Bill Moyers talks to those whose lives have been shaped by hate and those who have dedicated their lives to moving beyond it, including Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Václav Havel and others.
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Elie Wiesel, Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity: When language fails, violence becomes the language.
Yoram Binur, Israeli Journalist: You can see that every day here in Israel, what hatred can do.
Walter Anderson, Editor, Parade Magazine: Like every soldier who has ever fought, I hated the enemy.
Monster Cody, Eight Tray Gangster Crips: We deface the enemy where he’s not even human, so when you shoot him, it’s easier because you’re not shooting a human, you’re shooting a slob.
Jimmy Carter, Chair, The Carter Center: The most disturbing thing about hate is that all of us have it in us.
Bill Moyers, Host: [voice-over] This is the face of hate, as ancient as Cain and Abel, as recent as yesterday’s headlines- hate organized and preached-
Ku Klux Klansman: The niggers that are giving you all the trouble, white folk, are the educated niggers.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] -hate born of a chance encounter in the street. [On camera] I’m Bill Moyers. Every day brings fresh news of hate. In America last year, crimes of hate rose to record levels- in New York City alone, a 65 percent increase in attacks on homosexuals; on American campuses, double the number of incidents reported of racial abuse; abroad, in the Soviet Union and Europe, riots between ethnic groups and a surge of anti-Semitism; in South Africa, black pitted against black; in the Middle East, Arab against Arab, Jews and Arabs against each other; and here at home, well, just watch the local news.
What is hate doing to us? And perhaps more important, what does it do for us? Is there something in us that loves to hate? Do we really understand its roots and are there practical ways to cope with it, to go “Beyond Hate’? Searching for answers to these questions took us to many places-into the streets of south central Los Angeles, where gang members scribbled their messages of hate on the walls of buildings. We followed a probation officer as he went on his rounds and interpreted for us the deadly code of these graffiti.
Jim Galipeau, Probation Officer: You see, the gang writing is the way they communicate to each other. These guys that are writing their stuff all over, they’re “dissing” them. Disrespect-that’s a killing “diss.” If they catch those two guys, they’re dead.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] We visited Jerusalem, the Holy City, where hatred and conflict are as ancient as the very stones.
Yoram Binur: Very frequently, you’ll find that hate is the glue that holds each ethnic group strong and ready to fight back and to fight for its existence.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In Portland, Oregon where one of America’s most strident voices of racial separatism was on trial.
Morris Dees, Southern Poverty Law Center: [in court] Now, Metzger said yesterday, in his opening statement, that he’s a small businessman. Well, he’s got most of the unusual businesses in the United States ’cause that business is making money on selling hate.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] We went to Brooklyn, New York and listened to a group of high school students struggling with the need to change attitudes.
Norman Siegel, Activist: We’re dealing with this ’cause there are so many young people full of hate.
Robert Lifton, John Jay College, CUNY: You cannot kill very large numbers of people without a claim to virtue.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] We talked to people who had studied hatred and its workings in the human heart.
Jerome Kagan, Harvard University: Hatred will be most likely to occur when groups holding different belief systems live close to each other.
Myrlie Evers, Widow: All of us are capable of hatred. It depends on the environment in which we live.
Robert Lifton: There can be pleasure in hating, partly because of its energizing function.
Walter Anderson: Hate is ill will seeking a victim.
Jimmy Carter: As we are taught to despise and hate these particular people, there’s a natural tendency for us to hate those-
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] And we attended a conference in Oslo, Norway, where dedicated men and women -politicians, activists, writers — confronted difficult questions about hatred. They had all seen hatred been its victims, its chroniclers. The meeting was the climax of a series organized by Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and author of many books on the emotional landscape of hate. There, I talked to the participants and heard them describe their personal experiences as victims and witnesses to hatred.
Nadine Gordimer, Author: Hate kills.
Romila Thapar, Jawaharlal Nehru University: There’s a point at which it accelerates. There’s a point at which it takes different forms.
Mairead Maguire, Irish Activist: Hatred is a form of death.
Jimmy Carter: Deprivation of basic rights.
Bill Moyers: Nothing about hate is simple. The closer you come to it, the more paradoxical it seems, presenting first one face, then another, but if we are ever to go beyond it, we must know it well. That’s what this program is about. At the start, I asked Elie Wiesel for his own working definition of hatred.
Elie Wiesel, Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity: It is when a person wants to aggrandize himself at the expense of the other. It is when a person sees in another person “the other.” It is when a person sees in the other person always the stranger -not even the enemy, but a stranger -which means that the only link between that person and the other is a link of suspicion and violence and ultimately death. Death is a link.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In south central Los Angeles, gangs rule the neighborhoods. To be from the wrong block or even to wear the wrong color clothing can make you a stranger and therefore an enemy.
Monster Cody, Eight Tray Gangster Crips: When you can control hate and turn it on and off like a faucet when and where you want to and regulate it to how much you want to use or how less you want to use, that’s a beautiful thing. That’s control. That’s discipline.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] To the police and to the public, gang members are criminals, but they see themselves differently.
Monster Cody: I’m in the army. I’m from the Crips. We’re army and people fail to realize that we are an army. We are an armed unit of soldiers, young, vibrant, a lot intelligence. There’s no doubt in my mind, I’m sure not in anyone else’s mind who was involved in this thing that we’re soldiers, that we are — belong to an army.
Jim Galipeau, Probation Officer: We’re on the track right now to having 700 gang killings this year. That’s almost two a day. At that rate, it won’t be long before every young person in south central L.A., as well as older people, has some intimate acquaintance who has been killed, seriously injured or their lives disrupted by a gang killing.
Monster Cody: I joined the Eight Tray Gangsters when I was II years old. For the first year, I was just a “wannabe,” doing things to try to tag onto the gang, to get known in this life. And I found out early on that it’s the most courageous acts of violence, the things that won’t no one else do that will get you a reputation.
Jim Galipeau: I remember when the Crips and the Bloods started. There wasn’t really that much killing at that time. What there was was one-to-one fights and initially, the Crips started stealing people’s leather jackets. The young kids don’t remember any of this. They don’t understand what it’s about. It’s just this was the legacy of hate passed on to them by their older brothers and their uncles and, in some cases, it’s getting to be their fathers.
Robert Lifton, John Jay College, CUNY: There’s an element in hatred that’s not frequently talked about that I’d like to suggest. It has to do with a sense of having survived something, having been victimized oneself and the hatred is then seen by oneself as an appropriate expression of one’s own survival and something deserved by the object of hatred. Even more than that, sometimes the hater can feel alive only when hating.
Monster Cody: To me at that time, the purest manifestation of power was to be in a car, a stolen car, with four weapons, with four people and high off narcotics and to be rolling through a enemy’s neighborhood-the surge of power that you get because you have life and death in your hands, because you’re carrying weapons and they’re not or even if they are, you get the jump on them. The satisfaction you get is knowing that you’re in control and at that age, it’s very easy to feel powerless because a lot of us are powerless, so we join gangs, as I did, for the power, to be able to say, “This is my crew, this my posse, these are my home boys and let’s go do this.”
O.G. Bone, Athens Park Boys Bloods: You’re kind of like a movie star in the inner city and even the guys what’s after you-
“Oh, that’s Bone,” you know, or, “That guy gots a lot of respect. We don’t want to approach him ourselves. We going to go tell somebody we seen Bone and let somebody who’s on his level approach him,” you know. And then some guys would try to get fame off of Bone, “Well, I’m going to kill Bone and I’m going to have stripes.” We call them stripes, you get stripes.
