Evil is ugly. Worse, it is also banal. But there is more good, more beauty in our world than is there evil. Some years back, I met two Jewish brothers, about whom I was told that their parents had been deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. These boys, then six and four, were on the train with them, as it puffed its way to the death camp. The train halted for a few minutes in the night among the fields covered with high ripe corn. The older boy, taking the younger by the hand, jumped out and hid in the corn until the train went away. Then they walked among the corn stalks and coming into sight of a peasant's house, asked him for refuge, which he gave them. They hid there until liberated by the Red Army, a year or two later. The important point here is that the Polish peasantry is reputed to be anti-Semitic. Moreover, the Nazi occupation authorities had decreed that anyone giving asylum to a Jew would be liquidated with his entire family. This Pole had endangered his life and those of his wife and children in order to save two little Jewish boys. Anti-Semitism is of course cretinism. For example the French novelist, Louis Ferdinand Celine, writing in the earlier part of the twentieth century, claimed that "the Jews had prevented the evolution of Europe into a political entity, had caused all European wars since 843" (quoted in Hanna Arendt's Anti-Semitism p 49). One can laugh at it. But when this leads to massacres of persons on the basis of their birth, it is a manifestation of the extreme insecurity of the European bourgeois. Well, anti-Semitism is not the only source of evil. Recently I came across a book about eleven most evil men and women ranging from Caligula to Idi Amin. But Pinochet was missing, as was Franco. Apparently killing of the Leftist politicians is not evil. Caligula and Nero were obviously neurotics. But why include Attila in it? Driven by famine from an extremely ungenerous environment, he conducted war according to the rules prevalent then. Perhaps he is condemned as an Asian who invaded Europe. Torquemada showed what wide possibilities for sadism can misguided religious belief open up. Hitler was capable of violent hatred at a primitive level. But an important part of the European bourgeoisie supported him. Who answers for that? Stalin killed millions, which includes the killing of more communists than the rest of the world put together - and all this in the name of an extremely attractive ideal. But is any ideal worth so much killing? Then there is Ilse Koch, who made lamp-shades from the skins of those killed at Buchenwald, or Countess Bathory, whose sadism was not connected to any social philosophy. She tortured young servant girls by the thousands to death and often killed virgins in order to use their blood to prevent the formation of wrinkles on her face. The common factor here is the victims' utter helplessness before the sick sadists. They say the consciousness of one's strength adds to one's courage. It can also bring out his cowardice in full measure. But why do we read such stories? Is it to feel good that we are not like those bad persons? Maybe. But we are also happy that the mankind's long journey is from ugliness to beauty, from pain to happiness. The writer is a former ambassador