil war, or some other form of extreme violence or threatened violence" (p. 10). But tribal hatreds did not stop in 1964. They have continued. In 1966 it exploded with the full fury of tribal war in Nigeria.
Nigeria's Tribal War
Before the Eastern Region seceded from Nigeria in May, 1966, 30,000 Ibos had been massacred by other Nigerian tribes. The Ibos rebelled and set up their own state, Biafra. Then the stark tragedy of tribal war — some have called it genocide — began. Nigeria invaded Biafra to reunite the country. The death toll in Biafra started at an estimated 400 per day — and was to climb to a tragic 10,000 per day. This was the effect primarily of starvation. By the end of 1968, the estimate of deaths within unoccupied Biafra was put at three quarters of a million. Even the most conservative estimate of deaths was half a million. Others reported an estimated half a million dead in the Nigerian occupied area. The fighting continued throughout 1969, the war not ending until January, 1970. By the end of the war, one estimate put the death toll due to starvation at perhaps TWO MILLION.
Kikuyus, Killing and Kenya
Kenya is known as the nation of big-game hunting, movie scenes, safaris. But Kenya is also the home of racial strife. In 1952, the hunt was on. But wasn't for big game. The hunt was on for the Mau Mau. Before that strife ended, it was to cost 200 million dollars and result in the deaths of 13,000 black human beings. The Mau Mau consisted of embittered members of the Kikuyu tribe They were disenchanted with the white man for settling on land which the tribe formerly had used for grazing. Paradoxically, the Mau Mau were a product of the slums of Kenyan cities such as Nairobi and Githunguri. But soon the criminal toughs of Nairobi gained control of the relatively peaceful Kikuyus on the reserves. Disloyal Kilcuyus who refused the tribal oath were tortured and killed. For example, in the last 10 days of September 1952, the year that the Mau Mau terrorists began, 14 Kikuyus were murdered for informing the police. In early October a loyalist, Chief Waruhiu, was assassinated. The message came through loud and clear. The Kikuyus flocked to ceremonial centers to take the oath. Some oath sessions saw 800 initiates at a time brought in. As usual, in Africa black men suffered most at the hands of other black men. By the end of 1952 only six Europeans had been murdered. In the same period of time 135 Kikuyus and 37 other Africans were known to have been butchered by the Mau Mau. The turning point of Mau Mau "success" came on March 26, 1953. On this day more than 200 homes were wired closed in a town called Lari. Petrol was tossed on them and flaming torches created fiery infernos. Those who got out suffered incredible tortures. Stories of the massacre were many and terrible. One woman was held from behind while her child's throat was slowly sawed through. Another person had his body chopped in half. Later his blood was drunk. Pregnant women had their bellies split open. The next morning officials found charred bones across the plain. No one really knew how many died. The official estimate was 97. There is yet one final irony in all this. The black Mau Maus had NOT, in this case, murdered whites. The citizens of Lari were bladc, they were fellow Kikuyu tribesmen. It was this kind of butchery that turned away the vast majority of Kikuyus from the Mau Mau minority. Today, the Mau Mau are history.
Crisis in Kenya — NOW
But group troubles are NOT ancient history in Kenya. They are there now. In 1969, Tom Mboya, a black cabinet minister, was murdered. Suddenly Kenya was threatened with tribal explosion. Some thought it could parallel the intensity of hatred in Nigeria. Mboya came from the Luo tribe. Fellow Luos were positive he had been murdered by Kikuyu tribesmen. Luos began to unite in opposition, cursing Prime Minister Jomo Kenyata and his Kilcuyu tribesmen. Meanwhile, the Kikuyus also became frightened. They began taking oaths — the traditional Kikuyu way of achieving group unity — in the face of danger. To date Kenya has not blown apart. It is hoped that it will not.
The Hutu-Watusi Conflict
In Rwanda-Burundi beginning about 1959, Bantu Hutu tribesmen went on a rampage that caused the deaths of at least 50,000 Watusi. Some estimate the maximum figure might actually be 130,000. The most likely figure, others say, is between 80,000 and 100,000. The very tall Watusi had their eyes cut, then were bashed to death. Others had their legs hacked off by the Hutu, to "cut them down to size." Others were buried alive, burned, thrown into crocodile-infested waters with hands tied behind their backs or heads tied to knees. It was race war. But the distinguishing characteristics were not specifically color. They were length of leg, eating custom, tribal affiliation. The ultimate cause, of course, was the historical relationship between Hutu and Watusi. Watusi had once lorded it over the Hutu and as usual, "The Watusi system was based on an explicit belief in their own racial superiority" (Africa Addio, John Cohen, New York: Ballantine Books, 1966, p. 34).
