A F T E R w O R D
Hypocrite Modernity
Cruelty on the massive scale described in these pages is not a sponta-
neous and individual act, committed by deviants. It requires sanction
from the state or from the rogue organization, as well as a process of
dehumanization. It is often directed not toward an equal but toward a
helpless and hated enemy: a peasant, a child, a pregnant woman, or a
member of an indigenous group, each of whom transgresses the ideal
masculinity that kills the mother and exalts the father. But while cruelty
clearly is a transgression of “the inherent dignity and of the equal and
unalienable rights of all members of the human family,” listed in the 1948
Declaration of Human Rights as “the foundation of freedom, justice and
peace in the world,” it cannot be explained as a throwback to some prior
state of humanity. Not only has cruelty been instrumental in the coop-
tation of the nation-state by private interests and the softening up of civil
society through a regime of fear; it is also a scar on liberal society.
The cruelties narrated in the first eight chapters of this book are
events of a recent past that continue to infiltrate the present, although
in many countries a temporal distance between cruel events and their
public acknowledgment minimizes their impact. To cite one instance:
the massacre of sixteen political prisoners, four of them women, at the
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