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In the “Swallows of Kabul” by Yasmina Khadra, or Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul, one of the things that most caught my attention was this idea about being swept up in a mob mentality. We see this occur in the story at the very beginning when Mohsen attends a public stoning of a woman and participates, throwing a stone that gravely injures the woman. When I first read this part of the story, I felt incredibly uneasy and incredibly unsettled, particularly because Mohsen himself tells his wife “It was as though I’d been taken up by a whirlwind… just because the crowd was shouting, I shouted with it, and just because it demanded blood, I called out for blood too. Since then I can’t stop looking at my hands, and I don’t recognize them anymore” (36-37). Moreover, This point was also heavily discussed in the NPR interview between Moulessehoul and an NPR in which, Moulessehoul comments “Mohsen is depicted as a fragile human being that can be easily be swayed by mob hysteria and can be transformed into a simple grain of sand in the wake of a terrible storm…”  (NPR). This idea of the power of the “mob mentality” is one that is too familiar in every sector of the world–In examples that are all too familiar, the Holocaust proves to be one of the major examples for the confusion of how so many people could let such horrible things occur. The tyranny of the majority and the ganging up against somebody are common themes that arise during prejudice and persecution. For example, even in the past century there had previously been several exclusionary acts against Asian Americans and the granting of citizenship to them.

In my art piece, I did a flip book animation with a stick figure man running and being struck by a “snowball” (thus representing the snowball effect) and added sound effects/ manipulated the timing using iMovie. I kept the stick figure and the snowball incredibly simple and plain so that they can represent any culture any geographical location and any situation. The concept behind this piece (and inspired by Mohsen being swept up by mob mentality in “The Swallows of Kabul”) is that it is incredibly difficult to get away from the snowball effect–it is incredibly easy to get swept up by the tyranny of the majority! We all need to be incredibly vigilant and aware of our surroundings and check ourselves to ask at all times–are we doing what we think is right and what we believe we need to do or are we simply goats following the herd?