Monster Cody: What drives me is logic, my logic, which may be fostering a feud by hate, but it’s not the hate that drives me because hate blinds. What drives me is the logic that I’m right, I’m doing the right thing and what I do-when I pick my weapon up, I’m going to defend something I believe in that’s right.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] We discovered that those who practice hate, regardless of their race, must always find good reasons for what they do.
Tom Metzger, White Aryan Resistance: Hi. I’m Tom Metzger, your host for Race and Reason, the number one show of its type on cable access TV throughout the United States.
John Jewell, Staff Writer, “WAR”: Well, the white working man that’s down in the gutter now, they’re elevating all these Third World types in this country and shoving us, the white workers and farmers down in the gutter.
Tom Metzger: Well, I notice every government building you go in now is almost all non-whites in the offices.
John Jewell: Yeah, and where are the white guys? They’re out on the street with no jobs. They’re taking the lowest-paid things.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In 1980, former Ku Klux Klan member Tom Metzger ran for office in the 43rd Congressional District of California and won the Democratic primary with 37 percent of the vote. Defeated in the general election, Metzger, by the late 80’s, had founded a youth division of his organization. Its members included skinheads and neo-Nazis.
Neo-Nazi: We’re white racists and we believe in fighting for our race and we’ll defend it even to the death.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In 1988, three of these young fanatics beat to death an Ethiopian immigrant in Portland, Oregon and in 1990, Tom Metzger faced prosecution in a related civil suit, accused of having incited the murder.
Morris Dees, Southern Poverty Law Center: [in court] Now, would you hold this up front of the jury? And I’d like you to read that into the record, what that says and hold it up so the jury could see it and just read that to the jury.
Tom Metzger: [reads poster] “Coon coon, black baboon, /Brutal, worthless, thieving goon, / Often high, thrives in jail, / His welfare check is in the mail. / Some 40 offspring have been had, / Not one will ever call him, “Dad,”/ And yet, he hollers days and night, / “I blames de white man fo my plight.”/ Will overrun your homes and soon, / Dey be only fit fo dey black-ass coon.”
[interview] We’ve allowed a race of Negro people to go absolutely mad in this country, letting them have their way like little children to stomp their feet and claim discrimination, to destroy our cities. We’ve built high-rise incubators where millions of them are born that have nothing to offer this society of western man at all.
Robert Lifton: Hatred tends to be accompanied by ideology, by a world view which says that that group deserves to be hated. They’re bad, they’re evil, they’re dirty, they’re untrustworthy, they’re an enemy. One should hate them.
Tom Metzger: I think you first have to love before you can hate. Sometimes, people come to us who simply start out just hating and I say, “You’re probably not going to do much-be of much value to us or yourself because if you just hate and you don’t love first and have a reason to hate, then you’re going to consume yourself just in nonproductive hatred that gets nowhere.”
[in court] I believe the invasion of the Third World in this country is illegal, whether the government calls it illegal or not.”
[interview] We are pan-Aryanists. In other words, we have compassion -and here’s where the love comes in -we have the love for the Aryan people in Russia, Aryan people in eastern Europe, the Aryan people in Europe, in South Africa and Australia. And so, we look to the onward wellbeing and flourishing of that race of people.
Robert Lifton: There’s always a claim of ultimately contributing something noble to the world if one is to mobilize hatred on a grand scale and turn the hatred into killing.
Morris Dees: [in court] You have a telephone line that you put information on that your associates and skinheads can dial and can learn about activity of other skinheads around the country. What’s that called, Aryan Update?
Tom Metzger: That’s the Aryan Update-
Morris Dees: Aryan Update.
Tom Metzger: -and we have about 25 or 30 other lines that are similar around the country.
Morris Dees: I’d like to play one of your tapes and ask you some questions about it.
Tom Metzger: Fine.
[tape of “Aryan Update”] Dateline: Portland, Oregon. In the skinhead-Ethiopian confrontation, sounds like the skinheads did a civic duty and they didn’t even realize it.
Morris Dees: Metzger, does that refresh your memory? Did you state that Meesky had done a civic duty to the citizens of the United States to kill Seraw?
Tom Metzger: Well, that’s not the total statement. I mean, I heard the whole thing.
Morris Dees: Yes, sir. Now, answer that question. Are you denying your tape?
Tom Metzger: I said, “Sounds like they may have.”
Elie Wiesel: You read today Goebbels’ or even Hitler’s own books. They were convinced that whatever they were doing was for the benefit, for the sake of humankind. They know so. They were convinced that if they were to kill all the Jews in the world, the world would be a better world. And by the way, they were convinced that the world knows it because they would say to themselves and to each other, “Look, we kill Jews and nobody cares. Why does nobody care? Because this is for the good of humankind.”
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] For those who hate, humankind is their own kind. All others must be made to appear less than human.
Elie Wiesel: We weren’t human in their eyes. We were what they called “sub-humans,” and you don’t cry when a sub-human cries.
Bill Moyers: A beast, a mineral, an object?
Elie Wiesel: Not even an animal, but an object because what they tried to do — you know, I believe, in general, they had a theory. They really wanted to create a universe parallel to our own and therefore, in their concept of the universe, we were sub-human, unworthy of living. So what did they do? They shrink everything, let’s say-from the universe, we went to a country and a country to a town, from a town to a street, from a street to an apartment, apartment to a room, from the room to the cellar and the cellar to the train -it’s always smaller and smaller -from the train to the gas chamber. And then, the person who was first a person became a prisoner and the prisoner became a number.
Bill Moyers: And the number became an ash.
Elie Wiesel: Ash-and the ash itself was dispersed. But when you think of what they tried to do to us, they were relentless. They lost the war and they still wanted to kill Jews and to annihilate Jewish memory.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] But to divorce fellow humans from their humanity is not so easy. The victim must first be imagined as dangerous, a destroyer or, best of all, vermin, a source of contagion, to be stamped out where, in the cartoon logic of hate, caricatures masquerade as reason, thus easing the conscience of the killer.
Monster Cody: We deface the enemy, where he’s not even human, like the Vietnamese were called “gooks,” you know what I mean? You deface the enemy. You destroy him or his humanity in your mind first, so when you shoot him, it’s easier because you’re not shooting at him when you’re shooting a slob or you’re shooting a gook or whatever type of a name people put on people.
Bill Moyers: Defacing the enemy and, for a face, substituting a fright mask, is what every government does in time of war. The United States is no exception.
Jimmy Carter, Chair, The Carter Center: This inclination to justify anger or to justify conflict or justify an economic embargo or the orchestration of a war brings political leaders to denigrate or to condemn or despise or to dehumanize the opponents and they are, in effect, deprived of any sort of human redeeming characteristics.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] At the Metzger trial, this World War II cartoon of the Japanese beast turned up again, doctored now to serve his message of hate.
Tom Metzger: [in court] That was a picture taken from a United States government manual produced some years, a cartoon, and it’s talking about the “Asian Invasion” and then, here it shows the body of North American whites.
Morris Dees: You put that heading, “North American whites” down there?
Tom Metzger: Yes, I did.
Morris Dees: You put that in?
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] As the trial progressed, another facet of hate emerged, its power to make us see in others the demons we ourselves create.
