Active Dissenters: Rescuers of the Persecuted
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The question of what motivated rescuers in situations of genocide is one that is vital to answer. These courageous people, who I deem “active dissenters,” exemplified moral fortitude and spirit in times when it seemed like there was none to be found. In this essay, I explore what motivated these active dissenters, and what made it possible for them to take action against genocide and for human dignity. I argue that what allowed certain people to rescue the persecuted members of society in these situations is two-fold. First, all of the active dissenters seemed to share a type of moral identity, which made the saving of other humans a moral imperative, rather than a choice. The development of a moral identity, however, is not enough. A person may develop an identity that allows them to recognize the need to rescue another human being, but they may not have the means to do anything about it. The rescuers also had the resources necessary to help.