Here are two passages from the book that I introduced in my last post. They seem especially apt in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks and other such examples of the viciousness that people blinded by misconceptions of religion and other ideologies are capable of.
Pg 107- “When individuals get to know one another it is usually impossible for them to like or hate each other on the basis merely of generalities about race, religion or history. To hate successfully, you must hate an abstraction- the totality of Arabs or Jews or whomever- because once you put a face to a person, and with it a home, children, an enjoyment of hamburgers or football, all abstractions melt.”
Pg 150- “Each of the world’s current conflicts needs just two individuals, leaders on opposing sides, to stand up, meet, talk, keep clearly in view some image- a child blinded or limbless because of bombing, say- and to agree a fixed determination not to use large-scale murder as a way of managing differences. On that basis real hope can enter the picture. This is of course an extremely hard thing to achieve; but it is why such individuals, if they were to appear, would be heroes indeed.”