Tolerance A Guarantee for Survival and A Methodology for Life

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Zakiya Zadah

An international advisor of education

It is a sublime goal to seek tolerance among the people of the world. It means opening with a positive appreciation of others. This allows us to acknowledge and dignify the positive sides of their lives and personalities and to open our hearts to love and to accept others.

It is a man’s dream to live in a world where love and peace prevails, where noble principles and values that are based on respect and appreciation of others become sublime. It means, also, treating others as humans without considering any human spites and hassles, either individually or societally. A world where the concepts of dialogue, “tolerance’ and acceptance of others prevail and where there is no inclination to feelings of anger or to negative or non-constructive reactions. A world in which we establish sublime human relationships, by treating others the same way that we would wish others to treat us (do as you would be done), and where we accept others despite the disagreements they might have with us and the contradictions there might be in our respective points of view, in a manner that turns such disagreements or contradictions into occasions for achieving integration and harmony amongst us.

These are the values for which “Mahatma Ghandi” struggled and they were the firm foundation he endeavored to establish, on which to build a world full of love and peace, and free from violence, hatred and revenge. These are the same values too which Mandilla sought to dedicate his life, in order to achieve peace and tranquility for his country and its citizens, despite their differences and painful historical heritage.

It is “tolerance” which all of humanity calls upon, as the only means for achieving peace and for building fruitful societal relationships, based on love, respect, appreciation and acceptance. “Tolerance” is the most sublime of ways for eradicating disputes and wars, so as to achieve unity and solidarity, instead of continuing disputes which exhaust our abilities and resources, in negative engagements aiming at annihilating and debilitating the other.

The cultural heritage of the United Nations comprises several examples that bear witness to the transformation and shift in the conceptualizing of “tolerance”, from the level of a moral value to the level of a right legislatively stipulated in the Human Rights Code, and also to be the cornerstone for human rights, democracy, justice and respect for public human liberties.

The UN General Assembly, in 1996, approved the date of November 19th as the International Day for Tolerance. It called upon all its Member States to celebrate it every year. The Declaration of Principles, adopted by the UN General Assembly, asserted that tolerance is the only means that guarantees the survival of humanity, as long as diversity and difference are inevitably inherent qualities of human existence and human nature. The Declaration of Principles highlighted the definition of tolerance by removing misconceptions about it. Tolerance does not mean being indifferent or accepting everything without reservations Rather, it means respecting the diversity with which this world abounds, accepting it and compromising with regard to it. It is essentially “a recognition of the human rights of others”.
People might mistake “tolerance” for some other kinds of negative concepts and this requires that work be done at the educational level, to define the essence of and necessity for tolerance. Therefore, governments should play a vital role in adopting the meanings set forth in the UN Declaration of the Principles on Tolerance, through educational systems. This requires, necessarily, that reconsideration be given to modifying many educational curricula that are taught to junior learners which instill in them the spirit of fanaticism, close-mindedness and hatred.

Hence, it must be clear to everyone that “tolerance” is needed, if humanity is to survive and develop. Tolerance is needed, today more than ever, especially since the world is rapidly and effectively growing more expansive, affluent and diverse. There are also real challenges facing the prevalence of the concepts of tolerance, as reflected by increasing economic and social pressures. On the other hand, there are great opportunities supporting tolerance, including the telecommunication revolution, which makes the shift from the “local” to the “international” level at just one “click”.

Leading a life where the value of “tolerance” prevails is the stepping stone that allows nations and peoples to co-exist in peace and harmony, within brotherly and friendly atmospheres. In order to enhance and support this principle, we must instill the concepts and values of “tolerance” in the hearts and minds of young children. If we do this, we can prepare and support this value in the lives of a generation of youth truly believing in it (as a principle and a way of life). Childhood is the environment and the fertile soil, which, if properly invested in, will bring about great benefits and results.

We aspire to incorporate the meanings of “tolerance” within the activities, programs and plans of nations, peoples, governments, civil societies, and national and local private institutions. As a result, we will have a better world, where the opportunities for the aspects of peace, cooperation, dialogue and acceptance of others outstrip the aspects of disagreement, conflict, exclusion and bigotry. We have to bear it in mind, that tolerance – a profound principle, which exists in every doctrine, religion or culture – is not merely a means for preventing wars and violence; rather, it is a powerful incentive for creativity, innovation, renovation and discovery.


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