The enemies of humanity
For millennia, human kind has tried to find a dependable way to distinguish friend from foe. Determining the real intention behind a handshake or the real agenda behind a seeming friendly invitation is still as perplexing today as it was in the Stone Age. Not all friendly people are friends and not all interesting people have your best interests at heart. On the other hand, being confronted by an unfriendly, intimidating or antagonistic person does not necessarily mean you are staring your enemy in the eye.
Unfortunately, most of human kind solves this predicament through racist and nationalist beliefs, religious intolerance and social class discrimination. We judge people by their external appearance as if that is the main determinant of who we are and who we can potentially become. We choose friends that look like us and alienate people that look different than us. We are so wrong and we know this but it seems we cannot help ourselves. After thousands of years we are no closer to solving the friend-or-foe dilemma.
Current global events have made it quite clear by now that the biggest enemies of humanity are not groups of people identifiable by external constructs such as nationality, race or religion. Today, more than ever, our enemies cannot be identified by race, gender, religion, geographical location, personal attire or socio-economic level. That is because they cannot be classified by how they look on the outside, but what they fundamentally believe in on the inside. The enemies of human kind have formed borderless groups living in different countries and continents, forming alliances that transcend race, gender and sometimes even religion.
The only way to identify these groups is by calling out intolerant statements. Closed-mindedness often corresponds with open-mouthedness. Prejudicial individuals cannot help but spew their hatred in whatever format is available to them (mostly online and mostly hiding cowardly behind pseudonyms). I know that we have been brought up to respect everyone’s opinions and belief systems, even if they are insensitive and upsetting. However, I think that the time has come to change our opinion on the tolerance of all opinions and beliefs*.
If you believe that it is right to murder someone else just because they do not share your religious beliefs, your belief system is wrong. If you believe that some people are less valuable than you just because they are from a different race or gender, your belief system is wrong. If you believe that it is moral to have personal assets worth billions of dollars while millions of people don’t even have food to eat, your belief system is wrong. If you believe that there is nothing wrong with raping someone because of their dress code, your belief system is wrong.
Furthermore, if you are associated with a certain group and someone behaves in a racist, sexist or intolerant way, it is up to you to speak out against them. If not, you are just as much part of their belief system. It is up to African countries to speak up against the anti-homosexual laws of their fellow African nations. By not speaking up, they are condoning their behaviour and contribute to the persecution of gays. It is up to Islamic Leaders worldwide to speak up against the fundamentalist crimes perpetrated in the name of Islam by their fellow believers. By not speaking up, they condone their behaviour and form part of the web of terrorism. It is up to White (and Black) citizens to speak up against the racist comments and behaviour of their fellow White (and Black) peers. By not speaking up, they condone their behaviour and provide a breeding ground for racism.
All around us, within our midst, the enemies of humanity are festering murderous thoughts and feelings towards other human beings. Their thoughts and feelings are based on hatred and are not formed by the desire to find the truth. Their disgust for others has tortured their belief to the point where it has become bereft truth.
This is why one needs to be wise and brave when standing up for the truth. Finding the flickering of Truth inside a viewpoint that seems totally void of truth is nearly impossible. One should listen with wisdom to find the truth and act with conviction when there is no truth. We should only tolerate the opinions of people that genuinely and without agenda pursue the truth. We should not tolerate people who want to bully us into submitting to their opinion with no desire to find the truth in other viewpoints.
*I fully appreciate the practical dilemmas of these statements. After millennia of contemplation and deliberation, human kind has still not come up with the perfect answer to balancing individual freedom with societal well-being. The big challenges are the impacts of subjectivity and relativity with regards to opinions and beliefs. However, I am one of those people who believe that universal truths exists and that with every generation we discover more and more of these universal truths. We just have to be brave to confront those beliefs that still linger after they have proved to be a danger to humanity and either change them or discard them.