Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict
When the statue of Saddam Hussein fell and Iraqis danced on the body, hitting it with their shoes, there was joy. Moments later, when an American soldier climbed the statue to place an American flag on the face, there was a national gasp, a moment of humiliation for the Iraqis. Americans had claimed to be liberating them, but the placing of the American flag was a sign of conquest. The flag was quickly removed and replaced with an Iraqi flag, but those tense moments were a brief example of the power and potentially far-reaching, volatile effects of humiliating acts, even when unintentional. In this fascinating work, Dr. Linder examines and explains, across history and nations, how this little-understood, often-overlooked emotion sparks outrage, uprisings, conflict and war.
With the insights of a seasoned psychologist and peace scholar, the analytical skill of a linguist who speaks seven languages, and the scholarship of a Columbia University professor, Lindner explains which words and actions can humiliate, how the victim perceives those words and actions, what the consequences have been, and how individuals and organizations can work to avoid instances in the future. From acts of humiliation in Nazi Germany to intentional humiliations such as those at Abu Graib, from events during the bloodbaths in Rwanda and Somalia, to precursors to the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, Lindner offers vivid examples to explain how humiliation can be at the core of international conflict.