The Genesis and Psychotype of Brutal and Gruesome Peace Disruptors

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 8 Jan 2024

Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

This publication contains graphic visuals that may be disturbing to some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.  Parental guidance is recommended for minors.

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 “In the present malicious, toxic global environment, the future trees of humanity will grow to lead the future with further agony and no ecstasy; deformed tress will produce deformed fruits for generations to come, and monsters will breed monsters without fail, globally.” [1]

Main Photo: The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse: A modern day painting Depicting the Biblical End of Days, typified by Death, Famine, War and Conquest, by the Human Creation, based on a woodcut print from the Apocalypse of Albrecht Dürer (1497–1498)
Inset Right:  Albrecht Dürer: self-portrait at Age 26, housed at Prado Museum, Madrid
Inset Left: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, woodcut print from the Apocalypse of Albrecht Dürer (1497–1498), Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Demystifying the Developmental Odyssey of a “Peace Disruptor”

This publication, follows the series on the “Forgotten”,[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] which presents the “Peace Propagators” in antiquity and the present era. In sharp contrast, the current paper highlights the “Peace Disruptors” in the intricate, complex and often ponderous saga of human history, which, in the pursuit of peace, has always been a beacon, be it an elusive illumination, in guiding individuals in positions of power and societies toward unity, progress, and coexistence. Yet, paradoxically, the 21st century, which, technologically, is supposed to embody the pinnacle of civilisation of Homo sapiens sapiens[9], has witnessed the rise of miscreant individuals, who, in their quest for personal gains or ideological fulfilment, disrupt this delicate equilibrium, with unprecedented ferocity. These “Peace Disruptors”, often shadowy, eternally disgruntled figures, lurking on the fringes of society, challenge our understanding of conflict and its genesis.

 

Understanding the psychotype of such Peace Disruptors is not merely an academic exercise in Clinical Psychology, but a pressing necessity. It offers insights into the underlying motives, motivations, driving forces, psychological patterns, and socio-cultural influences that propel individuals toward acts of unbridled brutality and mega-chaos. By delving deep into the psyche of these disruptors, the author aims to unravel the complex web of factors, historical, psychological, and societal, all of which contribute to the genesis of a brutal and gruesome Peace Disruptor in the modern era.

 

This publication, which further expands on a previous paper[10], by the author, embarks on a rigorous exploration, shedding light on the dark corners and crevices of human behaviour, as well as probing the intricate dynamics which shape the Peace Disruptor’s path, to creating indescribable suffering, destruction and horridly brutal death of members of the civil society, in the process. Through meticulous analysis and critical examination, the author endeavours to construct a comprehensive profile, which illuminates the enigma of disruption and offers a nuanced perspective on the challenges confronting peace in the present era.  An era, which in the collective Abrahamic scriptures is classified as “Eschatology: End of Days”[11], while in Hinduism the period is called “Kalyug”[12], which in essence, is a period full of conflict, trials, tribulation, moral, ethical degradation, overarched by deviant transgressions, to the accompaniment of practice of anarchy, by the general citizenry.

 

How does a “Peace Disruptor”, with criminalised intent Develop in a Society?

The question often raise and it is a complex challenge, as to how does a bimodal behavioural pattern can co-exist in an unintoxicated individual, for illustrative purposes, like Josef Rudolf Mengele, who was a German Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and physician during World War II. Nicknamed the “Angel of Death”[13], who used to present sweets to Jewish children, while engaged in his “selection rounds” for “interesting research subjects” amongst the new arrivals at extermination camps, like Auschwitz and yet have the eyes of twin children removed and presented to him in a petri dish, later in the day, for his macabre eugenic research? What is driving such a fiendish delight in his neuronal circuitry? It is necessary to elucidate on this extremely devious behaviour of an “apparently normal, gentleman, as it is a cause for great consternation, as to how can an individual, who is superficially demonstrating “kindness and compassion,”, to the children, can exhibit such gruesome behaviour, subsequently, in having the selected children killed for his experimental research?  Is this a psychosis or just a temporary aberration, as one often observes in funeral directors and morticians, regularly handling cadavers, as their profession, on a daily basis? These are extremely disturbing, yet critical questions, in the author’s opinion, which he has been pondering about and is proposing a hypothesis of this monstrous psycho-transformation, which that individual has no remorse about his or her actions. The coexistence of outward “normalcy” with inner psychopathic cruelty, as exhibited in Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele, remains difficult for the average conscience to fathom or reconcile. A few hypotheses that may explain this paradox:

 

Firstly, the human capacity for dissociation and compartmentalization can lead to stark splits – where caring behaviours get cordoned psychologically from avenues of callous violence towards the dehumanized “other”. Groupthink conformity pressures also breed wilful blindness. However, in certain personalities like Mengele, neurological hardwiring defects in areas governing empathy, compassion, self-awareness may already be present since childhood, alongside overactivated aggression pathways. Their inherent affective imbalance leads them to subconsciously seek environments that normalize their deviance and a rapid transformation to an aberrant behavioural pattern, generating significant “Peace Disruption” within the operational boundaries of that individual.  This is significantly distinct from the temporary compressions of morality, which can materialise in extreme contexts, like wars, mobs and riotous gatherings. True psychopathy manifests more enduring neurocognitive deficiencies that gain expression under totalitarian regimes which actually applaud lack of emotional connection and unrestrained scientific curiosity devoid of ethical constraints.

In essence, it is appropriately observed that even baseline human nature harbours shadow tendencies requiring constant vigilance. However, uniquely and intrinsically malformed personalities and their intersection with cultures of cruelty can spawn especially monstrous manifestations that fulfil mutually dark purposes. The vigilance and light thus need to be extraordinary to restrain that perfect storm. The author hopes that this line of reasoning, offers some perspective, and invites readers to share any other thoughts. The stakes here are profoundly consequential.

The Flowchart illustrating the Psychological Transformation of an individual from a relatively normal person to a Brutal Peace Disruptor and Violent Oppressor,  This could occur in the early formative years of life, due to a toxic nurturing environment, or later in their psychological development, due to negative personal experiences, having a profound effect on the cerebral circuitry and programming.
Photo Credit: Graphic designed by Mrs V. Vawda, January 2024

The above graphic, using a flow chart, explains this transformation, to  explicitly illustrate the phenomenon of a rapid socio-psychological metamorphosis from a state of  “NORMALCY TO A GRUESOME PEACE DISRUPTOR” of an individual, as well the causative factors and resultant outcomes, which would affect the community, at large.  The author envisages that this graphic medium is an excellent suggestion to visualize the complex individual and collective drivers in a transformation pathway which enables once seemingly “normal” individuals to become gruesome peace disruptors. The flow chart also depicts potential variables with 7 boxes connected by arrows in the following sequence: Normal Upbringing Environment, with Latent Brain Difference in Emotional and Self Awareness Circuits.  This is influenced by  Conformity Pressures in a Totalitarian Systems. The individual goes into a mode of Wilful Ignorance and Compartmentalization.  Tis then results in Dehumanisation of “The Other”, individual, who is perceived as different and needs to be demeaned.  This outlook, of the Peace Disruptor, is further enhanced by the Explicit Sanctioning by Authorities in power  and a stage is achieved in the dark circuitry of the Peace Disruptor’s dysfunctional mind to engage in unprecedented levels of  Gross,  Gruesome Peace Disruption and Lack of Remorse, or accountability thereafter, as it happened in the Holocaust and other such major psycho-physical transgressions against fellow humans, The dysfunctional and deviously transformed individual is overtly practising Group Conformity Dynamics, within that safe enclave, of being the majority, facing the perceived lower status of the minority, that particular individual will certainly demean, oppress, discriminate and even kill that particular, differently perceived human being, without any ethical or moral consideration, accountability or slightest remorse.  In fact this individual will intellectualise, rationalise, as well as justify the nefarious action generated against the preselected individual of group. The author proposes that this is the basic line of mental processes in operation to account the ethnic cleansing and genocidal killings of various minority groups, globally in conflict situations. This is eminently evident is action taken against the Palestinians, by the Israel, who are determined to totally annihilate the Palestinian from Gaza and the occupied territories., having the land available for Israeli settlers to establish themselves there and flourish as the expense of the mass migration of the Palestinians as well as their mass annihilations of the Palestinians, mainly women children and elderly, using cluster bomb laden American drones, to effect their nefariously evil plan., which really constitutes heinous crimes against humanity.  Unfortunately, Israel is proceeding with the greatest impunity seen in the 21st century, principally due to the unwavering support from the Chief Peace Disruptor and killer, the United States, who has explicitly declared their rock solid support of Israel, a sentiment chorused by United Kingdom, India and France, in their collective efforts to literally “please the Master”, for various primary self-interests gains as well as secondary financial motivation, either to garner electoral votes or secure materialistic pursuits in the present context of the ultimate aim to achieve national, financial security and stability, as part of their underlying agenda of global neo-imperialism.  In essence, the entire life odyssey can be enumerated as :

