Extremism. Just by reading such a word various thoughts may come to mind. One might think of an ideology, maybe, linked to a violent form of conflict, but do you know how extremism expresses itself? Can we become extremists? What can be considered extremism?
A Wounded Soldier and His Comrade (1916) by Théophile Alexandre SteinlenNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Just like the atomic bomb was dropped with the intent of hurrying the end of the war and expending the loss of soldier’s lives.
A Scene from the Spanish War of Independence (after 1808) by Francisco de Goya y LucientesMuseum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Extremism, when in reaction to something common on society, may not have any bad intentions towards it.
But when in a revolt or a conflict, both parties easily resort to extremism, as civil wars and revolutions of this world so well showcase.
The French Revolution gives us the perfect example to understand this dynamic of political extremism and how it usually unfolds, more repressive and more extremist. While the revolutionaries bravely fought for their liberté, égalité, fraternité against the oppressive old regime, the kings they said for centuries had taken advantage of their people.
Revolution Holding the Head of Error and Striding over the Cadaver of Monarchy (circa 1893) by Jean-Alexandre-Joseph FalguièreLos Angeles County Museum of Art
The regime then instated, so contrary was it to the previous that it ended up falling into the same mistakes, in what came to be known as the Reign of Terror.
Eleven months of paranoia and extreme measures to ensure the victories of the French Revolution would not be threatened by counterrevolutionary movements.
The Martyr of Equality (1793) by Isaac CruikshankNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Revolutionary France would then witness massacres, lynchings and numerous guillotine executions of anyone that was seen as a threat to the revolution or seemly against it.
Severed head, said to be that of Maximilien-François-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre (1758-1794), guillotined July 28, 1794 (10 Thermidor, An II)The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The paranoiac Reign of Terror would only end with the execution of its leader, Maximilien Robespierre, his allies and anyone associated by a counter revolution, the Thermidorian Reaction.
LIFE Photo Collection
However, it only incited more violence in the people and throughout France constant attacks against those associated with the Reign of Terror became common during a period coined as the White Terror.
Napoleon at the Great St. Bernard (1801) by Jaques-Louis DavidBelvedere
Ten years later and the France would cease to be a Republic and revert to the old ways, to be lead by a single figure, Napoleon Bonapart.
Emperor Napoleon I (1769-1821) (c. 1807) by Jacques-Louis DavidHarvard Art Museums
First a devout of the Republic, a consul, then a battle proven general and consequently, in 1804, elected the Emperor of the French. An Empire which would last for a decade, only to be instated again in 1852.
A true republican France would only rise after 1870, a century passed since the first revolutionary fight. The conquests the French Revolution achieved for a democratic world are undeniable, yet for the french people it was not a century not of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ but of fear, uncertainty and recurring violence, instead.
Extremism, above all, dehumanises people. Human beings become nothing but collateral damage, worth as much as any inanimate object. Humankind has dehumanised its own regularly, either because of their ethnicity, their religion or their status. Certain humans become nothing more than an aim to achieve an end, no other purpose for them and, certainly, no right to a life.
LIFE Photo Collection
Slavery goes beyond murder, it objectifies human beings to unthinkable extremes.
Hollandse koopman met twee tot slaaf gemaakte mannen in heuvellandschap (1700 - 1725) by anoniemRijksmuseum
As in forced labor camps, people become resources, from which you take your profit and discard, as their utility diminishes.
The Slavery of the Israelites (about 1400 - 1410) by UnknownThe J. Paul Getty Museum
Sadly, throughout history, it would have mostly been regarded as something completely acceptable.
LIFE Photo Collection
Slavery was a common practice, not extremist, not against what was expected of society.
Puppet - "Cotton Picker" (c. 1936) by Vera Van VorisNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The people targeted would see their culture or ethnicity slandered as their own people were belittled...
Anti-slavery medallion, by Josiah Wedgwood (1787/1787)British Museum
Imprisoned to a life not of their choosing.
Hauntingly, slavery still exists virtually in every country. Illegally, human trafficking, under force, fraud or coercion for compelled labor, spreads everywhere, with intercontinental networks. In 2016, according to the Global Slavery Index, there were more than 40 million people under modern slavery, almost 25 million of those subjected to forced labor. 25 million people… More people than those that today live in Shangai, China.
Cotton-Mill Worker, North Carolina (1908) by Lewis W. HineThe J. Paul Getty Museum
The numbers increase substantially when regarding exploited children.
