02/02/2017 - Studium Generale Lecture 'The Evil and the Trump of Good Deeds' - Eduard Nazarski

Lecture: 'The Evil and the Trump of Good Deeds'

Philosophers are there to understand evil. An organization for human rights is there to change evil. In the work of Amnesty International you get plenty of opportunity to think about evil. People do things that are bad for other people for various reasons. Greed, jealousy, lust for power, fear, anger or frustration, sometimes those actions are justified and sometimes they are just looking for a reason.

Look at the war in Syria, the persecution in Turkey, the drug violence in Mexico or the stranglehold of Eritrea. There is no fund of harm from which you can withdraw, like with shares of the stock exchange. There is no dark cloud of evil that suddenly descends on mankind. There is, in the words of Hannah Arendt, “the banality of evil”.

For those who want to change the evil are two things required. Firstly, that we understand as much as possible of all the causes in which people threat each other. Secondly, and at the same time, that we mobilize what can be done better. There is a much greater potential for the good than there is for evil, for Nazarski there is no doubt about that.

Nine out of ten people live in relative peace with their neigh­bours, the ones close to them. A society has a huge inventory of trust, so we can feelsafe. Evil is the exception, not the rule. Nazarski will talk about the remarkable ways in which evil is being resolved. By human rights defenders, Witte Helmen, Soldatenmoeders and Lawyers for Lawyers. Through the massiveness of an action or a petition. To outdo the banality by keeping your head cool and having an involved heart.

Bio - Eduard Nazarski (Roggel, 1953) became the director of the Dutch department of AmnestyInternational in 2006. Previously he worked for 15 years at the Landelijk Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk, and was chairman for the European Council on Refugees and Exiles(ECRE), a European umbrella organization of 65 refugee organizations in 28 countries.

Poster for the KABK Studium Generale lecture with Eduard Nazarski on 2 February 2017
Studium Generale lecture series poster design by Gilles de Brock

Students react to the topic of Eduard Nazarski's lecture 'The Evil and the Trump of Good Deeds'

Installation by Suyoung Yang for the Studium Generale lecture 'The Evil and the Trump of Good Deeds' by Eduard Nazarski on Thursday 2 February 2017
Installation by Fine Arts student Suyoung Yang

Reading tips by Eduard Nazarski:

  • Hannah Arendt - 'We Refugees' uit 1943. The quote on Human dignity is from The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1973, p. ix.
  • Bram de Swaan - article on 'Identification & disidentification'
  • Leo Lucassen en Henk van Houtum - Voorbij Fort Europa, 2016 (in Dutch). Up to date info on asylum in Europa at AIDA
  • A recent book in English is Patrick Kingsley, The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2016.



2 februari 2017 16.00 - 17:30


KABK Auditorium