Sergey Klimkovich, Minsk

Dehumanization happens when the object of persecution (as it is very often in political mass hysteria), ridicule or hatred, a living person, is equated with a useless thing or with a terrible and evil animal, for which does not need to be sorry if they are torn to pieces or slapped a little.

The ways and methods of dehumanization are very different. In Ukraine the word “colorado” was introduced as a byword for the separatists in the East and those supporting them, which comes from the Colorado potato beetle and of course must be destroyed. The image of an insect pest was projected onto living people, as a result of which the savage cruelty towards opponents with different views increased by an order of magnitude.

In Belarus this dehumanization was directed at President Lukashenko, onto whom the image of a “cockroach” was projected (this happened before the elections and the protests that predictably followed). Even the murder weapon was revealed to the public, “slippers”, after which the movement that started before the election and the beatings had already been named the “Slipper Revolution”.

All this would be funny, if it did not concern a statesman and a human being. This portrays the achievements of the country under Lukashenko’s rule as insignificant, something which is not even worth talking about.
The word “yabatka” has started to be used for supporters of the President and state symbols. Although it has nothing bestial of its own (it can mean simply “I am batka”, a nickname for Lukashenko), it has also a contemptuous, mocking, and therefore negative and repellent connotation. And this is already a step towards dehumanizing a huge mass of people. All this in order to make it easier to despise, hate, ridicule and, ultimately, easier to kill.

Dehumanization easily fits into the canvas of mass psychosis, because it provides some people with a convenient “shield” for one’s conscience, protecting them from remorse because of the kind of human suffering, turning off compassion and empathy for those who hold the opposite opinion on any issue.

Dehumanization devalues the object of hatred and contempt, makes it insignificant, non-existent and irritating. And everything that irritates should simply be eliminated.

A person who has accepted the game of “dehumanization” and has been drawn into it, will not be horrified by either blood, or terrible wounds, or the suffering of the “enemy”. Just as a butcher in a butcher’s shop has no pity for the rabbits being butchered, so the one who plays the “dehumanization game” will not feel anything for the one he calls to kill or goes to kill himself.

Dehumanization is a convenient tool for inciting one part of the country’s population against another, a savage and inhuman tool, because it is capable of turning those who until yesterday were normal people into psychopaths hungry for blood.