Sadie Pfeiffer, Spinner in Cotton Mill, North Carolina (negative 1910; print about 1920s - 1930s) by Lewis W. HineThe J. Paul Getty Museum
About 168 million children around the world are child labourers, almost three times more than the population of Italy.
And while we may rest our heads and think it’s all happening in a world away from us, we deceive ourselves. We are surrounded by products manufactured in that world, we fuel that world, we even fuel slavery and forced labour because that world is the same as ours.
LIFE Photo Collection
Behind our precious smartphones and their durable lithium ion batteries, stand the lost childhood of 35 000 children exploited in the Cobalt mines of the Republic Democratic of Congo.
Most of our clothes, for example, are factored in countries where employers have very little rights.
Where there isn’t any social control on employees conditions or welfare, no minimum wage or age to work
Take a look at your clothing’s tags: is any of them made in Egypt, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and China? If yes, then you can, most probably, thank a child or a wronged person, with excruciatingly long working hours and miserable paycheks, for such a cheap bargain.
As you see, you as much as anyone else, have a role in this terrifying practice, as it certainly does not stop on mining and fashion. The business world does not care for such details, the human drive for profit, to earn more and acquire more, makes it easy to ignore all the people who have to suffer for it.
Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890) by Vincent van GoghNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
And if it does not care for humans, how much would we expect for it to care for the environment?
Landscape with the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (circa 1520) by Joachim PatinirMuseum Boijmans Van Beuningen
EXHIBITION COORDINATORS:: Lúcia Rosas (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)
CURATORSHIP: Laura Fabíola Esteves Pereira (CITCEM), Lúcia Rosas (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)
TEXTS: Laura Fabíola Esteves Pereira (CITCEM)
PRODUCTION AND ORGANIZATION: DCTP/FLUP, CITCEM/FLUP & American Corners Portugal
SPONSORS: Embaixada dos Estados Unidos da América em Portugal / US Embassy Portugal ACP - American Corners Portugal
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Freer and Sackler Galleries
Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino
Kunsthistoriches Museum Wien
LIFE Photo Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Mafra National Palace
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Museo de San Marco, Florence
National Azulejo Museum
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
National Museum of Contemporary Art - Museu do Chiado
National Museum Soares dos Reis
Palace National of Ajuda
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Royal Ontario Museum
The Art Institute of Chicago
The J. Paul Getty Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The National Gallery, London
The Walters Art Museum
Van Gogh Museum
Coleman, Peter T., & Bartoli, Andrea (2003). Addressing Extremis. The International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR). The Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR). Available at: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/i/a/document/9386_WhitePaper_2_Extremism_030809.pdf
Schubel, Vernon J. (2017, Feb 12). “Religious Extremism:” Not an Excess of Religion, but a Lack of Humanity. Huffpost. Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/religious-extremism-not-an-excess-of-religion-but_b_589faaf2e4b0e172783a9d37
BBC. (2009). “Who killed Jesus?”. BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/history/whokilledjesus_1.shtml#findoutmore
Hassner, Ron. (2003, Feb). The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus: A Modest Proposal. Theory and Decision 54(1):1-32 Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5158777_The_Trial_and_Crucifixion_of_Jesus_A_Modest_Proposal
Todhunter, Andrew (2012). In the Footsteps of the Apostles. National Geographic. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2012/03/the-apostles/
Hulme, David (2005-2007), Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion. Vision. Available at: https://www.vision.org/messiahs-rulers-and-role-religion
Meeks, Wayne A. (n.d.) The Martyrs. PBS Frontline. Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/martyrs.html
Balasundaram , Franklyn J. (ed.). (1997). Martyrs in the History of Christianity. Delhi, India: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Available at: https://www.religion-online.org/book/martyrs-in-the-history-of-christianity/
Tabor, Margaret E. (1913). The saints in art : with their attributes and symbols alphabetically arranged. New York : E.P. Dutton. Available at: https://archive.org/details/TheSaintsInArt/page/n37\
Ainonen, Tuija. (n.d.). Saints in medieval manuscripts. British Library. Available at: https://www.bl.uk/medieval-english-french-manuscripts/articles/saints-in-medieval-manuscripts
Cline, Austin. (2019). The Crusades and Their Modern Impacts. Learn Religions. Available at: https://www.learnreligions.com/crusading-against-christians-249769
Dickson, Gary. (2010). The Chirldren’s Crusade: Medieval History, Modern Mythistory. Hampshire, UK: Plagrave Macmillan.
