The Lunchbox and the Bomb

Each anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reminds us that memory is not morally neutral. It leans towards good or evil, and four main perspectives powerfully shape every historical account: the benefactor or his beneficiary, and the malefactor or his victim.

To be the beneficiary of an action is less glorious than to be the benefactor, because it hints at powerlessness and dependence. But to be the victim of a crime is obviously more respectable than being a criminal. And while no one wants to be a victim, many people nowadays want to have been a victim: they aspire to victim status .

Victimhood confers a right to complain, protest, and demand. It is in your best interest to retain the role of the victim, rather than receive reparation. Instead of a one-time satisfaction, you retain a permanent privilege.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/b9RrUyV;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.