  1. Latent neurological risk factors may be present from early childhood
  2. Authoritarian conformity carries implicit incentives that activate cognitive distortions and confirmation bias, fuelling compartmentalisation
  3. Active, persistent dehumanization gets officially codified into state policies
  4. This final step then sanctions actions bypassing moral prohibitions, allowing gruesome behaviours without self-censoring restraints.

However, this is possibly an oversimplification with more interacting variables. Ensuring proper ethical safeguards requires clear understanding of which steps can be targeted for early intervention before the downstream trauma. The author is most amenable to revising the proposed theory presented with the collective expertise of the readers of the Transcend Peace Journal and others, who have spent an entire lifetime in transforming peace as a science, like Professor Johan Galtung and Professor Antonio Carlos Silva Rosa’s collective expertise to properly emphasise accountability and prevention. The author sincerely invites everyone to please share any feedback or additions that can refine the representation, presented, as a basis for a robust discussion.  Moving forward with wisdom is the priority in the successful attainment of sustainable global peace in the 21st century and beyond.

Top Photo: The Terracotta Soldiers ordered by the Emperor as a replica of the faces of each of his soldiers after his death.
Middle Photo Left:  Posthumous depiction of Qin Shi Huang, 19th century. The idea that the emperor was an illegitimate child, widely believed throughout Chinese history, contributed to the generally negative view of the First Emperor and possibly resulted in his brutality later in life. Chairman Mao used his philosophy to persecute dissidents.
Middle Photo Right: The Great wall of China, Qin Shi Huang used forced labour to have the wall constructed.
Bottom Photo:  A painting showing the brutality of the Emperor against dissidents in his court.

 The most Brutal Rulers throughout history.

Ancient Era:

  • Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE) – First emperor of a unified China. Standardized everything from language to currency across his empire. Known for book burning, burying Confucian scholars alive, harsh laws. Forced hundreds of thousands to labour on Great Wall of China, many dying in the process. Obsessed with immortality and filled his tomb with a terra cotta army.

Medieval Era:

  • Genghis Khan (1162-1227) – Mongol conqueror that pillaged and destroyed cities, slaughtering millions across Asia and Eastern Europe. United Mongol tribes and embarked on decades long conquests across China, Central Asia, Persia and Eastern Europe. Massacred civilians and destroyed cities that resisted his armies. Laws encouraged looting and destruction. Directly and indirectly responsible for deaths of over 40 million people – severely depopulating many conquered regions.
  • Vlad the Impaler (1431-1477) – Prince of Wallachia notorious for brutally executing enemies by impalement.