Tom Mazzella, Former Skinhead: [in court) It was a whole different world once I entered Metzger’s world. It was like-it was-I’d walk down a street, you know, and I’d look at things. I’d see blacks and they all looked like monkeys. And I would look at Asians and they-you know, they looked, you know, disgusting. It was just like everything was just-you know, nothing looked real. They looked like, you know, bugs you can step on, you know, people, you know, that didn’t matter in this world.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] For people not to matter, sometimes, all you have to do is convince yourself that they are incapable of feelings like yours.
Nadine Gordimer, Author: When I was a young girl, I lived in a goldmining area. Now, as the miners, black miners, came up from the gold mine, off shaft, they had to pass through a gateway where they lifted their shirts and pulled their pants down a bit to show their backs. And then, anybody who had a cut went off to the First Aid Station. And there, I saw this man sew up the most enormous cuts, wounds, great gaping wounds like this, you know, with his big, hooked needle. These people were never given any kind of anesthetic at all and they were incredibly stoical about it. And when asked about this, he said, “Well, they’re fine. They don’t feel the way we do,” and I think that that attitude is hateful.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] But denying someone else his capacity to feel leads very quickly to a numbness in oneself.
Elie Wiesel: I think that they wanted to dehumanize the victim and in doing so, they dehumanized themselves, but at the beginning they were human. Their own acts, their own projects dehumanized them.
Bill Moyers: But one survivor said to me once, “I ceased to see human being and saw simply the cold, impersonal face of a highly efficient machine and how do you hate a machine?”
Elie Wiesel: Still-I imagine if I, let’s say, had to face, during the war, S.S. man one-to-one, if I had the power, I think I will just kill that S.S. man.
Bill Moyers: You would have killed?
Elie Wiesel: I think so, an S.S. man, if I had the power-if, if, if, if, I had been alone with him, I think I would have.
Medgar Evers, Civil Rights Worker: [at rally] We’ll be demonstrating here until freedom comes to Negroes here in Jackson, Mississippi.
Myrlie Evers, Widow: I literally wanted to get a machine gun and just mow people down, just take lives.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] On the night of June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers, a civil rights worker in Jackson, Mississippi, was shot to death outside his home. His widow, Myrlie Evers, experienced one of the curious paradoxes of hate.
Myrlie Evers: After they took Medgar’s lifeless body away and the police came and some neighbors came who were white and I walked outside of our door and saw the blood that had been wasted from his body and saw them standing there in uniforms, all I could see was the color of skin and I hated every one at that time who was white.
Hatred is such a strong force until I’m not sure that I would have existed without that hatred after Medgar’s death because it gave me a fire and a fuel to keep going. You know, perhaps that sounds very negative, but that’s a part of what hatred does. Perhaps we can say, in a sense, that it was very positive for me because if I had not had that strong hatred at that moment, I think I would have collapsed totally.
Bill Moyers: Healthy hate seems an oxymoron.
Elie Wiesel: It’s true. But it’s anger-if you replace the word “hate” with “anger,” then I think you would understand.
Bill Moyers: Can we do that? Is anger the equivalent of hate?
Elie Wiesel: No, because anger has some positive attributes to it and hate has not. Even hate of hate is dangerous.
O.G. Bone: You know, it’s kind of like a power source, a negative power source, you know. And eventually, down the line, it’s going to self-destruct you.
Walter Anderson, Editor, “Parade” Magazine: Anger can be a positive force. Hate can never be a positive force. Hate is ill will seeking a victim. There was a moment in Vietnam when this came to me vividly. It was after an action in October of 1965 and I was with a lieutenant and there were about a dozen dead Vietcong on the ground. I noticed one was smaller than the others and it was sandwiched amidst the bodies and I kicked over this little body and I said to the lieutenant, “My God, it’s just a boy.” And he looked and he said, “Yeah.” Just a child 12 years old -he couldn’t have been 12, he might have been 10 -that was attacking us and was killed in the process.
And it just had been maybe a minute or two later that a stretcher came by with a dead Marine on it and he was probably about my age. I couldn’t tell for sure because his face had been blown away. And in that moment, I felt hate and I was holding an M-14 and I thought about unloading the full magazine right in that child’s face. This is what I felt in that instant. Who did I see on that stretcher? I saw me on that stretcher. Now, for some reason -who knows why -I didn’t. I didn’t pull the trigger. I didn’t desecrate that corpse. What I did was get sick. Now, how could I hate a dead child?
Myrlie Evers: Hatred can become intensified to the point where it’s almost an illness and I did not want to become ill to a point where I could not turn around again, but it was something that I had to get out of my system. The sounds of “Dixie” being played on the radio raised all kinds of feelings of hatred. The voice of elected officials, particularly the Governor, made this heat from the pit of my stomach just rise through my chest and my throat and spew out. Or seeing the Confederate flag waving would make pounding headaches come that were almost consuming, all-consuming with me. That was hatred that was there and it was destroying me. It wasn’t the way to continue my life from that point forward.
And perhaps the most important part of the change came about when my three children looked at me in complete dismay and they would say to me, “Mom, but Daddy said we shouldn’t hate.” And I realized that I was giving mixed messages to them and I realized that that was something that I could not do to my children, nor could I do it to myself, nor could I do it to Medgar’s memory.
Bill Moyers: There is another kind of hate, a self-perpetuating hate that can consume the most ordinary people, people who seem to have no reason to hate each other except that they are neighbors, like the two feuding families in Miami Springs, Florida who, for more than four years, have been calling the police on each other.
Reader: [Miami Springs Police Department Offense-Incident Reports] Subject stated she was struck by witness number 2, who struck subject with a known vine or branch.
This officer asked witness if he wished Metro Fire Rescue to examine the victim. Witness observed above subject running towards his residence, pulling his pants back up. Unknown person had thrown trash across the front of the above address on the whole area. Complainant upset because subject put a sign up in backyard tree, stating, “Hi, Whore.”
Robert Lifton: One can become addicted to hating and therefore addicted to the target of one’s hatred. One needs that target in order to go on hating because one needs one’s hatred in order to go on feeling alive.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Such modern-day Hatfields and McCoys can be found everywhere in every type of neighborhood.
Reader: [Miami Springs Police Department Offense-Incident Reports] Tonight water was put on auto in garage. Then eggs were thrown by defendant’s daughter at house of complainant. The front door opened at Number 712 and the defendant came out and raised his arm-
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Sometimes, like other addictions, the addiction to hating can be fatal.
Reader: [Miami Springs Police Department Offense-Incident Reports] Two sounds like firecrackers and the deceased fell to the ground in the driveway.
911 Operator: Yes, Police Emergency.
Daughter: This is an emergency. My father was shot.
911 Operator: OK, go slow now.
Daughter: He’s dead, he’s dead!
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] When hatred is turned not against the family next door, but against the family within, what goes on behind closed doors may seem strikingly similar, seeing in another person the source of one’s own troubles and despair.
Abusive Husband: She became a thing inside of me that I hate. It was easy to focus on someone else. I wanted to kill her many times. I can remember screaming, “I hate you and I want to kill you.” I really felt that way.
JANE SESKIN, Certified Social Worker: Once every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States, a woman is beaten. That means 24 hours from right this moment, 5,760 women will be beaten.
Abusive Husband: I’d have a bad day at work. Instead of giving it to my boss, I’d come and pick at my wife and finally, she might say something back and I’d get real angry. That would be the grand explosion. “How dare you tell me what to do?” And I felt that I was-I know it wasn’t true, but I’d feel like I was pushed and I’d have to show her who was boss.
