What do you have to lose?

Donald Trump
Image by Gage Skidmore and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse….it could be the great Trojan horse of all time…”

Question 1: what can a politician gain when he makes a comment like this?

Your answer (Select all that apply.)

  1. a sense of power from successfully manipulating people’s emotions.
  2. actual power through gaining votes by portraying themselves as tough on crime and terrorism.
  3. delight in the media attention and the endless money and fame it can generate.
  4. a quiet sense of satisfaction from recognizing that they are doing everything possible to promote peace and human rights.
  5. recognition that they may be nominated for the next Nobel Peace Prize.

Question 2: What would a politician’s followers gain from accepting such messages and using them to guide their behavior?

Your answer (Select all that apply.)

  1. the comfort that comes from finding a strong leader who will take on troublemakers and knock them out of action.
  2. an opportunity to avoid the stress that comes from the constant need to evaluate risks and decide for oneself what decisions are right, what choices are correct, how to keep safe.
  3. confirmation that there are real and present threats to the American way of life that have been too long neglected by weak Presidents.
  4. reassurance that good people can work together to achieve solutions that make the world better for everyone.
  5. the ability to see themselves as good people who live by the Golden Rule.

Question 3: What could a politician’s followers lose or escape from by accepting such messages and using them to guide their behavior?

  1. anxiety related to not knowing whom they can blame for any current dissatisfactions or fears in their lives.
  2. unease related to the feeling that there isn’t anyone around who is tough enough to put a stop to the threats to the American way of life.
  3. the sense that they are increasingly powerless in a country where the government cannot be trusted to represent their interests.
  4. a sense of pride in knowing that they have carefully and objectively reviewed the facts and considered all options before making a decision regarding their future and the future of their country.
  5. recognition from people they respect concerning their sense of morality and concern for others and the planet.

Final Questions:

Who gains the most when politicians make statements like the one above? The politicians? Their followers? The American people? People around the world? Terrorists? Victims of terrorism?

Who has the most to lose when the message above is adopted by advocates of the message?  The politician? The politician’s advocates? The American people? People around the world? Terrorists? Victims of terrorism?

What do YOU have to lose?

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

Posted in Democracy, Ethic of reciprocity, Human rights, Media, militarization, Military-industrial complex, Protest, racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shooting the right way at the Syrian border

By guest author Deryal Yuksel

12506919_10205606700907547_409107148_nI am a photographer, and a few months ago I was travelling around the Syrian border. There is no way I can go there now. Most of the towns I have visited have turned into warzones.

However, while there, I had the privilege of meeting some Syrian children who lived in the village of Harran, extremely close to the Syrian border. I saw many tents while we were driving near the border, tents that the Turkish government had provided for the refugees.

What should be kept in mind is that refugees are also ­humans, humans whose lives have been destroyed. Thousands of Syrians are helplessly trying to balance a small sack on one arm and their children on another. If they are lucky, they can hop the border with some of their belongings and their children. Not everyone makes it.

Some Syrian refugees try to reach the Greek Islands through the Aegean Sea via illegal boats that are not very safe. Most of the boats sink, and fishermen try to save the refugees but are unable to rescue all of them. Current news reports indicated that many bodies have washed up onto the shore.

About 2 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey. Some of them are on the streets of Istanbul as beggars and sometimes even threaten people for money. I personally was attacked during the light of day in a crowded place by a refugee. Also, my dad was attacked by a refugee while waiting for an ATM machine. So, some of the Turkish citizens dislike the refugees, and some citizens feel bad for them.

Some Turks are racist towards the refugees, even though they are both Muslim, so it is frightening to think what kind of reaction the refugees would receive in other countries like the United States, where people may think that the refugees will cause violence and terror in their nation. If there is no voice for the Syrian refugees, how can they communicate with countries asking for help? I believe that countries should cooperate with each other to find ways to help these refugees, these 3 million refugees.

Deryal Yuksel is a Psychology major interested in street photography and the lives of the different individuals she shoots. Currently, she is particularly interested in the Syrian refugees in Turkey. There is a stigma in the country that needs to be broken, and she hopes to raise awareness with photography. She took the photographs in this essay in Harran, Sanliurfa, Turkey.

Posted in Armed conflict, Children and war, racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clever devils: getting good people to act bad

“In Self-Defense”. 1876 editorial cartoon by A. B. Frost. Depicts a caricatured former Confederates in the U.S. South with a knife and smoking gun in his hands standing over the corpse of an African-American toddler.
Image is in the public domain.


Moral disengagement involves a set of unconscious psychological processes allowing individuals to engage in or support or tolerate inhumane treatment of others while still thinking of themselves as good people.  Common examples include using euphemistic language to make bad things sound less bad (“collateral damage”), pseudo-moral justifications (“the war to end all wars”), displacement or diffusion of responsibility (“I was just following orders”), advantageous comparison (“killing a couple of terrorists is a lot better than letting them kill thousands”), and attribution of blame/dehumanization (“axis of evil threatening the peace of the world”).

Unscrupulous power-hungry political leaders throughout history have often  successfully promoted moral disengagement in those whom they want to dominate for their own purposes.  Unfortunately, in regard to the burgeoning global refugee crisis, expressions of moral disengagement in the home of the “tired and the poor” are rife.

Consider the following comments. What forms of moral disengagement, as listed above, do you see?

  • When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse….it could be the great Trojan horse of all time…”
  • “some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy….things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
  • “One of the problems that we have and one of the reasons we’re so ineffective is they [terrorists] are using them (civilians, family members) as shields….It’s a horrible thing, but we’re fighting a very politically correct war.”
  •  “I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us….They don’t use waterboarding over there….They use chopping off people’s heads.”
  • “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems… they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

Posted in Moral disengagement, Propaganda, racism, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To the Taliban, ISIS, Pentagon, Kremlin, and Everyone Else

By Guest Author Tom Greening, January 2016

Flag of Islamic State graffiti, St.-Romain-au-Mont-d’Or, Rhone-Alpes, France
Image by thierry ehrmann and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

•Please stop killing people and destroying things they need and treasure.

•Help us all work peaceably together to create good lives for everyone.

•That will take a lot of effort, creativity,
sacrifice, cooperation.

•We can, we must do it.

American soldiers display the Hoe battle flag during a patrol, Jan. 22. They hold the flag in reverse to symbolize the way Soldiers wear the flag on their right shoulder. Crow said the flag represents a ‘lineage of warriors.’ Image by Sgt. Aaron Rosencrans is in the public domain.

•The alternative is horrible, endlessly tragic.

•Let’s show each other and our children that we and they are not members of a monstrous species.

•Let’s prove that together we can transcend the past and create a humane and loving future for everyone.

•Let’s begin doing this now.

Nimroz provincial Gov. Mohammad Sarwar Subat, center, speaks during a friendship dinner at the Afghan Cultural Center at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 25, 2013. Regional Command (Southwest) hosted the dinner during Ramadan to bring coalition forces and key members of the community together to promote peace and discussion. Image by Sgt Tammy Hineline and is in the public domain.

Tom Greening was educated at Yale, the University of Vienna, and the University of Michigan. He has been a psychologist in private practice for over 50 years, and is a retired professor from Saybrook University, UCLA, and Pepperdine. He was Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology for 35 years. He is a Fellow of five divisions of the American Psychological Association and Poet Laureate of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry.

Posted in Champions of peace, Nonviolence, Pacifism, Poetry and the arts, Reconciliation and healing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments