By Nathan Mayberg
LOCH SHELDRAKE April 13, 2004 Evil: An Investigation is the provocative title of a new book by Time magazine essayist and journalist Lance Morrow.
The book and its authors background have led him to several talk shows and news shows most recently to Sullivan County Community College.
Over 200 people came Thursday to hear him speak about evil and the inaction of the world against it.
"Bill Clinton, [former Secretary of State] Madeline Albright, and [UN Secretary General] Kofi Annan have blood on their hands," was one of Morrows loudest statements of the night.
"They should be ashamed of themselves" for failing to do anything to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, he said. Over 700,000 Tutsis were killed by the majority and ruling tribe of Hutus.
"One of evils greatest accomplishments is to make people think it doesnt exist," said Morrow.
"One of the ways that evil operates is to demonize the other" person or group, he said. Joseph Goebbels, the head of the Nazi propaganda machine, was used as an example. He wrote cartoons which demonized the Jews in Germany, said Morrow.
Another example of evil, he said, was in Bosnia during the 1990s. Hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered and raped by Serbians.
Andrea Yates, the mother who drowned her five children, was also cited as an evil person by Morrow. However, while she was sentenced to death, another mother who killed her children in Texas was recently found guilty by reason of insanity, thus placing her in a mental hospital for a long time to come.
Those were two different responses to evil, observed Morrow. He did not appear to agree with the second punishment.
"Some say to understand everything is to forgive everything," he said, then added, "To understand everything is not to forgive everything."
Some say "we should look at the root causes and psychological causes" of evil, commented the journalist. He disagreed just because Stalin had a rough childhood "does not excuse the Ukrainian genocide" or the millions of others he killed, said Morrow.
During a civil war in Sierra Leone over the past decade, many children had their arms cut off.
How is this part of what we are? wondered Morrow.
During a question-and-answer period afterwards, one person asked if Morrow believed force should be used to stop evil.
"Evil must be stopped," he responded.
When pressed if that meant retaliation and war, Morrow seemed to evade the question by being vague and unresponsive.
One student from SCCC said that the U.S. education system was doing a poor job in teaching students about the genocide in Rwanda and other events. She said she had never heard of Rwanda until she took a class at the college.
"We are still driven by tribal impulses and hatreds," added Morrow. "Tribal hatreds are now apocalyptically empowered by nukes."
One woman in the audience expressed her frustration with the American government for refusing to acknowledge the genocide of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks during World War 1. The U.S. government, she said, was afraid of retaliatory threats by the Turkish government by not allowing the U.S. to use its bases. Yet the government of Turkey did not allow the Americans to enter during last years Iraq offensive.
"Evil loves a bureaucracy," commented Morrow on the failure of the world to react to all of the genocides in the last century.
The lecture was part of the new "Pearl Gold Lecture Series," dedicated to the late Pearl Gold, husband of Harold Gold, the only living member of the colleges founding board of trustees. Future lectures will include a special on the Holocaust and an Africa Conference.