Virtuous violence 

By Alex P. Vidal 

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” —Mahatma Gandhi

STILL on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Most interpersonal violence is really immoral, not just terrorist invasions like what happened in southern Israel on October 7, and Israel’s bloody revenge in the Gaza Strip being watched by people all over the world.

We can hardly hear anybody claiming that attacking and hurting someone else is an inherently moral thing to do.

When certain groups are violent, explanations for their behavior tend to invoke some sort of breakdown: a lack of self-control, the dehumanization of an “outgroup,” or perhaps sadistic psychological tendencies, according to an article, Can Violence Be Moral?, published in The Guardian after the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris on January 7, 2015.

This is a comforting notion or one that draws a clear boundary between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

But according to the authors of a new book, it simply isn’t an accurate reflection of how people actually behave: morality, as understood and practiced by real-world human beings, doesn’t always prohibit violence.

In fact they make the case that most violence is motivated by morality.

According to The Guardian, that’s the provocative thesis of Virtuous Violence, by Alan Page Fiske, an anthropologist at UCLA, and Tage Rai, a psychologist and post-doctoral scholar at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Their research has led them to the conclusion, as they explained recently in New Scientist, that “across cultures and history, there is generally one motive for hurting or killing: people are violent because it feels like the right thing to do. They feel morally obliged to do it.”

Those commonly invoked explanations for violence – empathy deficits, dehumanization, and simple sadism? They do play a role in violent behavior, the authors argue, but are rarely its sole triggers.


Hamas’ barbarism and atrocities in southern Israel and Israel’s dreaded ground counter assault in Gaza Strip soon are expected to turn Gaza into a graveyard, or huge cemetery in the world, and scores of non-combatant civilians, including children, women, and seniors will suffer brutal deaths.

But the widespread violence and tumult is also expected to produce another or more Malala Yousafzais.

At 17, Yousafzai was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception in 1901.

The young Pakistani girl who first gained international attention for being shot in the head and nearly killed when she was 15 by the Taliban, has been advocating for girls’ education since she was 11.

Malala started blogging about living under Taliban rule for the BBC in 2009. She later became a national figure in her country, appearing on television as a spokesperson for girls’ education.

She was aboard a bus in 2012, campaigning for education of girls in Pakistan, when the Taliban reportedly hijacked the bus and singled her out, shooting her in the head and the neck.

Malala addressed the United Nations on her 16th birthday and spoke of “the right of education of every child” on July 12, 2013.


She has already published a memoir.  In August 2014, “I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World” was published in the United States and was a #1 seller on Amazon.

She was pulled out of class in Birmingham, England to be informed of her award.

She has been living in England since being treated for her gunshot wounds.

She originally wanted to be a doctor.  Since her increased visibility, Malala has changed her career focus to politics. Her father used to be a schoolmaster.  Ziauddin Yousafzai ran one of the last schools to defy the Taliban’s orders to not educate girls. He has reportedly encouraged his daughter to be outspoken from a young age.

She was awarded over half a million dollars.

Malala split the prize money, $1.1 million, with her 60-year-old co-recipient, Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights advocate from India.

She’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize nearly two years to the day that she was shot.

Malala was shot on October 9th, 2012. She was reported to be in critical condition and not expected to survive.



—THE MOST EXPENSIVE PROSTITUTE AND A CORRUPT KING: Demetrius Poliorcetes, King of Macedonia, paid Lamia, a Greek courtesan 250 talents for sex. He made the people of his city raise the money. 250 talents is the equivalent of $64.9 million which means Lamia was the most expensive prostitute of all time.

—THE LEAST EXPENSIVE PROSTITUTES in the world are the Petrapole people who live on the border of Bangladesh. They charge as little as 10 rupees, which is the equivalent of $0.28. (Time magazine)

—Male bats have the highest rate of homosexuality in all mammals. Batman and Robin?

—GOOD THAT WE LIVE IN THIS GENERATION, NO MORE RESTRICTIONS! The early Christian church forbade couples from having sex on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays! (History of Christian Living)

—Half of the men raised on farms have had sexual encounter with an animal, according to research.

—IGNORANT ALL HIS/HER LIFE? Sophophobia is the fear of learning.

—FOREVER SINGLE OR OLD MAID? Androphobia is Fear of men.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)