What is meant by this is that taking another man's life becomes easier the more often you
do it. If it only becomes easier after already killing once, how does one manage to
succeed in committing that initial murder? By studying events in history, most historians,
psychologists, and criminologists believe it is through a process called dehumanization.
1Dehumanization is the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them
seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatments. In his novel Faces of
the Enemy, Sam Keens describes the different personas people use to demonize their
enemies. Keens believes that by refusing to acknowledge the enemy as a human being
and viewing them solely as "the rapist", "the savage", "the subhuman", etc., people are
able to commit murder, and other such crimes. This process is often used during war,
where soldiers are taught to dehumanize their enemies so that they may feel justified in
killing them and are free of guilt. Consequently, learning to dehumanize not only makes
it easier for soldiers to kill their enemies, but torture them. By feeling their actions are
justified, soldiers are free of remorse, and are motivated to exceed simple murder. This
eventually leads to whole armies being encouraged to commit war atrocities such as
violating the human rights of a nation, committing war crimes, and causing genocides.
An army is unable to commit war atrocities, such as these, unless some process of
dehumanization occurs. Thus, war atrocities are the result of dehumanization. This can be
examined through the genocide in Australia, the genocide of Herero and Namaqua, and
the genocide in Bangladesh.
When Britain began their settlement in Australia in 1788, they used
dehumanization to ethnically "cleanse" Australia of its Aboriginal inhabitants by viewing... [continues]
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