Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

From victimizer to victim

A vain attempt to escape guilt and responsibility

We see victimizers playing victims over and over again, in a vain attempt to escape guilt and responsibility. This needs a name and recognition.

When an oppressed group explains how it has been hurt, others are often much too quick to highlight their own suffering. Often in a sort of jealous competition, minimizing the others asking attention for their victimhood, sometimes to even denying to have been their victimizers.

Everybody Gets Hurt on Our Way to Eternity

Everybody gets hurt. Part of life. If that is a valid basis to reject blame for past action and refuse responsibility helping to build a better future, no one would work toward a better world.

It is important for women and the whole of humanity that women learn to think and organize as feminists.

It is important for non-Whites and the whole of humanity that non-Whites learn to think and organize as anti-racists.

But if everyone only fights for their own just rights, little will change.

What is needed is that many people start specializing in being proper allies to other mistreated groups. Not because their own oppression is not important. But rather, because in their own liberation struggle they learned the value of having allies. And they recognize how their lack of alliance colludes with other oppressions and reduces their own lives.

As the Jewish mother to a queer son who always opens her lectures with: “As a Jew, I know what’s oppression. We must stop gay oppression.”

How different from: I know they suffered but we suffered more. Or: You think they suffered (from us) but we are the real victims here.

There is little pride in glorifying one’s suffering unless it leads to standing with all (including Jews!) other oppressed groups. Not because they suffered more. Rather, because in your liberation, you grew to understand the story of them. And you became intolerant of any and all oppressions.

This is extra vital when own victimhood has been used to deny own complicity in oppressing others. Denial of past evil is not a road to true pride; frank rejection of an evil past is. And so is committing to betterment.

Cultivated own victimhood is just another ugly excuse for egotism.

Minimizing our own part in oppression does not help. True, most Germans under Hitler were rather powerless citizens, but collectively, they stood for a lot of evil. True, most Palestinian Muslims were rather powerless people, but collectively, they buoyed a lot of hatred and violence against Jews.

Alliance with others is not only generosity and grace but also the ultimate path to redemption for all. Do you want to be free? Spend most of your time freeing others and we all will be. So use your own awareness on how unfairly life has treated you, to fight for others’ place under the sun. When you are an ally, you’ll have allies. But don’t have that as your motivation (or you’re back to being an egotist). Give freely. Then you will receive — all will receive.

Being allies is especially vital because the basics of how to oppress others are learned in childhood under the vicious — but often unrecognized — oppression of young people. (“You have enough freedom; now obey. Who cares what you feel?!”) Unless many grownups and young adults step in as allies, the next generation will learn to hate and oppress again.

NB: In all the above, I restricted myself to true suffering “on both sides.” How much more should oppressors stop using imaginary suffering of the oppressors supposedly caused by the oppressed! (Muslims claiming that Jews want to wipe them out; men claiming that women exploit them; etc.)

I started by writing that we need a name for perpetrators playing victim (instead of repenting and proudly taking responsibility). How about calling this: replacement victimhood. Let’s uproot it, first of all in ourselves.

About the Author
To subscribe to his daily blog posts, enable an "RSS Feed Reader" for your device. Then click on the circle next to the ToI blogger's picture, containing a dot with two quarter circles around it (the Feed Computer icon). * The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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