John Aponte, Victim Services Agency: But there is one characteristic that abusers share in common, is the ability to fix blame on someone else, to take it out from their internal arena and put it out on someone else. That seems to relieve their tension. It seems to establish their dominance because certainly, if I can put the blame on someone else for something I did, I’ve established who is the dominant force here.
Abusive Husband: I wanted to make her responsible for all the anger I felt inside. For everything that had gone wrong in my life, I wanted to blame her.
Bill Moyers: The victims of our hatred are often nothing more than scapegoats. Now, every society allows for scapegoats, real or fantasy figures onto whom we project our fears and nightmares. They are pilloried in comedy routines at the expense of convenient targets, targets easy to pick on.
George Carlin, Comic: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word “nigger” in and of itself. It’s the racist asshole who’s using it that you ought to be concerned about. We don’t care when Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy say it. Why? ‘Cause we know they’re not racists. They’re niggers.
Paul Rodriguez, Comic: And these people are hairy. They got hair in places monkeys don’t.
Bill Moyers; [voice-over] In attacks on those celebrities, a fickle public loves to hate. At sports events, rivalry can produce a kind of socially accepted, benign hatred. As it surges through the fans, though, how benign is it?
Elie Wiesel: The mobs are capable of hatred because then, hatred-then, it’s like a brush fire. It goes very fast and a person who belongs to that mob has difficulty not to join that mob in hatred.
Bill Moyers: We can sense that it isn’t individual hate that happens as much as it is the loss of one’ identity into a collective orgy that allows one to do something one would never do alone.
Elie Wiesel: But it’s hate.
Bill Moyers: You think it is?
Elie Wiesel: The orgy is hate.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Was it an orgy of hate or something else that caused the 1989 death of Yusef Hawkins. The black teenager was attacked and killed by a mob of white youths in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York. The event stirred deep passions over neighborhood boundaries.
1st Bensonhurst Resident: We go into their neighborhoods, we get beat on, we get chased out, but when they come here-what are they doing here at 10 o’clock at night?
2nd Bensonhurst Resident: Get a job!
JONATHAN RIEDER, Barnard College: Brooklyn is mixing the unmixable in ways that would test the limits and tolerance in most societies. People in Brooklyn are more likely to see themselves as members of tribes or communities. Their Italian-ness matters, their Jamaican-ness matters, their African American-ness matters and they often look out from within their little village and look -whether they look at people, when they’re trying to judge how safe or dangerous they are, what kind of neighbors they would make, how safe their neighborhoods are -in terms of the group they belong to. So people think in tribal and territorial terms.
3rd Bensonhurst Resident: God bless America. White Power!
4th Bensonhurst Resident: You’re a nigger lover.
Jonathan Rieder: The world of the outside is the world of strangers who are uncertain, unreliable. We do not know them. They are un-predictable, in some sense.
Elie Wiesel: But that is the worst part of the hatred, when the haters says that it’s not he, but the hated who is responsible, when the hater says, “I hate you because you come here. If you had stayed there, I would not have hated you.” That is terrible because to make the victim responsible for the suffering that is inflicted upon him or her, that I don’t accept.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Most of those accused in the murder of Yusef Hawkins were past students at New Utrecht High School and Principal Allen Liebowitz had himself been a student here. In response to growing tensions, he has now set up a number of special programs for his pupils.
Norman Siegel, Activist: All right, chart. When we’re walking-
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In this class, led by activists Norman Siegal and Galen Kirkland, students grapple with the anguish caused by the Hawkins murder.
Norman Siegel: When they call Enoch a “guinea,” Veronica a “spic,” what is that all about? Why do people do that?
1st Student: It’s sort of like they’re scared? I don’t really-I mean, I’m not sure of what, but it’s like just, you know, in the death of Yusef Hawkins, you’re like, “Well, you know, that could be me,” you know, and “I could be the next one.” You’re just scared.
2nd Student: Most people afraid of what they don’t understand. Like if you don’t understand-like if you don’t understand something about somebody else, you’re not going to-like, you’re scared of them, basically.
Norman Siegel: What do you think we’re afraid of?
3rd Student: I feel they could take over because like they’re afraid of takeover. Like they’re afraid-like my neighbor’s probably afraid that black people are going to-
Norman Siegel: Here in Bensonhurst?
3rd Student: Yeah, but a lot of teenagers-like because I have black friends and Puerto Rican friends, they call me names and everything ’cause I don’t go with them.
Norman Siegel: What kind of names are you called?
3rd Student: Well, I’m called “nigger lover,” I’m called “spic,” I’m called-you know, and I’m not even Puerto Rican or anything.
4th Student: Like when the Yusef Hawkins thing happened, right, they made it seem like that’s the only thing-
Norman Siegel: Who’s “they”?
4th Student: -that happened. I’m talking about the whole neighborhood. They made it seem like that was the only thing that happened in this neighborhood to make the media come here and everything, but things did happen and in this neighborhood and for the longest, but it’s just that nobody ever paid any attention. You go home and your face is bleeding, it’s your business, but what are you going to do? Come back to the neighborhood and do what?
5th Student: Yeah, just because he was black and he got slammed, he got killed, they made a whole bunch of thing about it, but if that was white person, nothing would have went-
6th Student: Yes, it would.
5th Student: It wouldn’t have been on the news.
Norman Siegel: OK.
5th Student: Because he was black, they had to make a big thing out of it.
6th Student: It would have been blown crazy out of proportion, that they would have had a black man who killed a white kid.
Norman Siegel: Go ahead, Brad.
7th Student: Well, what I feel is it did happen to Yusef Hawkins. It’s not the fact that he’s black or white, it’s the fact that a life was taken, not just a black person. It’s just that just a life was taken itself.
Alan Liebowitz, Principal, New Utrecht High School: If you’re living on your block and someone of a different color or ethnic or racial background comes in, the fear is there. You don’t hate that person-
Bill Moyers: Fear of?
Alan Liebowitz: Fear of what that person’s going to do to my neighborhood or my family. Blacks are going to do this, whites are going to do this. “This one’s going to assault.” “They all steal.” “They all rob.” That’s not hatred, that’s fear, so I think fear is what we’re really looking at.
Yoram Binur, Israeli Journalist: Living under these condition in a very hostile area, you become very afraid and the distance between fear to hate is very, very close.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Yuram Binur is an Israeli journalist whose experience as both hater and hated brought him to a personal breaking point.
Yoram Binur: I remember once I was an army officer stationed in the City of Ramallah. Because of some demonstration, the army decided to enforce a curfew over the city and during this tours in this other curfew city, I passed a house a near it was a kid going out. He broke the curfew. He was about 10 or II years old.
I caught this guy, this young child, in front of his parents who were in the garden of the house. I beat him up, I threw him on the Jeep and I took him to the military government. And I remember, not his eyes, but I remember the eyes of his father and mother. They were yelling from the house and they were hating me very much and for me, it was a breaking point or a point of change because this, for me maybe, was the most extreme and influential personal experience I’ve ever had.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Binur then decided to conduct a daring experiment. In an attempt to see his victim as another human being, he assumed the identity of a Palestinian.
Yoram Binur: Two and a half years ago, I went for about six months under cover, since I speak fluent Arabic. So I began living in a Palestinian refugee camp for a while and that’s how I kind of penetrated this world of posing to be a Palestinian. I worked in restaurants, I had an affair with a Jewish girl, I was a volunteer to a kibbutz, I went to demonstrations, I did many things as a Palestinian.
