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Tolerance… Nothing but Tolerance

Tolerance… Nothing but Tolerance

Saturday, 4 September, 2021 - 10:30

That is what the world needs today, especially amid all that has happened and continues to happen in it, from conflicts to disputes, intersections of interests, and wars. It is in need of a moment of contemplation and relaxation to push it to think of humanity’s place, human beings’ worth and the planet that brings us together without passports or restrictions.

All eyes are on Afghanistan, and no one knows the direction things will take for sure or what the Taliban’s policies will be in the next few days. Will this Taliban differ from that seen two decades ago? There are fears of Afghanistan becoming a haven for radical groups and a center for reproducing a new, mutated image of terrorism. That is why the Taliban is being put to the test today, and they are facing major challenges. The international community is monitoring their behavior and dealings, evaluating their actions, and thus making a judgment on them.

Religiously indoctrinated radical groups’ culture and behaviors on the ground have created confusion around the concept of Islamic Sharia law in the West, which shuffled the cards and left Sharia associated with the actions carried out by terrorist groups like ISIS.

Moderate Islam disapproves of proposals hostile to the West; indeed, it advocates the concepts of coexistence, forgiveness and dialogue. Islamic Sharia has been championing them for a thousand years, and Western civilization now calls for these same concepts in a world that has become more harmonious and interconnected.

Calm, deep and objective thinking clears the mind and is the foundation for perceiving and judging things. That means dreaming of a new world that aspires to create a climate of coexistence and peace, as shown by civilizations’ proximity to each other in the modern era, making dialogue between them more pressing than at any point in human history. Willpower remains the key to cultivating human happiness, if we are being honest.

One day, a well-groomed man stood before Socrates, bragging about his appearance, so the famous philosopher tells him: “Speak, so I can see you.” As if to say that the value and position of a man, what distinguishes him, is his thought, mind and behavior. What matters here is not the appearance, grooming and aesthetics, but knowledge, content and structure. The truth is that discrimination, derogation or prejudice on the basis of gender, color or race, is intolerance, a devaluation of this human being and a violation of their rights; it is frankly abhorrent racism that entrenches discrimination.

The world cannot be stable so long as we do not strive to spread the spirit of forgiveness, coexistence and peace all over the globe. The promotion of this discourse on the popular level pushes the countries of the world to entrench the principle of tolerance, rendering it part of its cultural context and leaving people focused on what they share, enhancing closeness between human beings and rejecting the discourse of force, intolerance and discrimination.

The actions being committed on ill-founded premises, the scenes of violence, horror and murder that many countries have witnessed over the past few years, are shameful and painful to watch. You can go through your memories of the past few years and contemplate the state of our plant. You would find images of extreme violence, the smell of death and gunpowder, and scenes of blood and limbs.

These ugly and prevalent actions cannot be confronted without real engagement that proposes initiatives and anchors the concepts of diversity, respect, pluralism and tolerance of differences and unless every effort is made to promote the idea of civilizational tolerance and to translate it on the ground through programs and mechanisms set by international organizations and the relevant authorities in each country. Thus, through the spread of this message, this generation and future generations can live in harmony, as this enlightened thinking that promotes human solidarity and builds bridges of cultural communication.

Acts of violence, regardless of the faction, cleric, civilization or religion behind them, are unacceptable. These actions cannot be justified or excused under any circumstances. For they are unequivocally against man’s humanity and the sanctity of life. Even hatred remains a repulsive sickness that leads to unthinkable, selfish and heinous behavior. I say this with a heavy heart, but presenting the bitter reality is what reveals the truth. A culture devoid of tolerance creates dysfunction and social schisms. It reflects a schizophrenic state of affairs, leaving life separated from life and thus without its tastes and beauty, which affirm life’s value.

Realizing the implementation of the concepts we have reiterated here requires that people become upstanding rather than seeking their benefit. Being upstanding here means being just, that is, being able to balance personal convictions with acceptance of divergent ideas, creating a formula for leaving space for engagement and the exchange of ideas between the two sides.

Habituating people to respect divergent opinions is a necessity that brings tolerance and coexistence to life. It requires peoples, elites and international organizations to launch a movement of epistemological criticism of culture and thought, which can redetermine those relationships that link them to one another.

It is not a luxury today, but a necessity needed for solidifying the principles of tolerance, cultural pluralism and acceptance of the other, with all that it implies in terms of building a world in which tolerance of a multitude of cultures, especially since the pandemic changed the face of the world and left peoples feeling closer to one another. Their concerns and problems shrunk in the face of the pandemic, which imposed a new reality on them, a new way of life and human communication.

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