Philosophers are there to understand evil. An organization for human rights is there to change evil. In the work of Amnesty International you get plenty of opportunity to think about evil. People do things that are bad for other people for various reasons. Greed, jealousy, lust for power, fear, anger or frustration, sometimes those actions are justified and sometimes they are just looking for a reason. Look at the war in Syria, the persecution
in Turkey, the drug violence in Mexico or the stranglehold of Eritrea. There is no fund of harm from which you can withdraw, like with shares of the stock exchange. There is no dark cloud of evil that suddenly descends on mankind. There is, in the words of Hannah Arendt, “the banality of evil”.
For those who want to change the evil are two things required. Firstly, that we under
stand as much as possible of all the causes in which people threat each other. Secondly,
and at the same time, that we mobilize what can be done better.
There is a much greater potential for the good than there is for evil, for Nazarski
there is no doubt about that. Nine out of ten people live in relative peace with their neigh
bours, the ones close to them. A society has a huge inventory of trust, so we can feel
safe. Evil is the exception, not the rule. Nazarski will talk about the remarkable ways in
which evil is being resolved. By human rights defenders, Witte Helmen, Soldatenmoeders
and Lawyers for Lawyers. Through the massiveness of an action or a petition. To outdo
the banality by keeping your head cool and having an involved heart.
Eduard Nazarski (Roggel, 1953) became the director of the Dutch department of Amnesty
International in 2006. Previously he worked for 15 years at the Landelijk Steunpunt
Vrijwilligerswerk, and was chairman for the European Council on Refugees and Exiles
(ECRE), a European umbrella organization of 65 refugee organizations in 28 countries.
The artwork this week created by Suyoung Yang:
Reading tips by Eduard Nazarski;
Poster design by Gilles de Brock