Hello Curious Friend. Welcome to my book about Hate. The number tells you where you are in the sequence. I look forward to your comments.
Why Study Hate? (Continued)
Almost as slavish as the above examples was the treatment of European children during the industrial revolution, who were nothing but slaves serving as fodder to fuel capitalism. Here’s another story from what is now today’s Iraq. An archaeologist in the 1850s, Austen Henry Layard was exploring the area for ancient remains, including the lost city of Nineveh. He discovered many incredible artifacts, most of which were transported back to England for safe-keeping.
But it’s his observations of local history that are most relevant to us. He noted the following on a local excursion, led by one of his hosts.
“The weather was hot and sultry; the Christians had brought but small supplies of water and provisions; after three days the first began to fail them, and they offered to capitulate. The terms proposed by Beder Khan Bey, and ratified by an oath on the Koran, were their lives on surrender of their arms and property. The Kurds were then admitted to the platform. After they had disarmed their prisoners, they commenced an indiscriminate slaughter; until, weary of using their weapons, they hurled the few survivors from the rocks into the Zab below. Out of nearly one thousand souls, who are said to have congregated here, only one escaped.”
From Layard’s “Nineveh and its Remains” page 142 Lyons Press, 2001 Originally published 1851, describing an event in what is now known as Iraq.
And so our story, our stories, continue. The further we look back in time the more we find, for in every era, in every nook and cranny of our world, there are stories illustrating the horrible capacity of hate within man.
How pervasive is this capacity for hate? Is it truly as all-encompassing and eternal as I claim? As an illustration of how closely our species is connected to hate, let’s examine the very nature of history. Yes, history itself.
History is the story of man, told by man. So finding our bones in sediments a million years old is not history; it’s the study of old bones, and dirt. But a scroll, or a painting bearing a message, that’s history. History is our story told through writing. Any writing, like these words. Or your email, or your Grandmother’s journal. These are all pieces of history.
Like all things, history was born, it did not exist since the beginning of time. That means there is some piece of writing that is the first, the earliest, the most unquestionably and unequivocal first fragment of writing. This thing represents the beginning of history. And where do we find this first fragment?
To be continued …