Thomas Kelley: Ominous list

July 1, 2013 

Ominous list

I write from Rwanda, where I am leading a UNC study abroad program that focuses in part on the horrific genocide of 1994. We have learned that more than a million Rwandans were slaughtered in less than 100 days. We also learned that the political extremists who perpetrated the genocide began by compiling detailed lists – names, addresses and professions – of political enemies.

It therefore was jarring to hear that in North Carolina the Civitas Institute, which gives voice to the extreme right wing, is compiling lists of political opponents, particularly citizens who have participated in Moral Mondays.

I do not intend to imply that extremists in North Carolina are planning to perpetrate systematic violence against opponents , but history tells us that extremists make lists of perceived enemies, and that evil follows. We do not have to wander as far afield as Rwanda for examples. Joseph McCarthy’s (fictitious) list of “known communists” in the State Department and Nixon’s enemies list come to mind.

Thomas Kelley

Professor of law, UNC-CH

Chapel Hill

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