Staying Human In The Face Of Inhumanity

Earlier this year, Barbara was invited to speak at the 2011 Peace Conference at Golden West College.  The theme for this year was — A Better Tomorrow: Making Peace a Global Reality in 21st Century.

Here is the video of her talk. (The quote below starts at 4:57)

Staying Human In the Face Of Inhumanity
by Barbara English

… It is really just human beings that perpetrate inhumanities.  And I think that one of the mistakes that we get caught up in is in losing sight of that… Because the moment that we demonize anybody, we’ve lost part of our own humanity.  And that may be one of the toughest challenges we have…

It seems to me that too often when we talk about one-ness and the interconnectedness of humanity, there is always a ‘but’.

“We’re all one, except for people that do these [horrible] things.”
“We’re interconnected, except we don’t want to acknowledge those that we see as ‘other’, those we don’t like, or those that we don’t approve of.”

And I think this is where we need to evolve as a species, is the sense of really embracing our interconnectedness, for all of humanity.  And recognizing that those that perpetrate horrors are not just ‘bad seeds’, they are not innately evil and somehow different.

Part of what can be the hardest challenge to embrace is to recognize the potential within us, under the right circumstances, to commit any of the atrocities that we would seek to stand against.  And yet unless we do that, we will continue to ‘otherize’ and not be able to accomplish the peace that we seek.

Barbara English is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist with over 20 years of experience.  She is the Executive Director of Living Ubuntu, a non‐profit organization founded in response to her concern about the effects of mass trauma on populations around the globe.  Much of her training has centered on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and how to recover after abuse or trauma.  She is a 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow with Genocide Intervention Network.


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