A very good blog post on the dangers of rhetoric and the dangerous “other” in the ancient and the modern world….
In describing the attacks the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last week the term “barbaric” was invoked a number of times. Individuals like Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission and Tony Abbot, the Australian prime minister all condemned the attack, which, of course, they should, despite the fact that they are politicians and really do not have any choice in the matter if they want to stand a hope of being elected again. No doubt I could cast my net wider, but I’m going to critique the use of the term “barbaric” in referring to the attacks. From its general definition, the attacks certainly fulfill the requirements of barbarism, as they were carried out with cruelty and violence.
The problem is that barbarism requires a barbarian, and a barbarian is an “other”, someone outside of the defining civilization’s willingness to understand. Roman history…
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