Other African Hot Spots
In the Sudan, race war with religious overtones has taken the lives of 500,000, according to one estimate. The problem? The Sudan is dominated by nine million dark-skinned Arabs of the Nord who think of themselves as true Egyptians. The South's four million blacks feel discriminated against. They are sure that politicians in Khartoum care nothing about them. Next we skip to the island of Zanzibar. In 1964, blacks killed so many Arabs on Zanzibar Island that bodies were hauled away in truckloads to be buried in mass graves. The death toll has never been accurately pinpointed. Perhaps 3,000 died. In fact, much of the racial strife in East Africa is due to the many centuries of Arab abuse of their fellowmen — the blacks — especially during the slave trade. The motive for the massacre of Arabs on Zanzibar Island was vengeance. In Portuguese Angola, guerrilla war between Portuguese whites and guerrilla blacks is still on. As early as 1961, guerrilla leader Holden Roberto claimed that more than 1,000 Portuguese and 12,000 loyalist blacks had been killed. At the same time 25,000 "Angolan" blacks had been killed by Portuguese and loyalist blacks. Recently, it was reported in the news that Portuguese mercenaries had attacked Conakry, the capital of Guinea. Move into Asia, and you find that racial conflict rages there also.
India vs. Pakistan — Nations in Crisis
Perhaps the single most explosive problem in the Indian subcontinent lies in the seemingly irretractible religious differences between Moslem Pakistan and Hindu India. Educated classes in both nations are at wits end in trying to resolve this seemingly irreconcilable animosity. So violent was the disagreement between Moslem and Hindu that a partition of the Indian subcontinent into two nations, Pakistan and India, had to be effected in 1947. But to the shocked consternation of Indian and Pakistani leaders, partition did not prevent religious war. During the tragic days after partition, some estimate that ONE HALF MILLION PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES in rioting. Low and high estimates run from 300,000 to one million. Entire trainloads of refugees arrived in eerie silence, all of the occupants having been butchered by religious fanatics along the route. For India, religious rivalry has group overtones. Here "feelings of rivalry based on religious differences are described as 'communal' in India, since each religion is considered as a community" (India, A World in Transition, Beatrice Pitney Lamb, New York: Frederick Praeger, 1966, p. 127). Hindus and Moslems live apart. Each have distinctive social practices and their own consciousness of community. "Hindus frequently refer to the entire Moslem community by the term jati even as they refer to Untouchables and Tribals by the same term" (Color and Race, edited by John Franklin, p. 177). The term jati can refer to religious affiliation, subcastes, caste groups and castes. And the entire caste system of India has racial overtones.
The early Vedas record the repugnance of the Aryan invaders for the darker-skinned natives they found in India, the Dravidians. Dravidians were generally relegated to the laboring occupations. At an early date, religious worship became mixed up with this racial bias. "Each group had its own special duty and it became important to do the duty appropriate to one's own group rather than that of another group" (India, A Wodd in Transition, p. 137). Traditionally in India, birth into a group determines the person's relationship to others. The same goes for his religion. "A man is a Hindu not because of any particular religious belief, but because he was BORN a Hindu, continues to live within the Hindu social framework, and regards himself as generally committed to a Hindu way of life" (India — A World in Transition, Beatrice P. Lamb, p. 99). So it is. The fragmentation of Hindu society has historical and racial bias. There is a further irony in this situation. Moslem Pakistan is at odds with Hindu India. But East and West Pakistan also are embroiled in civil strife. The tension results from race, language, culture and economy. In East Pakistan the 70 million Moslems speak Bengali. In the west — separated by 1000 miles of Indian territory — are fifty million Urdu-speaking Moslems. East Pakistanis are especially riled at the concentration of power and authority in West Pakistan. Many feel that the two segments of Pakistan will split into two separate nations.
Racial Strife in Asia
Southeast Asia is also a hotbed of racial strife. Language is one problem. Indonesia has 300 ethnic groups who speak more than 250 languages and/or dialects. Filipinos, numbering 30 million, speak seventy languages and/or dialects between them. Asians as a whole speak more than 3000 languages and dialects. Tribal minorities are a problem. Montagnards in Vietnam occasionally resort to violence in protest. In Pakistan, marauding tribesmen put fear into the army. Half-civilized Nagas plague India with demands for "selfdetermination." In Japan, 600,000 Koreans are referred to as "senjin," the Nipponese equivalent of "nigger." Koreans have been commonly looked down upon because Japan ruled Korea for 35 years. Some sixteen million Chinese live outside China. Their prosperity, diligence — and often clannishness — arouses hostility. Formosans, themselves Chinese, dislike the Nationalist mainland refugees now living in Formosa. Mainland Chinese — consider themselves vastly superior to minority groups within their own borders — the Tibetans and Uighurs. Within mainland China are 50 different ethnic groups. These have come up as special targets for ill treatment. Moslems in Chinese provinces such as Kansu and Sinkiang have had their religious rites abolished. Vietnamese armies have harried Laotian citizens for centuries, and look down on Cambodia. In the Indo-China region, a saying goes: "If you see an Indian and a cobra, strangle the Indian first." Peasants on Java repeat the statement: "When you meet a snake and a slit-eye [Chinese], first kill the slit-eye, then the snake." After the attempted Communist coup failed in Indonesia, fanatical Moslems went on a "holy war" rampage to slaughter atheistic Communists. Of course, if the Communists had won, the reverse would have occurred. Witness North Vietnam when the Reds took over. "The best estimate is that between 300,000 and 500,000 people were butchered [within Indonesia] in the five months from October 1965 to February 1966" (South-East Asia in Turmoil, Brian Crozier, Baltimore : Penguin Books, 1968, p. 182).