Manhattan, Avro. (1984, Jan/Feb). Unholy mother of Intolerance: The Inquisition. Battlecry. Available at: https://www.chick.com/battle-cry/article?id=Unholy-Mother-of-Intolerance-The-Inquisition
Stuchbery, Michael. (2019). Meet the mad monk of Florence, the man behind Italy's Bonfire of the Vanities. The Local. Available at: https://www.thelocal.it/20190207/girolamo-savonarola-bonfire-of-the-vanities-florence-history
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (s.d.). Background: Causes and Motivations. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Available at: https://www.ushmm.org/learn/introduction-to-the-holocaust/ethical-leaders/background/causes-and-motivations
Ezard, John. (2001, Feb 17). Germans knew of Holocaust horror about death camps. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/feb/17/johnezard
Phillips, Gervase. (2018, Mar 24). Antisemitism: How the origins of history’s oldest hatred still hold sway. The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/antisemitism-jew-jewish-racism-hatred-religion-origins-history-europe-a8246311.html
Holocaust Encyclopedia. (2019). Documenting Numbers of Victims of the Holocaust & Nazi Persecution. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/documenting-numbers-of-victims-of-the-holocaust-and-nazi-persecution
London Jewish Cultural Centre. (n.d.). The death camps. The Holocaust Explained. Available at: https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/the-final-solution/the-death-camps/
Steinfels, Peter. (2004, Nov 20). The Brutality of War, and the Innocents Lost in the Crossfire. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/us/the-brutality-of-war-and-the-innocents-lost-in-the-crossfire.html
Bible Gateway. (n.d.). New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition: Matthew 2. BibleGateway. Available at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+2&version=NRSVCE
Slavin, Erik. (2015, Aug 5). When the president said yes to the bomb: Truman's diaries reveal no hesitation, some regret. Stars and Stripes. Available at: https://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/world-war-ii-the-final-chapter/wwii-victory-in-japan/when-the-president-said-yes-to-the-bomb-truman-s-diaries-reveal-no-hesitation-some-regret-1.360308
Sakaguchi, Haruka, Moakley, Paul & Rothman, Lily. (n.d.). After the Bomb: Survivors of the Atomic Blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki share their Stories. TIME. Available at: https://time.com/after-the-bomb/
The Manhattan Engineer District. (1946, Jun 29). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Manhattan Engineer District. Available at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf)
Richmond, Ben. (2014, Jan 8). Reminder: There's Still Fall-Out from Nuclear Weapons Out There. VICE. Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ezv43z/reminder-theres-still-fall-out-from-nuclear-weapons-out-there
Kristensen , Hans M. & McKinzie, Matthew G.. (2015). Nuclear arsenals: Current developments, trends and capabilities. International Review of the Red Cross, 97 (899), 563–599. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-review-of-the-red-cross/article/nuclear-arsenals-current-developments-trends-and-capabilities/709BC90788B8D0212C142E8B715D8B2E
Silva-Grondin, Mallary A. (2010). Degrees of Violence in the French Revolution. Inquiries Journal, 2 (01). Available at: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/142/degrees-of-violence-in-the-french-revolution
Hafer, Jacob. (2016).Why the French Revolution Was Not So Revolutionary: A Brief Overview. The Histories, 3 (2). Available at: http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/the_histories/vol3/iss2/6
Datzberger, Simone (2013, Apr 19). Modern Slavery: Why dehumanizing the ‘Other’ concerns all of us. LSE IDEAS. Available at: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/ideas/2013/04/modern-slavery-why-dehumanizing-the-other-concerns-all-of-us/
The Minderoo Foundation Pty Ltd (2018), The Global Slavery Index 2018. Global Slavery Index. Available at: https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/resources/downloads/.
Kara, Siddharth. (2018, Oct 12). Is your phone tainted by the misery of the 35,000 children in Congo's mines?. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/12/phone-misery-children-congo-cobalt-mines-drc
Moulds, Josephine. (n.d.). Child labour in the fashion supply chain - where, why and what can be done. The Guardian. Available at: https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/
Hance, Jeremy. (2015, Oct 20). How humans are driving the sixth mass extinction. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction
Phillips, Dom. (2018, Nov 24). Brazil records worst annual deforestation for a decade. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/24/brazil-records-worst-annual-deforestation-for-a-decade
Parker, Laura (2015, Feb 13). Eight Million Tons of Plastic Dumped in Ocean Every Year. National Geographic. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/2/150212-ocean-debris-plastic-garbage-patches-science/