Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Conformity and obedience to authority; What makes people do the unthinkable



“On April 4, 2004, a man calling himself officer Scott called a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky, U.S.A. He told the assistant manager, Donna Summers, who answered the phone, there had been a theft and that Louise Ogborn was the suspect. Ogborn, eighteen, worked at the Macdonald’s in question, and the man on the other line told Donna Summers to take her into the restaurant’s office, lock the door, and strip her naked while another assistant manager watched. He then asked her to describe the naked teenager to him. This went on for more than an hour, until summers told officer Scott she had to return to the counter and continue her duties. He asked her if her fiancé could take over, and so she called him to the restaurant. He arrived shortly after, took the phone, and then started following instructions. Scott told him to tell Ogborn to dance, do jumping jacks, and stand on the furniture in the room. He did. She did. Then, Officer Scott’s requests became more sexual. He told Summer’s fiancé to make Ogborn sit on his lap and kiss him so that he can smell her breath. When she resisted, officer Scott told him to spank her, which he did. More than three hours into the ordeal, officer Scott eventually convinced Summers’s fiancé to force Ogborn to perform oral sex while he listened. He then asked for another man to take over, and when a maintenance worker was called in to take the phone, he asked what was going on. He was shocked and skeptical. Officer Scott Hung up.”

Conformity in groups is an important aspect of human behavior. When we are in groups sometimes and most people conform to wrong decisions and outcomes just to be part of the consensus reached by that group of people even though it might be the wrong result and you knew that it was wrong.
For the past two years we have seen incredible inhumane acts being carried out by people that support the Syrian regime and we kept on asking, how someone can do such horrendous acts against other people.

I came across a chapter in a book written by David McRaney called “You are not so smart” which considers the psychology of the human behavior in an entertaining way. In one of the chapters it talks about conformity and how it affects us.

The story above is an example of conformity. The writer asks what makes a person follow the commands of another person they have never met or have any proof that he was a figure of authority.
To answer that question the author brings up an experiment that was carried out to demonstrate the effect of decision making in a group of people. In the experiment the groups were given a series of lines of differing lengths. They were asked to match the lines that were of the same length. In one group the majority were actors that were told to match lines that were obviously not the same length. One person was placed in the group to see how that person will react to the decision that group has made. In that experiment 75% of the people that at first disagreed finally caved in and went along with the decision of the group. Not only did they conform without being pressured, but when later they were questioned they seemed oblivious to their own conformity. When the experimenter told them they had made an error, them came up with excuses as to why they made mistakes instead of blaming the others.

The video below shows another experiment that was conducting in 1963 examine the extent of conformity people will go to.


The above video of the experiment was conducted in response to the Holocaust.

The experimenter in the above video wondered if an entire nation could have its moral compass smashed, or if conformity and obedience to authority were more likely the root of so much compliance to commit unspeakable evil.
The experimenter of the above video concluded that “his subjects, and probably millions others, saw themselves as instruments instead of people. When they became extensions of the person doing the terrible act, their own will was put aside where it could remain clean of sin. Conformity, therefore can be manufactured when the person looking for compliance convinces others they are tools instead of human beings.”

“..when you can see your actions as part of just following orders, especially from an authority figure, there is a 65% chance you will go to the brink of murder. Add the risk of punishment or your own harm the chances of conformity increases.”

Going back to the incident of Officer Scott mentioned in the beginning, the writer says that “by the time it was uncomfortable (for the people on the other end of the phone), the situation had grown in power. They feared retribution if they didn’t follow new orders, and once they had crossed the line in to territory their morality couldn’t condone, they phased out of their own personality and into the role of an instrument of the law.”

The writer finally concludes that we should beware of our desires to conform and that conformity is strong and unconscious. Although at times conformity makes things easier for us, especially when it comes to social conventions. However, he warns of the other side of the dark places conformity can lead to and adds “Never be afraid to question authority when your actions could harm yourself or others, even in simple situations...”


Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Battle of Damascus

The battle of Damascus has officially started today.

Last week the Free Syrian Army stated that it was ready to intensify its operations in Damascus. But that didn't spark the current situation as the FSA has been till then only defending the areas it was present in when regime thugs raided the areas or carried out other attacks. What has sparked the current confrontations between the FSA and regime thugs (Asad army and security thugs) is the attack that was carried out yesterday and the day before on the Palestinian refugee camp, Al Tadamon, martyring Palestinians and Syrians in the area.