Malays and Chinese in Conflict
Southeast Asia has certainly been a "meeting" place of different peoples — sometimes the meeting has been violent. But seldom has there occurred a mental "melting" of peoples. One example of how this meeting can explode in racial violence concerns the Federation of Malaysia. It had been touted as one of the world's most promising multiracial states. However, the federation exploded in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Malay mobs surged into Chinese areas burning, killing, looting. In retaliation, Chinese and Indians at times struck back at Malay villages. Firemen drew sniper fire as they attempted to douse flames — just as in Watts. The morgue was so crowded that bodies were put into plastic bags and hung on ceiling hooks. The reported toll was one hundred dead. Others put the toll several times higher. Most of the victims were Chinese. Since that time, Singapore, heavily Chinese, has become independent of the Federation of Malaysia. But resentments between some Malays and Chinese continue. Chinese on the mainland, of course, have believed for thousands of years that non-Chinese are barbarians. Communism has not changed this, but rather reinforced the idea that China is the Middle Kingdom. Virtually all non-Chinese are considered kttei-tze — ghosts or devils. They supposedly inhabit the nether world below China, the only home of civilized human beings. When the white man subjugated China, it began an antipathy that remains to our day. Said one observer, "No one can understand China unless he appreciates the hatred and bitterness of the intelligent Chinese for the businessman who treated him like a coolie in his own land." One oriental master, Lin Yutang, explained why China is so belligerent when he said: "When China succeeds in building her own tanks and guns and battleships, there will be no need to argue about equality."
Ethnic Strife in the Soviet Union and Europe
Even the Soviet Union has had to reckon with the Chinese Colossus. But the Soviets' problems are not limited to Asiatic Chinese. Negro students from Africa complain about racial antagonism in the Soviet Union and her East European satellites. In the past few years, more than 1,000 young Africans have quit universities in the Soviet bloc. Racial reasons are given in most cases. In Bulgaria, for example, Africans have been referred to as "black apes." The Soviet Union itself keeps many nationalities in tight control. Any ideas of independence by Ukrainians, Latvians, Uzbeks, for example, is considered treason. And anti-Semitism persists in the Soviet Union to this day. As we swing around to Western Europe, ethnic animosities are only too well burned into our consciousness. The Nazi Aryan Myth, a racial ideology, promulgated the idea that the white race, especially the Germanic branch of the Nordic sub-race, was superior. This was one ideological excuse, in World War II, for the murder of Jews, Gypsies and Slays. Today, the European Continent as a whole is relatively quiet — although ancient national animosities still simmer, waiting for a catalyst. However, racial and religious animosities do break out. As in the case of the Northern Ireland riots. In 1969 Britain was forced to intervene as Protestants and Catholics battled in Northern Ireland. Few of course realize that there is a distinct racial background to the rioting. There are two basically different, though related, stocks of people in the area. Each has adopted a different religion.
How Race Bias Must Be Solved
Throughout history, human beings of various groups simply have not been able or willing to get along with each other. But why? What causes ethnic, tribal, national and racial strife? Are we doomed to live in a world which cannot eradicate strife, torture, killing? The causes of such racial and group
strife and the needed solutions are rather self-evident. Here are some of them: If all the world had and practiced one religion, there would be no religious strife. If all the world had one supreme, all-wise government — a single political system — there would be no wars between nations espousing differing political ideologies. If the world had and spoke correctly one language, there would be no wars over how one talks. If the whole world shared the same cultural, social and educational heritage — there would be no conflict in these areas. If no nation had a military establishment, there would be no war machine to call upon to obliterate another nation. If the leaders of nations taught respect for OTHER peoples — instead of denouncing them — then the masses would not be hating each other. If all citizens of every group were taught to love their neighbor, there could be peace! Obviously we DO NOT have the conditions mentioned as the prerequisites for world peace. We have no universal language, no uniform cultural values, no one true religion practiced by all, no all-wise government. What then can be done?
A Matter of the Human Mind
Remember, it is the attitude of the human mind which is responsible for racial or ethnic animosity. So, first, it behooves every individual, of whatever ethnic group, that he NOT hate a member of another ethnic group. That, rather he learn to truly love his neighbor AS himself. Second, the very great importance of individual leaders is obvious. During the rioting between Moslems and Hindus in the subcontinent of India, when Gandhi was able to go to troubled areas, he CONVINCED opposing groups to settle their differences. Blood-shed was avoided. But all too often leaders HAVE DONE THE OPPOSITE. For example, politicians began many years ago to fan the flame of hatred in the Middle East. Today, these same leaders have been trapped by the frenzy of the uneducated masses. In order to stay alive politically, they are forced to continue their policy. Therefore, the leaders — on national and grass roots levels — must learn what is their responsibility in preventing racial and group strife. All this emphasizes the basic, underlying necessity of a change in the human heart. lt is a change too few people seek, or know how they can acquire. But either that change comes or we will witness continuing bloodshed around the world.