The case that involved the highest quality of hatred, if you can describe it so, involved a border police, the Green Beret they’re called. I tried to enter Ben Gurion Airport as a Palestinian. I know that there is a checkpoint there and I knew that usually Palestinians are hassled. Of course, the car was stopped at the roadblock. I was ordered to go down and he said, “Oh, you Arabs, you should be all killed,” like with his eyes red and he didn’t even open his mouth. But I could feel that this guy really, really hates me, but I must add to it that what I have experienced, at least, is not only hate. The worst thing that I witnessed, as a Palestinian, was being ignored, being nothing, even behaved to in a nice manner, but nice because you are not important, because you’re nothing, you can do nothing.
Bill Moyers: Is the legacy of hate too late for miracles now in Israel?
Elie Wiesel: Oh, in the Middle East, I’m desperate. I don’t know what to do. I know something must be done and therefore something will be done. It’s not even hate there. It’s everything. It’s everything. It’s fanaticism.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Fanaticism is the ugly side of some of the world’s great religions. In the name of love, for the good of the soul, they have practiced hate while invoking God.
Mahmoud Ayoub, Temple University: Religious leaders have used hatred often or, at least, used a tension of conflict between their communities and their opponents in order to increase religious fervor. From Luther to Khomeini, this has been the case.
Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam: Don’t I have a right to criticize Jewish behavior if I think it is incorrect?
Mahmoud Ayoub: Whether you believe in God or don’t believe in God, to say that whatever idea you have is the truth and everything else is not and if there is another ideology that seems to clash directly with your own, you are willing to portray it in very negative ways. So we decide who are God’s enemies and who are God’s friends and we all have a tendency to speak for God.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] “By warding off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work”-the words of Adolf Hitler.
Elie Wiesel: They wanted to reinvent creation and a new language was invented, a new attitude towards human being, a new God. An S.S. man was God. We had no right to look at an S.S. man in the face because you cannot look into God’s face and remain alive.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] To feel that you can usurp God and condemn God’s children to death, that is one of the most insidious but euphoric things hate does for us.
Minister [?]: [at demonstration] In the name of God and in the name of decency, do not put out this film.
Faye Wattleton, President, Planned Parenthood: Ignore our needs and treat women as though they are not a part of the human race.
Randall Terry, Anti-Abortion Activist: We’re going down to a killing center today.
Jerome Kagan, Harvard University: Everyone would believe there’s a set of standards that are right and each person thinks his standards are the correct ones.
Molly Yard, National Organization for Women: We are going to turn this country upside down because we aren’t going to take it anymore.
Jerry Falwell, Moral Majority: N-O-W, the National Order of Witches.
Demonstrators: [chanting] U-S-A! U-S-A!
Jerome Kagan: And when you decide on a set of beliefs, you naturally wish to believe that those, out of the whole set, are the correct ones.
Demonstrator: I think we should do away with gays.
Jerome Kagan: Moral outrage occurs when you see someone who holds a different set of beliefs. How can your beliefs be correct if this person seems to be functioning very well and holds an opposite set of beliefs? That’s moral outrage.
John Cardinal O’Connor, New York Archdiocese: Citizens of the same sex not only should not make love because it is immoral, they cannot make love because it is impossible.
Robert Lifton: One can feel good, strong, virtuous and self-righteous in hating. That self-righteous part is very important. If I can label you as bad, I can feel myself to be very good in hating you and the more I hate you, the better I am, the better I feel.
Andrew Humm, Hetrick-Martin Institute for Lesbian and Gay Youth: “I can’t understand,” people say, “how you could possibly like someone of the same sex. The whole world is straight and that’s the way you’re supposed to be. That’s normal.”
Skinhead: You know, you got these homos and lesbians and all this crap and that’s a good indicator of when your society is on the downfall is when you let the homos out of the closet, ’cause you can never accept them as an alternate lifestyle.
Andrew Humm: They feel that they almost have an obligation to beat this person up, to hurt them physically, wipe them off the face of the earth. They want to kill them.
Norman Siegel: A guy in Staten Island, OK -the one I was talking about before, James Zappalorti -he was a gay guy and
4th Student: Oh, man.
Norman Siegel: What do you mean, “Oh, man”? That was his sexual orientation.
4th Student: That was his. That’s that man.
Norman Siegel: Now, there were two white guys out there-
4th Student: I love women, personally.
Norman Siegel: -OK, but this guy- this guy who was gay was knifed and killed by two white people only because he was gay.
Galen Kirkland, Activist: Only because he was gay.
Norman Siegel: Is that wrong?
7th Student: That’s wrong. That’s wrong. I may not like his sexual preference, but why start killing him? He ain’t doing me nothin’ physically for me to try to hurt him.
Ivan Velez: I was raised in the Puerto Rican society in the South Bronx, you know, during the 60’s and-during the mid-60’s and stuff. And there’s a certain way you raise a boy. You raise him to be a boy, to be a man, a macho man, you know. And you push him that way and that way, you know, you keep him in line by saying, ”What are you, some kind of faggot, a sissy?”
Galen Kirkland: And shouldn’t we fight for the rights of gays and lesbians the same way we-
4th Student: I don’t know about all that now.
Galen Kirkland: Well, I’m asking a question- the same way we fight for the rights of people of different races and religions- is there any difference?
8th Student: Yes. We’ve already said that. It’s a little bit different because, OK, fine, they have the right to live their lives the way they want to, but me, personally, it’s against religion. A lot of religions are totally against it and they say it’s wrong.
Ivan Velez: It’s not something that’s wrong. It’s like being born with blue eyes or brown eyes. I mean, people hating-can you imagine? Yeah, I can imagine being hated because your skin’s a different color or your eyes are a different color, this and that and it’s totally wrong. And people should know that there are so many people who come out of the womb and they find out they have these feelings and they totally squelch their personalities and their lives just because of this one little factor of sexuality.
Galen Kirkland: If you see a gay couple, does that mean that they want you to be gay?
4th Student: You’re taking what I’m saying and you’re turning it around so-
Galen Kirkland: Well, what do you mean to say?
4th Student: What I’m saying is this world’s made for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, you understand?
Ivan Velez: If people don’t understand that we’re just-we are you. We’re your brothers, we’re your sisters, we’re your sons, we’re you, sons, we’re your daughters, we’re your best friends, we’re your neighbors, we’re people you’ve never seen before, we’re people you see all the time. We’re yourself.
Elie Wiesel: Do I hate my brother because he reminds me of myself or do I hate my brother because he reminds of someone who is not myself? So whom do I hate, the one who is me or the one who is anything but me? Ultimately, whoever hates, hates his brother and whenever one hates his brother, one always hates himself.
Bill Moyers: So we’ve seen hate at work. We’ve heard it described as both destructive and energizing, addictive, even pleasurable, a force that makes us see monsters where only other human beings exist. But the real mystery about hate for me is the source of it. How does it arise in our heart? Is it part of our genetic baggage or do others teach us to hate and what are the conditions that nurture it? For some of those who hate most fiercely, there is no mystery about why.
Monster Cody: And so it’s not that we’re victims of hate. We’re victims of a exploitive economic system, but predicated on hate, driven by hate, initially, but it’s so far in the stages now that hate is not even the point of-because there’s been just so little contact between us and them now.
John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard University: I would say that in New York and the other big cities — Watts in Los Angeles and Chicago West Side — the conflict there should be taken very, very seriously because it’s an aspect of the tendency for poverty — hopelessness to give its expression in violence. And when one moves to the poor countries of the world — Mozambique, Ethiopia, elsewhere in Africa — where people live with poverty, one there finds an intimate association between poverty and conflict.
