Is Hatred Gonna Bring us Down?
December 31, 2012.
There’s all this hoopla that the world is going to end, that as the Mayan calendar runs out so will our time on Earth. But I for one don’t believe that God will incur his wrath (make that disappointment) on us, nor will the universe implode. If disaster does occur, it’s going to be man-made.
Listening to Christmas songs which boast that “Jesus came to bring us peace” and “Peace on Earth” as of late has turned me on to a sort of irony. Mankind has been fighting since day one, sure, but the fighting didn’t truly intensify until two things happened: 1. we became settled agriculturists (again, see Jared Diamond) and 2. the Religions of the Book (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were introduced. I’m not saying that these religions are wrong; what I’m saying is that the treasured peace that they talk about has never come to fruition.
The world today seems to be, if possible, more hateful than it has ever been in the history of mankind. Because we have divided ourselves up into nationalistic little countries, touting our own cultures and languages and figurative horns, we have become so egotistical and prideful that we cannot hear what the other side has to say. So what if our opponents say something that is rational and logical? We don’t agree (or don’t want to agree) so it’s better to make war, or impose embargoes, or other such niceties.
What happened to diplomacy? Since the world is more “global” today than ever before, our need for diplomacy and mediating is more important than it was in the days when only a handful of “nations” existed and word was sent out on horseback. The United Nations was created to aid in the process of globalization which, for better or worse, cannot be undone. So why the need to constantly point fingers? Why the need to constantly disagree with each other? We’re all human beings, aren’t we?
A cursory scan of any major news outlet–today I scanned CNN.com and lemonde.fr–would reveal our intense hatred and discord. Turkey has since accused France of “genocide en l’algerie” in retaliation for France’s condemnation of Turkey’s 1915 genocide against Armenians. Yes, they’re really taking issue about something that happened almost 100 years ago. Can Turkey just admit that the wrongdoing occurred and move on? No German is going to contest that the Nazi party commited atrocious acts, and no (sane) person nowadays is going to hold Germany in contempt for what a past regime which is long since gone had done. I’m not really sure why Turkey is getting so huffy over something that the current government didn’t even commit, that occured 96 years ago.
Besides the France-Turkey feud, there’s acrimonious and mounting tensions between the USA and Iran (killing a Saudi on American soil? Qu’est ce que le point?); the Syrian government continues to massacre its own people (I know civil war happens, but for the love of God, Bashar al-Assad, you inherited that position and it’s time to freaking step down!); Iraq is erupting in bombs and violence….after the USA has left (who are the insurgents fighting against now?); Vladimir Putin of Russia calls John McCain crazy for even suggesting thatthe gathering protesters in Russia could provoke a Russian version of the Arab Spring (apparently he doesn’t care about the people he’s set to lord over…again); even the UAE and it’s citizens were protesting against retailer Puma for putting the colors of the Emirati flag on a sneaker in honor of the UAE’s 40th anniversary.
Really? Aren’t there more important things to be worrying about? People need to put aside their cultural sensitivities (of which some cultures have more than others) and understand that they are not the only nation that walks this Earth. Perhaps the only light in the news was that North Korea, in the wake of the death of Kim Jong Il, has permitted South Koreans to come in to pay their respects. The fact that South Koreans would even want to come pay their respects to a man who symbolized North Korea’s secretive and odd stance in the world shows a great deal of diplomacy and respect for other’s on their part. Let’s continue to play nice, Korea!
It isn’t easy to stop the hate. But there are ways to combat it. Foreign language classes should be compulsory in elementary and middle school, as should international studies classes be at all universities, regardless of major or faculty. The news should present unbiased accounts of world events free from government influence (no matter how subtle, the news should not be controlled). Perhaps most importantly of all, parents should stop teaching their kids to hate. Peace doesn’t just come from the decisions of state governments, it starts from the common people.
If we want to have a peaceful 2012, a peaceful 2013, and many more peaceful years (of which we are long overdue) it’s time to stop the hate!
1. “UAE Flag Colors on Puma Shoes anger Nationals” on CNN. http://insidethemiddleeast.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/28/uae-flag-colours-on-puma-shoes-anger-nationals/