Religious and ethnic intolerance threatens to get out of hand; We can stop it
The family of nations is poised on the verge of religious and ethnic intolerance which is becoming the norm.
Western as well as non-Western societies have helped to pave the way to the abyss: the West by abandoning the principle of “Never again” forgive but remember “.
What is infuriating is the fact that the United States and Europe view events as individual crises rather than as a threatening pattern of developments. In doing so, they fail to recognize the structural problems that challenge Western values of democracy, tolerance and pluralism.
Balkan scholar Damir Marusic warns that “the whole edifice seems shaky. It feels like the order that we all have taken for granted since the end of the Cold War is breaking down and has become so fragile that it may well be shattered soon.
November 16, 2021 1:06 PM
Geopolitical battles are fought on the backs of innocent and desperate people. They fuel tensions and threaten stability in central and eastern Europe, and unleash a humanitarian catastrophe in places like Yemen and Afghanistan. An ethnic and religious divide characterizes the tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East transported by Belarus with the support of Russia to the Polish border. Ten British soldiers were sent to the border to help Poland with fencing.
Exploitation of deep-rooted religious and ethnic hostility led Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to threaten to withdraw Serbian troops from the BH army and create a separate Serbian force. Bosnia and Herzegovina was created as a federation at the end of the Bosnian war in the 1990s with Muslim, Serbian and Croatian entities enjoying autonomy. The federation retained control over the military, upper echelons of the judiciary and tax collection. Dodik said the Bosnian Serb parliament would also establish, in what amounted to de facto secession, a separate Serbian judicial and fiscal administration.
The writing is on the wall across the world.
Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have become mainstream. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims extend beyond South Asian borders. Sunni Muslims persecute their Shiite brothers in Afghanistan, risking clashes between the Taliban and Iran. The Christian minority at the cradle of the Abrahamic religions has been wiped out.
Men like former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican Jews in the United States have joined in thinly veiled anti-Semitic attacks on liberal philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros rather than isolate their political and ideological differences with the billionaire attacks tinged with religious prejudice and racism.
Likewise, French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour questions the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish army officer whose false conviction for treason sparked bitter controversy in the run-up to World War I. . Zemmour also dismisses the idea that French collaborationist warlord Philippe Pétain aided in the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps, instead claiming that Pétain had saved Jews.
Finally, China launched a frontal assault on Turkish ethnic and religious identity in the northwestern province of Xinjiang which has remained largely unchallenged in the Muslim world.
At the heart of the problem is not social media, but rather political, religious, ethnic and cultural leaders who play on their grassroots instincts in search of popularity and power.
Lebanon, Iraq and potentially Afghanistan are the consequences of the institutionalization and instrumentalization of religious and ethnic prejudices and intolerance to the detriment of notions of mutual respect, adherence to human dignity and coexistence.
Sectarian warlords plunder the Lebanese and Iraqi states and weaken their institutions. The recent violence in Beirut suggests that the protagonists, including former Christian warlords and Shia allies of Iran, are prepared to risk a second civil war to protect their interests, plunging a middle-income country into a spiral of widespread poverty.
In the long run, the solution lies in education systems that emphasize the importance of humanitarian and moral values as well as religious and ethnic tolerance as safeguards for governance and politics, and ensure that prejudices ethnic and religious attitudes and racism are socially taboo attitudes.
The short-term resolution of the problem will have to go through dialogue and negotiation. A recent study showed that John F. Kennedy’s decision to seek an arms control treaty rather than escalate a debilitating and risky arms race after the Soviet Union detonated the most powerful nuclear weapon of the world in 1962 succeeded where accelerated conflict may not have succeeded.
Applied to religious and ethnic intolerance, the lessons from Kennedy’s approach demand that governments and religious and ethnic groups that pretend to talk about interfaith and other forms of dialogue be held accountable, rather than ‘be allowed to rest on their laurels with empty promises and statements. .
Jon Grinspan, curator of political history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, argued in a New York Times editorial titled “The Last Time America Broke,” which the United States, despite a deep-rooted polarization that has brought religious and ethnic intolerance to the fore, has not passed the point of no return. He noted that civil society has repeatedly brought America back from the brink.
“We are not content to rush helplessly into an inevitable civil war; we can be actors in this story. The first step is to recognize the dangers inherent in democracy. To move forward we have to look back and see that we are struggling not with collapse but against relapse, ”Grinspan wrote.
This is a message that is as true for the rest of the world as it is for the United States.
Dr James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar and senior researcher at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.