Romila Thapar, Jawaharlal Nehru University: And let’s not forget that all these societies where you have this kind of intense hatred, it is not the poor that do the organizing of the hatred. The poor are the pawns in the game. It’s usually the middle levels that do the organizing and the mobilizing and then push the poor into a situation where, “It doesn’t matter if 200 are killed.” And if one looks at the figures of death, it’s not the middle class that is dying. It’s usually the lowest level of society that has been killed in riots and in physical violence.
O.G. Bone: It’s black against blacks, I guess, because of the separation of the neighborhood, ’cause we all in big shit-hole inner city. We didn’t just get here, you know, overnight. Now, in certain situations, in certain conditions the society has built up for blacks, it evolved to this point.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] But as we have seen, people can be well-housed and well-fed and still hate.
White Aryan Resistance Member: [handing out pamphlets] You look like a hard worker. This is a newspaper directed at the white worker.
Tom Metzger: What we’re involved in is simply proving that the dispossessed majority in this country have freedom of speech. If it takes going to a hall with a Sherman tank to have free speech-
[addressed audience] -is to build a strong organization that is unashamably [sic] working for what we perceive as the best interests of white people.
Robert Lifton: We’re at a phase of dislocation, historically, where people are uncertain about what to believe in. That can lead them to reach back into pre-existing hatreds, particularly when led by more or-less charismatic haters who take the initiative in organizing the hatred and molding it into a movement.
David Duke, Candidate for US Senate: [campaigning] If the civil rights of black and minorities are vital and important in this country, I think the civil rights of white people are equally important and vital and right.
Robert Lifton: You can get that kind of interconnection between the primary haters and ordinary people who themselves feel victimized and are hungry for a scapegoat. It can be very frequently economic duress, but it can also be some kind of social fragmentation or the loss of family stability, job stability, communal stability, all interacting social and economic factors.
David Duke: [campaigning] One reason why the welfare system is out of control is because we have a massive illegitimate welfare birth rate in this country. I mean, they’re literally breeding faster than they can raise your taxes to pay for them all.
Announcer: [Jesse Helms Campaign ad] You needed that job and you were the best-qualified, but they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt says it is. Gantt supports Ted Kennedy’s racial quota law that makes the color of your skin more important than your qualifications. You’ll vote on this issue next Tuesday-for racial quotas, Harvey Gantt; against racial quotas, Jesse Helms.
Bill Moyers: Children hate, too, though, and not because they are worried about job stability. It’s hard to ignore the message of that old, familiar song.
John Kerr: [“South Pacific”] You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. / You’ve got to be taught from year to year. / It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear. / You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid, / Of people whose eyes are oddly made,/ And people whose skin is a different shade. / You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, / Before you are six or seven or eight, / To hate all the people your relatives hate, / You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
Teacher: [South Africa, through interpreter] And now, the black people. What’s their skin like?
1st Child: [through interpreter] Dark skin.
Teacher: [through interpreter] Dark skin. There’s a difference in the eyes and the noses. The hair is crinkly and the noses are flat.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Some societies use hatred for politics and write it into their curriculum.
Newsreel Announcer: This is a victory of Mao Tse Tung’s thought and the victory of the general line. “Shout aloud with fervent emotion. Sing aloud with fervent emotion.”
Li Lu, Student Activist: “Hatred is the most beautiful thing in the world.”
Bill Moyers: What do you mean?
Li Lu: That’s what we were told in a Communist country.
Bill Moyers: “Hatred is beautiful”?
Li Lu: ”The most beautiful thing.”
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Li Lu was one of the leaders of a student movement that raised the Chinese “Goddess of Democracy” in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Li Lu: According to Marxism, class struggle is the fundamental motivation. They use the struggle, class struggle, instead of hatred, but it is the same thing.
Bill Moyers: Well, tell me from your own experience when you were a young man there, how did hate take its form? Who were you-
Li Lu: For instance, the kids in the kindergarten-just because the little kids fighting, they bit me just because one day, they know from one of our teacher that I come from a bad family background. At that time-
Bill Moyers: A bad family background means that you were-your family was supporting human rights.
Li Lu: That’s right.
Bill Moyers: So other little kids were taught to-
Li Lu: Right. They just beat me up.
Bill Moyers: How did they teach those other children to hate? They were just little like you.
Li Lu: Yes. Just imagine when you was a kid and you are told you should be proud of you because you’re a son of a worker, a son of a peasant, and a son of a Party member. You have to proud of yourself and as long as you’re grown up — grow older and you say, “Look at that kid, look at that family, they’re the enemies.”
It’s the same thing if you were born in Hitler’s Germany and you were born to think that you have to be proud of you because you are the real German and look at those kids who’s Jews. You’re born dirty, ugly, lazy, poison. Now, how do you feel, as a child? The same thing will happen to the black people, to others. All this hatred in the whole world is so much the same. They just try to tell you you are super and others are lower and the super have to kill the lowers.
John Jewell: [“Race and Reason”] It’s from my father that I learned these things. From the age of seven years of age, he started teaching me white racism, pride in the white race.
Tom Metzger: We’re embedded now. Don’t you understand? We’re in your colleges, we’re in your armies, we’re in your police forces. We’re in your technical areas. We’re in your banks. Where do you think- why a lot of these skinheads disappeared? ‘Cause they grew their hair out, went to college. They’re going. They’ve got the program. We planted the seeds.
John Metzger, Son of Tom Metzger: A lot of my ideas came from my father and I’m very proud of that and you know, I would let those opinions and my opinions go on to my sons and hopefully to my grandsons and granddaughters and daughters.
8th Student: It’s just like passed off from generation to generation.
9th Student: We are sometimes literally taught by our parents to hate. We have minds of our own. Who says that we can’t teach our parents?
1st Cartoon Character: Aah, Russkies. Next to a toothache~, there’s nothin’ I hate more than a Russkie.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] And there are other messages we send to our children when they are least expecting it.
2nd Cartoon Character: Until your nation surrenders to me, I shall execute your leaders one at a time .
PETRA HESSE, Wheelock College: Children’s television in this country frequently fosters the sense of foreigners and minorities as the enemy or cartoons basically convey to children that the enemy is an animal, is somebody who is from another country who has an accent and who is evil through and through, who is basically out to get you-
3rd Cartoon Character: Don’t move! You are all my prisoners.
Petra Hesse: -and that the only way in which conflicts can be solved with other groups is through violence.
Andrew Bard Schmookler, Author: We human beings have been socialized into civilized systems that are antagonistic, in a fundamental ways, to what we are by nature as human creatures. That war is the root, I think, of the problem of hatred because we externalize that war and instead of directing our rage and our hatred toward the systems that are injuring us, we are enlisted in those systems and need to find our enemy elsewhere. It’s like boot camp. If somebody on our side-the drill sergeant that humiliates us, that goads us, that provokes us, that inflames our rages and then, having unleashed and disciplined all that energy, the system then can say, “There’s where you vent your rage. There’s the enemy out there.”
Bill Moyers: And yet, in looking for an answer, we’re led further back, still, beyond school, beyond family.
Monster Cody: There’s always going to be hate because it’s a natural instinct in humans, in all animals.
Tom Metzger: We’re a part of the animal world. We keep trying to convince ourselves we’re not, due to religious mysticism and quackery, but we cannot escape our animal connections and we hate. Hate is a protective concept.