Colonial Era:

  • Leopold II of Belgium (1835-1909) -King of Belgium who colonised Congo and exploited it mostly for ivory and rubber. Created a brutal regime to force Congolese into labour – including hostage taking, physical abuse, torture and rape. Failure to meet rubber collection quotas was met with death. Population of Congo estimated to have been reduced by up to 50% (8-10 million) under his rule. Brutally exploited Congo for rubber and ivory, causing millions of deaths and mutilations.
  • King Leopold’s Ghost provides a searing account of his atrocities.

Post-Colonial Era:

  • Mao Zedong (1893-1976) – Through forced collectivization, purges and “re-education” campaigns, Mao’s policies led to tens of millions of deaths.
  • Pol Pot (1925-1998) – Dictator of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge that executed or starved millions in attempt to create an agrarian utopia. Led the Khmer Rouge regime after civil war in Cambodia; attempted to create an agrarian utopia by rebooting Cambodian society. Forced urban evacuations, put cities to work in rural labour camps. “Enemies” were tortured and executed. Estimates of number killed range from 1.5 million to 3 million in just four years through executions, forced labour, malnutrition and inadequate healthcare.

Contemporary Era:

  • Bashar al-Assad (1965-) – Uses chemical weapons, sieges, torture against Syrian civilians, including women and children, in the ongoing civil war.
  • Kim Jong-un (1984-) – North Korean dictator maintains extensive prison camps, totalitarian control, public executions.

The author has focussed on the most tyrannical rulers, who were exceptionally brutal, even by the violent standards of their time. Of course, there are countless examples throughout history and the above is just a small selection. Noting the list above, the author analyses, from their modus operandi, in this publication, as to the unique, intrinsic attribute, including early childhood development and nurturing commonalities which resulted in their final outlook, to inflict maximum terror on their own people. The question, although an intriguing one, which nevertheless, needs to be raised, is that, is there some single, characteristic, feature or trait in these tyrants, which could explain their aggressive, and overtly sadistic, behavioural patterns.  In pursuit of this analysis, the author attempts to find common psychological threads between brutal dictators, across different eras and the following possible mechanisms emerge as contributory factors, but it is extremely difficult to attribute any particular single reason.  The probable factors are presented in an attempt at some analysis:

Ego and Paranoia

Many brutal rulers seem to combine an inflated ego and deep paranoia – they have an obsessive need to eliminate threats to their power. Stalin epitomized this – his ruthless purges stemmed from paranoia about rivals and a desire to be seen as a “great leader.” Egomania also drives the desire for status symbols seen in some rulers – like gigantic palaces for Kim Jong Un, today.

Lack of Empathy

An inability to empathize or see humanity in others enables the cruelty of repressive policies. From the forced labour camps of ancient Qin Shi Huangdi to the cold bureaucracy of the Holocaust, dehumanization plays a role. Some psychologists point to disrupted childhood attachment and nurturing as a root issue. Many brutal tyrants suffered childhood trauma, loss or emotional neglect.

Extreme Ideology

Abstract ideological visions often provide the backdrop and justification for brutal systems of repression and control. Mao Zedong unleashed suffering in pursuit of rapid modernization and communist revolution. Pol Pot’s fanaticism about an agrarian, classless society led to massive social engineering. When ideals collide with human realities, dictators turn to force rather than compromise.

Of course, each brutal ruler has their own psychology and background. But common themes are apparent: outsized egos, stunted empathy, paranoid personalities and extreme political ideologies or visions. These traits exist on a spectrum, but when taken to an extreme and combined with unrestrained power over lives, the result is catastrophic for human rights and human lives. Understanding the underlying drivers does not justify such actions, but may provide lessons in leadership and governance.