Enraged by the act and the subsequent comments made by the foreign ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdesi (an idiot who said that Palestinians are guests in Syria and that they have behaved wrongly) protests have erupted in Damascus in support of Tadamon and other areas and cities being bombarded and attacked by the regime.

Predictably, the regime decided to deal with this upscale by the people of Damascus with an iron fist only to be confronted by the FSA, whom as previously stated have increased its presence in Damascus and its suburbs. A leaked document from Asad's Army General Command has given all security branches the right to use recently purchased weapons and armored vehicles where each branch sees fit to crush any protest they see. Document on the right in Arabic.

Clashes between the FSA and Asad thugs are reported in Qadam, Midan, AlQazaz, Nahr Aisheh, Sina'a, Dahadel Sayeda Zainab, Al Zahera, Yilda (Damascus Suburbs); whereas protests have erupted today in Midan, Rukn Eldeen, Baghdad Street, Aqraba, Kafr Souseh, Qoudsiya and many areas where protesters have blocked roads most importantly international road to Jordan (Deraa Highway). Images and videos below are from Damascus today, which show different areas where fitting between the FSA and Asads thugs are taking place.
















  

An Orphaned Revolution

Its been a long 5 months. The last time I posted people were doubting the existence of the Free Syrian Army, there were still people that believed Asad could turn things around, Damascus was a quiet place to be, Homs still had some streets that were not destroyed and we were counting the number of martyrs everyday. 5 months later we are now counting the number of massacres, Homs is destroyed and is under siege like the siege placed by Israel on Gaza, the Free Syrian Army controls 60% of the country, and Asad and his thugs have completely lost it and have gone crazy.

Yet there are still some things that remain the same. Those things that matter the most that Syrians hoped would have helped in removing this tyrant and help them in getting their deserved freedom. Arabs, muslims and the entire world remained the same. They talk, and Syrians die.

It has been extremely difficult watching things from far, we try to help where we can, but nothing can be compared to the sacrifices those inside the country have made. Those brave, righteous, steadfast, simply amazing  people of Syria, those that have taken to the streets to protest peacefully for change, and later on carried guns to take what is rightfully thiers, are the ones that will forever change the shape of this world. I am not exaggerating. The Russian foreign minister even said it himself, that if the Syrian regime falls there will be a new world order. This just shows the importance of this revolution.

The Syrian Revolution, probably the greatest revolution against the most tyrannical, fascist regimes that ever existed will prevail. Even though the Syrian people have been left to fight out their war alone against this regime that is supported by most of the nations in this world that would rather see this regime stay than have the Syrians create something that will disrupt their plans. Abandoned by most people, abandoned by Arabs and muslims all over the world, this revolution has become an orphaned revolution.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Malek Jandali Freedom Qashoush Symphony



Malek Jandali a famous Syrian composer who has been a supporter of the Syrian revolution, composes this new symphony based on the song that was written and sung by the martyr Ibrahim Al Qashoush. Qashoush's famous song "Go away Bashar" was a turning point in Syrian protests as the song set a new vibrant and explosive rythm and atmosphere to the protests. This is Malek Jandali's tribute to Qashoush who will forever be remembered for his huge impact on the Syrian revolution.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Songs of The Syrian Revolution



A beautiful voice from Hama sings for the revolution.

Can You Still Support?



The question is, can you still support Assads' murderous tyrannical regime with all this happening? Believe it or not, there are still people that do...

The Free Syrian Army is Real

A couple of times I have seen commentators on different news channels saying that the free Syrian Army doesn't really exist or is hyped up and is not wide spread as people may think. But there has been alot recently that suggests otherwise.

Even though, it is true that the members of this newly formed "Free Syrian Army" are not well equiped and probably are less experienced and less trained than Assads 4th division and Special forces units (that are the most loyal to this regime) they are definitely more motivated and a stronger belief in the rightuousness of their struggle. This is evident when we consider that it took Assads forces more than a week before they were able to enter certain areas of Homs.

Today Assads' army is bombarding towns and of Zabadani and Madaya located in the Suburbs of Damascus. This has been going on for nearly 4 days now and still Assads' army has not been able to enter  those areas. Even though it is said that this campaign is being conducted by Assads' elite 4th division led by First Lieutenant Abo Abdo, Mahers' right hand and operations commander. The following video shows fighters of the Free Syrian Army in Zabadani.