Stephen Suomi, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: The primate work tells us that there are certainly emotions that are carried across generations through the genes. Membership in an alien troop brands an individual as a potential enemy or stranger, simply by that membership in that other troop and it’s one of the means by which social groups keep their membership distinct from the rest of the world.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In these monkeys, Dr. Suomi saw behavior that could at times look like moral outrage against those who do not conform.
Stephen Suomi: In a troop of monkeys, if an individual transgresses against the rules, almost without exception, that individual will be attacked by the highest ranking members of that troop and individuals that consistently violate the social rules of the troop are not tolerated. They are either driven out of the troop or, if they try to stay around, they may be attacked, wounded and even killed.
There are also built-in mechanisms to defuse aggression. The most common is what is called “social grooming,” coming up to a partner or a previous enemy and manipulating the fur, ostensibly to be looking for parasites, but it’s really a primary that former antagonistic individuals use to make up.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] But as with humans, so with these monkeys. Emotions are channeled. There is a balance between what is learned and what seems innate. ,
Stephen Suomi: So that you can see, in a primate, expressions of fear or anger or joy or interest, much as you can see this in a child who is too young to speak. How those emotions are used, in what circumstances they’re expressed, in what circumstances they are curtailed, in what instances they’re allowed to run free is largely a function of individual learning.
Bill Moyers: If hatred arrives when we do, it is built deeply into our make-up and hard to remove. If, however, we learn it as children, we may one day have a chance to unlearn it. What is in our power is where we direct the emotion and how we express it, but this may be the hardest task of all. How is it done and what will it take on our part? .~
[voice-over] In Oslo, we asked some of hatred’s victims, what had they done with the hatred directed against them?
Mairead Maguire, Irish Activist: For me, non-violence is an absolute truth for the world today. It is a practical truth and reality.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Irish activist Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing a movement against violence in North Ireland. It was her response to hate.
Mairead Maguire: On the 10th August in 1976, my young sister took her three children out for a walk and a short time later, all three children were killed. And I went to the morgue and I seen her little daughter, Joanne [sp?], eight years of age, lying with her little baby brother beside her, only six weeks only, Andre, and I went to the other side to see John, two, dying. And I went to intensive care and the doctors told my brother-in-law, “Maguire, your wife is dying. We do not expect her to live.” Three children, my sister dying. My sister recovered, thank God. She had two more little children, but in January 1980, on a cold winter day, she took her own life because she couldn’t go on.
Bill Moyers: If you could meet the person or persons who did this, what would you say to them?
Mairead Maguire: The day my sister’s three children were buried, I went to see Lennon [sp?], who was the mother of the young IRA man, Donny Lennon, who had driven the car. Donny Lennon was shot through the head by the security forces and Lennon was heartbroken because she had lost a son. But her son was the product of a society where they had nothing to hope for, no dignity and somehow, driving a car and opening up fire on soldiers was an expression of their anger. I don’t want to see any more Donny Lennons having to be shot in the head by soldiers in my streets or any more Lennons having to suffer that, so I would say to any young man who passionately, passionately wants to change the world, I say to those young men, those young women, “Study non-violence. Use the techniques of non-violence to change your world.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Playwright Vaclav Havel, imprisoned many times for his speeches and writings in support of human rights, became President of Czechoslovakia in December 1989 after the overthrow of the Communist regime.
Vaclav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia: [through interpreter] I definitely remember and recall the hatred in my life from the time I was in prison. In one of the institutions I was incarcerated in, there was a prison warden who hated me almost pathologically. That is my most vivid memory of hatred directed at my person. Once he told me that he would like to shoot me if he could.
Bill Moyers: Did you feel any desire to repay hate with hate? Didn’t you hate him, even momentarily?
Vaclav Havel: [through interpreter] I’m not capable of really hating. Sometimes, there are people who bother me, drive me crazy, get on my nerves, but I don’t remember out-and-out hatred. My entire life, I have never experienced that and I think it has helped me very much because hatred, among other things, doesn’t allow you to see the world clearly and objectively.
Bill Moyers: How did you respond to it, to the guard?
Vaclav Havel: [through interpreter] I always behaved politely, nicely as a [unintelligible], the way I always behave, which made him especially mad. The reason I behaved that was because it was my nature and also because I realized it irritated him. I
Bill Moyers: If you could see him now, what would you say to him?
Vaclav Havel: [through interpreter] I would say, “Greetings, Kershowitz [sp?]. You would never have guessed, would you?”
Nelson Mandela, African National Congress: We who are congregated here today should reaffirm our undying love for humanity.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] For opposing apartheid, Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner in South Africa for 27 years. He was finally released in 1990.
Nelson Mandela: I have spent a long time in prison and wasted away the most productive years of my life. Those conditions would make any man very bitter and cause his heart to be full of hate.
Bill Moyers: Did you feel hated? Did you feel that you were the object of hatred or were you just a prisoner in an impersonal system carrying out the will of the State.
Nelson Mandela: There was a lot of cruelty which was practiced on myself and my colleagues. They were assault- I was never assaulted. You must also understand that the wardens who worked with us are themselves workers, are themselves human beings with problems, who are also exploited, the victims of the system. And one of our objectives was to insure that we improved the relations between ourselves and these wardens, helped them in their own problems and in that way, you forget about anything that is negative, like hate.
You are dealing with human beings and you wanted to live in peace with these people. You want them also to go and spread the same message to their own people as we want to spread to our own people. And in that situation, it’s very difficult to find room for hate.
Li Lu: Right now, I don’t hate ’cause I realize-I experienced this. I learned how to love for a long, long time.
Bill Moyers: How did you learn that?
Li Lu: I realized- I mean, it is extremely difficult to learn how to love. I remembered my grandfather, remembered this spirit, remembered one person have to set up this spirit to become a real human being. That’s the only thing I want to do in my lifetime, to be a real human being.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] The examples of people like Li Lu, Havel and Mandela speak of forbearance and compassion, qualities the rest of us acquire only through prolonged inner struggle. Sometimes, hate can be contained, quarantined or channeled from destructive paths by the enlightened self-interest of hard bargaining.
Jimmy Carter: Tragic how many of these conflicts continue because adversaries refuse to talk to one another.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel, encouraged by President Jimmy Carter, made peace through the step-by-step method of negotiation.
Jimmy Carter: Sadat was hated and despised and distrusted. He made a speech, saying he was coming to Jerusalem and almost overnight, he changed into a trusted international hero. Unfortunately, at Camp David, though, Begin and Sadat proved to be totally and personally incompatible. They just couldn’t overcome that feeling of being legitimately aggrieved against the other party. Despite my best efforts, they would resurrect the incidents that had occurred that caused the division between Israel and Egypt, going back into ancient history. After three days of my trying to get them to agree on anything, the three of us decided that they should not see each other anymore, so for the last 10 days at Camp David, they never saw each other. We orchestrated an environment within which dozens of Israelis and Egyptians on the two teams lived together, watched movies together, played chess and horseshoes together, ate together, had conversations together, walked together. But then, when we finally reached agreement at Camp David, Begin and Sadat embraced and then, the whole delegation embraced. So you can see the point I’m making is that relationships go up and down, but fortunately, they can change overnight. You can change a hated enemy into, at least, a reasonably trusted neighbor.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] Back in Brooklyn, where Yusef Hawkins was killed, the students at New Utrecht High are attempting, in their own way, a similar process of reconciliation.