 

However, in addition, when Holocaust is referred to, individuals, like Hitler (Germany), Stalin (USSR), Pinochet (Chile), Saddam Hussein[14] (Iraq), Muamar Gaddafi (Libya), Idi Amin (Uganda), Verwoerd (South Africa), King Henry VIII, Queen Isabella of Spain (Spanish Inquisition) Rwanda Genocide Leaders, Myanmar Rohingya Genocide Leaders and currently, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, for internally displacing 1,9 million indigenous Palestinians and personally ordering the killing of over 23 thousand , mainly women and children due to the incessant and targeted aerial bombings, with American drones of civilians, with gleeful delight and focused pursuit, for the “many months” to come in 2024[15], aided by the Biden, Macron and Sunak administration, in blatant violation of the Rome Statute, as enunciated for such atrocities, brutalities and crimes against humanity,  must also be included in the list, as well. These are very appropriate additions to the list of brutal, repressive rulers and regimes. It is prudent to briefly elaborate on some of them:

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) – Dictator of Nazi Germany that pioneered horrific new levels of genocide and repression, centered around an extreme racist ideology and nationalistic visions of German supremacy. Systematic, industrialized murder of 6 million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) – Totalitarian leader of the Soviet Union for over two decades. Ruthlessly eliminated rivals through purges and gulags, forcibly resettling ethnic minorities. Harsh policies led to millions of deaths through executions, forced labor and famine.

Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) – Military dictator of Chile from 1973-1990 who overthrew a democratic government in a coup. Imposed severe repression – tens of thousands were abducted, tortured and murdered to stamp out dissent through violence and fear.

Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) – Dictator of Iraq 1979-2003 notorious for internal oppression through violence, fear and propaganda. Brutal torture was systematically used against any suspected opponents or dissent. Started disastrous wars leading to death and suffering across the region.

Other examples like Idi Amin, Gaddafi, leaders behind the Rwandan genocide, Myanmar’s attacks on Rohingya all share that common thread of propagating violence, murder, even genocide against populations under their control to retain personal power. Complex ideologies may try to justify actions, but the underlying results are immense human suffering through violent repression. Even going back to the Spanish inquisition sponsored by monarchs like Queen Isabella I, brutal religious persecution oppressed and terrified populations for centuries.

So while contexts differ, the playbook of violence, dehumanisation, murder and genocide reappear in these brutal dictatorships across history. The author is hopeful that the above analyses provide some insight into his personal perspective on the common psychological attributes of history’s most brutal tyrants.

 

Furthermore, it is also necessary to highlight the effects on their infantile, upbringing and possible aberrant nurturing, in their formative years of life, or their parental influence, to account for their belligerent and antisocial behaviour against their own people and ethnically different groups, under their respective jurisdictions. an excellent point – the early childhood experiences and upbringing of brutal dictators often play a major role in shaping their authoritarian and violent behaviors later in life. Here are some patterns that emerge:

Parental Absence/Neglect: Many brutal rulers lost one or both parents early in childhood – Stalin’s father was absent and mother died early, Hitler’s father was domineering but aloof and his mother died when he was a teen. This lack of stable nurturing relationships may have hindered empathy & emotional bonds.

Physical/Psychological Abuse: Harsh discipline from parental figures also emerges in many accounts. Stalin’s father beat him mercilessly. Mao Zedong was forced to endure humiliation and abuse from his father. Physical and emotional trauma in childhood may later manifest as cruelty towards others.

Feelings of Weakness/Inferiority: Some historians point to childhood health problems, poverty and low social status in youth as feeding later megalomania – overcompensation for painful inferiority feelings. Hitler struggled financially as a youth and harboured deep bitterness. Amin was taunted for his size.

Embrace of Violence: Many endured social environments early on that normalized violence. Hitler’s father exemplified a authoritarian, militant ethos. Stalin idolized violent revolutionary figures. Surrounded by conflict, they learned to admire strength, force and ruthlessness from their youth.

