'Humanity out of control', says Dustin Hoffman

1st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 31 (AFP) - US actor Dustin Hoffman on Monday made a passionate plea for people to show greater humanity saying continuing conflicts and killings showed man had failed to tame his primitive nature.

PARIS, Jan 31 (AFP) - US actor Dustin Hoffman on Monday made a passionate plea for people to show greater humanity saying continuing conflicts and killings showed man had failed to tame his primitive nature.

"We know as a human being that from the beginning of history, part of being a human being is to destroy other human beings," he told a press conference in Paris called to promote his latest film "Meet the Fockers."

"The question is, in the 21st century, we have not yet come close to ... dealing with this aspect of human nature. We have no defence against it."

Tragedies such as the Holocaust, the slaughter of a million people in Rwanda in 1994, the lack of medicine to deal with the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the killing of children in Iraq showed we were failing to learn from the lessons of our past, said the double Oscar winner.

And the Jewish actor warned against talking about events such as the Holocaust in isolation, without looking at what else continued to take place around the world.

"I never cease to be in awe of the ability of human beings to render abstract events that are more horrific than can be imagined."

He referred emotionally to a press photograph he had seen of a six-year-old Iraqi girl whose parents had been killed by US soldiers, being consoled by the same soldiers.

"That is madness that we are seeing. It is the madness we are seeing of humanity out of control," he said, adding that American soldiers fighting in Iraq with no training had been placed in "an impossible situation."

"I don't separate the deaths of six million people from that little girl. Her life has been altered irrevocably forever. And I am just as emotional about that," he said, speaking just days after the world remembered the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp 60 years ago.

"Every society believes they are the modern ones, but we are only temporary ... and this doesn't allow us to face the primitive aspects of ourselves, that remain primitive."

Hoffman, a seven-time Oscar nominee who won twice as best actor for "Rain Man" and "Kramer vs Kramer", was in the French capital to promote his latest film, a comedy in which he stars alongside Robert de Niro, Barbra Streisand, and Ben Stiller.

He has already spoken out against US policy in Iraq, and on Monday urged people not to be complacent about global events. "A million human beings and in America it is a moment on the news," he lamented.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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