Alan Liebowitz: The only way to really teach living together and to overcome that so-called hatred, as you mentioned, is by having kids work together. Peer Mediation is trying to teach the youngsters how to use the communication, rather than the violence, to think before you act.
1st Peer Mediator: The differences among other people-
Bill Moyers: Have you ever been pushed to the edge?
1st Peer Mediator: Oh, plenty of times?
Bill Moyers: Would you share some of those experiences with me?
1st Peer Mediator: Because of my weight, I get comments a lot and most of the time, I ignore them, but there are like sometimes I won’t ignore them and that could get me into trouble. There’s a hate for people out there who are so blind like that.
2nd Peer Mediator: Well, if you see me coming half a block away, you don’t even know like what color my eyes are, you don’t know my name, you know nothing of my culture, but just that fact that I’m black is enough alone for you to start getting angry while I’m still a half a block away from you.
3rd Peer Mediator: When I was in Junior High School, my friend-and I knew him for a long time, now he’s in jail. So we were playing basketball and I hit him with the ball by mistake and I said, “Sorry.” And he bust out, he say, “You stupid nigger.” I said-I, looked at him and I said, “My friend’s saying that to me?”
Bill Moyers: What do you call upon to deal with that hatred? What helps you?
3rd Peer Mediator: Well, myself. I say to myself, “Why should I hate for what I am? Why should I dislike what I was born to be?”
Bill Moyers: How have these mediating skills helped you? What, practically, have they done for you?
1st Peer Mediator: I have stopped making generalizations about people. Well, I won’t look at a group and say, “They’re all bad,” and give them a chance.
2nd Peer Mediator: As a mediator, you have to learn, I guess, a new way of thinking because human nature basically is to pick a side, favor one you like more and be judgmental.
4th Peer Mediator: Everybody feels like they’re right until they get to talking to each other and most of the time, by the end of the mediation, they’ll get an understanding of the other person.
Bill Moyers: How does that work? How do they get that understanding?
4th Peer Mediator: By letting them talk and listen to each other constantly, that just-it brings on an understanding.
2nd Peer Mediator: And what they have to realize is that we’re here- we’re here not to make judgments. We’re here to get them to sit down, open up their ears, listen to each other, understand what the other people are saying and find a way to get the conflict over with.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] No conflict has proven more intractable than that within Israel, between Jews and Arabs. Nevertheless, even here, some people refuse to let hope die and speak of peace. In Jerusalem, we met two teenagers, George who is Israeli Arab, Ariel who is Jewish.
George, Israeli Arab Teenager: Living in Israel as an Arab and in this situation, it’s really hard. Every day, I see my people in the West Bank killed. What I see that there’s a hatred between the people here, Arabs and Jews.
Ariel, Jewish Teenager: I think there’s a problem when two kids want the same thing and only one of them can get it. A lot of kids in my class think that the way to deal with this is to get all the Arabs out of here or to kill them if they don’t want to go out.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In 1990, George and Ariel went from Israel to Bedford, Virginia to join over 100 other teenagers from the world’s trouble spots. At the Legacy International Youth Program, they ate, played and talked together, trying to find out if it is indeed possible for them to move beyond hate.
J.E. Rash, Founder, Legacy International: The basic human need to understand one another and to be accepted by one another seems to take precedent over the moment-to-moment hostilities when they’re in an environment which allows them to feel secure.
Ariel: We still don’t agree on anything, but we still are very good friends.
J.E. Rash: And you find, as in normal conflict situations, each one will become more further entrenched in their position.
Ariel: I hate his opinions.
George: I feel angry and the anger goes-this feeling of hate, not hating him but his opinions.
J.E. Rash: If, however, they’ve heard what they’re being trained in, then they know what’s happening and they take a step, a very big step. They say, “Look, we’re not here to find the solution to the Middle East problem. We’re here to start to build avenues of communication and understanding which will inevitably lead to some solution.”
Staff Member, Legacy International: Three years down the road, Ariel comes to visit you in Nazareth in his military uniform and you know that he was serving in the West Bank. Now you say there is no problem if he comes to visit.
George: Then there will be problem, I think.
Staff Member: Why?
George: As I think now about every soldier in the West Bank — bad and it’s murder — maybe he will agree with them. I don’t think he will be the same Ariel.
Staff Member: Are you going to be the same, Ariel?
Staff Member: How do you think about the fact that George is going to look at you differently?
Ariel: I feel bad and second of all, even though we’re here three weeks, we’re three weeks together, we talked a lot about this, but we didn’t come to this point exactly and I did not-I don’t think that I explained him exactly my point on this.
Staff Member: You want to explain it to him?
Ariel: OK. I don’t agree with soldiers that abuse anyone, Arabs, Palestinians or whatever, but I-I think that when someone tries to kill me, I shouldn’t stand on the side, doing nothing.
George: Did you think why he tries to kill you?
Ariel: Yeah. I thought and-
Ariel: -I thought about that-
George: Why do you think-
Ariel: -and what I’m saying, that we should stop-we just we should stop both sides and start talking.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] The youngest are the most innocent and their response to hate is the most pure. At the Capitol Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., children come to learn about the Holocaust, read poems written by children who died in the camps and listen to stories told by survivors.
Nesse Godin: Maybe through my suffering I can teach and tell young people that this was wrong, you don’t do those things, you don’t hate.
[talking to children] November 5, 1943, I was 15 years old. That morning, when I got to the gate to go out to work, I saw trucks outside of the ghetto and all the people that were there that day had to gather to the gate and at the gate, a selection with the point of a thumb, a man, a Nazi, to the right, to the left, to the right, to the left. A thousand children through the age of 14 were shoved into those trucks and taken away. After the war, we found out they were taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz where they were gassed and cremated. That was called Die Kinder Akcion, the Children’s Selection.
Girl: During your speech, you said a lot about how people shouldn’t hate and everything, but don’t you find it’s like hard not to hate the people who were so cruel to you and everything?
Nesse Godin: I would be lying to you if I would say that I don’t hate the killers. Sure, if I would continue to hate every day of my life, would I be any better than those killers? You have to make sure that you change that cycle. If they hate, they kill. Then I’ll start to hate, then a cycle goes on. You break that cycle. Yes, I’ll never forget the Holocaust, but I’m going to teach people not to hate.
Bill Moyers: [voice-over] In coping with hatred, there are no miracles. This world is hard on believers and even the faith in progress that greeted our century has itself fallen victim to hatred armed with modern weapons and sent marching in the service of the state. Even when nations are at peace with one another, we are too often reminded of what hate can do in a single mind possessed by it. We have seen hate born of fear and hate speaking in the name of God and truth, hate holding up a distorting mirror to our fellow human beings. We have seen, too, that hatred is easier learned than relinquished.
Still, by looking at hatred honestly, by thinking and talking about it and sometimes, just by acknowledging our own capacity for it, we open the possibility of a moral response, the first small gesture toward seeing another as not the stranger, not the enemy, but simply another human being.
[on camera] There is a road beyond hate. It leads not to utopia, but to civilization, one step at a time, one person to another.
Elie Wiesel: I believe today that it’s possible for you or me or anyone to bring a moment, a messianic moment to each other. If I could simply bring a messianic moment into the life of one person, I think that my life would have been justified.
Bill Moyers: What do you mean, “messianic moment”?
Elie Wiesel: I mean to humanize destiny, to give that person man or woman or child, especially child -a different environment, a different way of looking at the environment, of finding truth without cruelty, without pain. That is a messianic moment.
This transcript was entered on June 25, 2015.