So while the specific nature of the nurture deficit or childhood adversities varies, patterns of abuse, emotional/physical trauma, absence of caregivers, and normalization of violence frequently enable later atrocities. The seeds of fractured identities, inflated egos and destructive ideologies take root early for those who go on to commit horrific oppression and murder. pleaded with local authorities to take his sister away. The above perspectives shed some light and cystalises, the end points as evidenced and recorded in the annals of history. Incidentally, Hitler was denied admission to an art school, in Germany, at the age of 12, by the Jewish Board of Directors, hence his revenge, illustrating the point that the author makes on the typical childhood backgrounds that may spawn brutal dictators.  Hitler attributed his fanatical anti-Semitism in part to being rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as a young aspiring artist.  In 1907 and 1908, a teenage Hitler applied twice to the art academy and was rejected both times. There are some conflicting accounts around the exact reasons for his rejections, but Hitler believed the academy’s board and key faculty members were biased against him because of their Jewish heritage.  Whether or not Jewish contributors at the academy directly evaluated and rejected Hitler is debated by historians. However, what matters more is Hitler’s perception that he was being unfairly rejected by Jews in positions of relative power over his artistic ambitions. This experience appears to have contributed significantly to the deep resentment of Jews that later defined his genocidal political career. Therefore, while the actual details around the rejections are obfuscated, the experience became a major emotional and psychological turning point for Hitler. Being twice denied entry into his dream school at such a young, formative age seemed to confirm latent anti-Semitic tendencies within him. This grew into a burning hatred that manifested in the horrors of the Holocaust after his subsequent rise to dictatorship in Germany.  Hence, a profound sense of rejection and inferiority in his artistic ambitions as a teenager fuelled his revenge against Jews and eventually all of Europe. A young Adolf Hitler internalised those rejections in Vienna as unfair persecution by Jews, stoking darker emotions that exploded decades later.

Similarly, the background about the rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, is any relevant example:

  • In the 1960s and early 1970s, Cambodia was embroiled in the Vietnam War and suffered from US bombing campaigns aimed at Northern Vietnamese insurgents hiding in Cambodia.
  • This bombing destabilised Cambodia and encouraged anger that fuelled communist opposition groups like the Khmer Rouge, led by Saloth Sar aka Pol Pot. He exploited resentment towards foreign intervention and the Cambodian elite to gain recruits.
  • In 1970, a military coup in Cambodia brought to power a pro-US military general named Lon Nol. But after 5 years of civil war between the government and Khmer Rouge revolutionaries, the capital Phnom Penh finally fell to the Khmer Rouge on April 17, 1975.
  • Once in power with Pol Pot as leader, the Khmer Rouge sought to rapidly transform Cambodia into a purely agrarian society. This led to forced evacuations from cities, abolishment of currency, markets, schools, religion, formal education, and private property.
  • Millions were forced into rural labour camps to grow rice and build irrigation works. But food shortages, disease, torture and mass executions led to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 to 3 million Cambodians (25% of the population at the time) under Pol Pot’s regime from 1975-1979.

In summary, US bombing during the Vietnam War helped motivate and empower Pol Pot’s ultra-communist revolutionary movement. After taking power, he pursued fanatical Maoist-inspired visions of society fuelled by paranoia and eliminated all educated, urban and foreign-influenced elements. The resulting social engineering and oppression of Pol Pot’s regime brought complete catastrophe to Cambodia.  This unhappy saga, also highlights, the misery and gross peace disruption, United States have caused, collectively, over the decades, in bombing different countries, as it did, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam and presently, conducting Proxy Wars in Ukraine against Russia and in Israel, directly resulting in the ethnic cleansing and genocidal eradication of over two million Palestinians from their own land in Gaza and Occupied territories, in the overt, “rock solid support of Israel”[16] against the defenceless Palestinians, classifying them as terrorists, while they are only trying to regain lands, which rightfully belong to them, ancestrally, and historical, invaded and occupied by the Zionist Israeli.  It is to be noted that US is not only complicit in, but directly takes the responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, together, with Britain and France, led by a second-generation migrant, Sunak[17], and Macron[18], respectively.

In an analogous, manner, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were both ruthless dictators who maintained power through fear and oppression for decades in Iraq and Libya respectively:

Saddam Hussein:

  • Rose to power in 1979 in Iraq and formally ruled as dictator until 2003. His Baathist regime was centered around his cult of personality.
  • Systematically eliminated political rivals through assassination, torture or exile. His security forces repressed any dissent through violence and persecution of minorities.
  • Most notorious domestic incident was chemical attack against Kurdish civilians in Halabja in 1988 killing 5,000. Also drained marshes to drive out Shiites.
  • Torture was institutionalized, with rape, beatings and horrific conditions for any dissenters. Public executions also used to create climate of terror.
  • Wars with Iran and Kuwait cost over a million lives combined, with Saddam looking to control[19] oil wealth through military means.

Muammar Gaddafi:

  • Seized power in Libya in 1969 as a young army captain. Remained in charge for over 40 years until being overthrown and killed in 2011.
  • Early years saw repression of dissent, public executions and legalized violence against political opponents. Any threat was met with force.
  • Society under rigid control of security forces and informants, with censorship and surveillance the norm. Wealth concentrated under Gaddafi and his inner circle.
  • In later years sponsored global terror – downing of Pan Am 103 over Scotland killed 270 civilians in 1988. Also interfered abroad in conflicts in Africa.
  • Brutally put down protests when Arab Spring revolutions broke out in 2011, including imprisonments, massacres of civilians and shelling of cities.

Both ruled through violent intimidation domestically and reckless military interventions abroad. Their personality cults, totalitarian systems and harsh security machinery caused tremendous suffering. Hopefully this gives more background on their particularly ruthless and destructive rules.  They both were merciless executed[20] by the very people they sought to eradicate, and the respective videos were widely circulated on multiple television channels, globally, live, worldwide.  But today, while the ethics of taking snapshots of dead dictators is still up for discussion, the ubiquity of cell phones equipped with cameras – and the way such images swiftly find their way to the waiting world, means such doubts are far less likely.

The Ironical, Brutal Death of Dictators and Tyrants

Photo Top: In this television screen grab picture taken from Iraqi national television station Al-Iraqia, a video shows the moments leading up to the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein standing on the gallows as he prepared for hanging Dec. 30, 2006 in Baghdad.
Photo Bottom: Mobile phone recorded footage of the last moments and killing of Libyan Tyrant Muammar Gadhafi by the members rebel forces that he had executive.  In the series, first came a photograph showing what appeared to be Gadhafi’s bloodied face slumped against a man’s crimson-stained leg, as he was manhandled, dead or dying, amongst a crowd, of cheering civilians. A short time later, Arabic news channel Al Jazeera broadcast blurry cell phone footage of what was apparently Gadhafi’s half-naked body being hauled along a street, leaving a trail of blood on the pavement. A close-up of what appeared to be the face that had loomed over Libya for a generation, showed it pale, blood trickling from an apparent head wound. More cell phone footage seemed to show him bleeding but still alive, being placed in a vehicle as wild cheers erupt from the fighters who surrounded him.

 The Bottom Line is that in the future, we, collectively, as Peace Lovers and Peace Propagators, need to ensure, humanity does not continue to degenerate into an abyss of ongoing Peace Disruption, based on the sequence of events experienced globally, in the past five years. Developing a general theory that comprehensively models the inputs, throughputs, outputs underlying the transformation into violent, monstrous agents of human suffering is extremely important. The author therefore attempts an initial framework sketch to spur further discussion:

Inputs:

  • Genetics – Vulnerabilities in neurodevelopment related to empathy, aggression modulation
  • Early childhood – Trauma, attachment wounds, modelling of abuse
  • Adolescence – Social alienation, humiliation, ideological indoctrination
  • Adulthood – Powerlessness, violent ideations justified by surrounding culture

Throughputs:

  • Dehumanisation of an “other” – Cognitive distortion eroding compassion
  • Groupthink Conformity – Diffusion of moral responsibility to authoritarian directives
  • Gradual progression of violence – From implicit to explicit sanctioning by authority signals

Outputs:

  • Compartmentalisation – Allowing ordinarily immoral and nefarious acts through dissociation
  • Impunity and Lack of Remorse or accountability, Solidification of moral disengagement; Adopting an ethos of  “Us versus Them tribalism”
  • Active Peace Disruption – Destructive behaviours targeting dehumanised groups; moral alarms numbed
  • Destroying the very foundations of the pillars of Ubuntu[21] and Batho pele “We belong, we care, we serve.)[22], as espoused in the sub-Saharan societies, especially within South Africa.

This absolutely warrants models with greater intricacy capturing more environmental and or biological interplays. It is vitally important in identifying key junctures for intervention, which will be essential. The author has attempted in articulating basic processes, but please feel free to share inputs and opinions, either positive or negative, to this starter framework as you see apt. Refining this understanding merits significant scholarly discourse, towards achieving positive change, tolerance and mutual compromise for the effective betterment of humanity, through perseverance of  communication in the successful attainment of Peace.

The stark reality of the Killing Fields of Cambodia orchestrated by Pol Pot

Main Photo: Painting by a survivor of the genocide, housed in Toul Sleng Genocide Museum showing a Khmer Rouge soldier beating a child, against a tree trunk to death, while the mother is dragged off by another soldier for sexual abuse, torture and slow progressive death.  Credit Getty Images Anders Blomqvist. Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, South-East Asia, Asia
 Inset Photo:  The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, showing the skulls and skeletal remains of prisoners tortured and killed. A former high school which was used, among one of at least 150 execution centers in the country, as the notorious security prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” or “Strychnine Hill”. around 17,000 prisoners were killed at S21 where they were interrogated and tortured before being shipped off to execution killing fields like the one in Choeung Ek. (Photo by: Marc Charuel / Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

References:

[1] Personal quote by author, December 2023

[2] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/11/the-forgotten-part-1-kashmir-heaven-on-earth-turned-hell-on-earth-by-21st-century-india/

[3] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/11/the-forgotten-part-2-the-uyghurs-of-xinjiang-from-sinicization-to-genocide/

[4] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/12/the-forgotten-part-3-buddhist-directed-ethnic-cleansing-genocide-of-rohingyas-in-myanmar/

[5] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2022/08/the-children-of-the-gods-of-war-part-1/

[6] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/12/the-forgotten-part-4-president-bashar-al-assad-syrian-civil-war-chief-peace-disruptor/

[7] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/12/the-forgotten-part-5-the-first-nations-indigenous-tribes-of-canada/

[8] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/12/the-forgotten-part-6-the-pillars-of-peace-propagators-from-yajnavalkya-in-antiquity-to-johan-galtung-today/

[9] https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/homo-sapiens-sapiens#:~:text=They%20usually%20have%20long%20limbs,of%20all%20the%20Homo%20sapiens.

[10] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2024/01/agony-of-the-past-and-ecstasy-of-the-future-war-or-peace-welcome-2024/

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology#:~:text=Christianity%20depict%20the%20end%20time,in%20the%20Kingdom%20of%20God.

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali_Yuga#:~:text=Kali%20Yuga%2C%20in%20Hinduism%2C%20is,full%20of%20conflict%20and%20sin.

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Mengele

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

[15] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Augusto-Pinochet

[16] https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/10/biden-vows-rock-solid-support-defense-aid-israel

[17] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/19/british-pm-sunak-in-israel-whats-on-his-agenda

[18] https://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-france-israel-comments-benjamin-netanyahu/

[19] https://www.rferl.org/a/1103060.html

[20] https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/saddams-final-moments/

[21] https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/28706/04chapter4.pdf?sequence=5

[22] https://pmg.org.za/files/docs/Principles_of_Batho_Pele_0.pdf

______________________________________________

Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All
Email: vawda@ukzn.ac.za


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jan 2024.

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