ACTIVITIES 2005 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

ACTIVITIES 2005 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

they they were were quite quite active active in the in the use use of violence. of violence. This This in itself in itself encouraged some some political political

sector sector of societies of societies to tell to tell the the story story in their in their media media through through the the lenses lenses of cultural, of cultural, religreligiousious or ethnic or ethnic divides. divides. The The arrogance of believing of believing that that they they were were the the only only owners owners of of

the the truth truth added added fuel fuel to fire. to fire. The The narratives of “us of “us and and them” them” of “true of “true believers and and

infidels” infidels” began began to seep to seep into into the the body body politics politics in several in several quarters. quarters.

These These kind kind of narratives of narratives could could not not but but lead lead to polarization to polarization and and worse. worse. They They did. did. It It

has has been been said said that that at the at the beginning of the of the 1900 1900 less less than than ten ten percent percent of the of the victims victims of of

conflict conflict were were civilians; by the by the end end of the of the century century that that percentage rose rose to be to almost be almost

90 percent. 90 percent. Civilians have have become become the the target target of choice of choice in today’s in today’s conflict. conflict.

The The extremists of this of this world world may may well well be a be small a small minority minority but but they they have have succeeded

partially partially in taking in taking away away the the agenda agenda setting setting role role from from the the majority. Furthermore we we

may may have have to consider to consider the the possibility that that some some of these of these extremists are are beyond beyond reach reach

and and cannot cannot be brought be brought into into an international an international discourse which which sets sets aside aside violence violence and and

confrontation of the of the most most basic basic kind. kind.

But But around around the the core core of extremists of extremists there there exists exists a pool a pool of sympathizers of sympathizers of potential of potential

followers that that have have yet yet to decide to decide what what road road to take. to take. They They are are young young and and carry carry with with

them them a sense a sense of humiliation of humiliation and and injustice. And And then then we we have have the the large large majority, call call

it the it the silent silent majority majority across across the the world world that that does does not not identify identify itself itself with with the the use use of of

violence violence and and the the arrogance of the of the monopoly of truth. of truth.

Perhaps Perhaps our our first first step step is to is give to give voice voice and and visibility visibility to a to large a large coalition coalition of the of the latter latter

group group that that unlike unlike others others has has not not yet yet projected the the image image of unity of unity or aor common a common voice voice

or even or even less less a cogent a cogent vision vision to call to call its own. its own.

It appears It appears to me to me that that the the coalescing of a of global a global majority majority of the of the “sane “sane of mind” of mind” as as

Prince Prince Hassan Hassan of Jordan of Jordan once once called called it is it a is first a first step. step. A coalition A coalition that that would would harness harness

the the basic basic commonality of the of the “regular” people people of this of this world world (those (those to be to sure be sure who who do do

not not feel feel that that a diversity a diversity is ais threat a threat per per se) se) and and would would be based be based therefore not not on relig- on religiousious

or ethnical or ethnical or cultural or cultural divides divides but but instead instead on those on those basic basic human human aspiration that that

are are so true so true for for the the young young man man in Jakarta in Jakarta and and the the old old lady lady in Montreal. in Montreal. Basically a a

better better future future for our for our children. children.

The The divisiveness among among many many peoples peoples around around the the world world has has unfortunately increased

rather rather then then decreased over over the the last last decade. decade. Again Again here here we we have have to go to back go back to the to the

concept concept of enemy: of enemy: coalition coalition has has usually usually been been build build around around a given a given enemy: enemy: but but over over

the the last last decade decade or so or the so the large large majority majority of peoples of peoples may may have have not not shared shared the the same same

priority priority when when it comes it comes to the to the new new enemy. enemy.

The The lack lack of shared of shared perception of what of what or who or who is enemy is enemy number number one one has has made made it it

more more difficult difficult to generate to generate the the coalescing of peoples of peoples around around the the world. world. Is it Ispossible it possible

to create to create a coalition a coalition around around positive positive rather rather then then negative negative concepts? Is there Is there a com- a commonmon

humanity which which transcends any any divides divides of culture of culture and and religion religion and and ethnicity?

Are Are there there not not values values that that are are basic basic to all? to all?

We We may may well well need need a shared a shared narrative. A narrative A narrative that that stems stems from from the the unavoidable

and and increasing interdependence of just of just about about every every body body with with everybody around around this this

planet, planet, based based on on common common aspirations of a of better a better future future for for the the next next generations

rather rather than than on the on the scars scars of the of the past, past, based based on the on the win-win win-win approach rather rather than than on on

zero-sum games, games, on the on the success success stories stories of peoples of peoples that that overcame hostilities rather rather

than than on a on re-telling a re-telling of stories of stories of failure. of failure.

This This continent has has embarked on a on new a new narrative for for its own its own society society over over the the last last few few

decades; decades; to a to large a large extent extent that that narrative has has been been successful in creating in creating a reality a reality

almost almost unthinkable only only forty forty years years ago. ago. The The focus focus of the of the narrative narrative has has been been the the

potential potential and and hopes hopes and and ideals ideals for for a future a future that that the the founding fathers fathers of Europe of Europe imagimagineine in their in their vision. vision. That That vision vision and and that that narrative have have taken taken this this continent where where

only only dreamers 50 years 50 years ago ago dreamed dreamed of going. of going.

As of As late of late louder louder voices voices which which would would like like to go to back go back to the to the old old narrative have have been been

heard. heard.

How How can can a narrative a narrative of the of the past past which which was was a narrative a narrative of exclusion of exclusion be realistically be realistically

accepted accepted when when interdependence at all at all possible possible levels levels is the is the unavoidable path path of of

global global society? society? There There will will be more be more immigration not not less, less, there there will will be more be more export export

and and import import not not less less there there will will be more be more travel travel of people of people not not less. less. The The ideologies of of

exclusion cannot cannot therefore prevail prevail they they can can only only create create more more conflict. conflict.

Instead Instead of responding of responding to what to what the the extremists do and do and say say the the global global majority majority may may

wish wish to set to its setown its own course course of inclusion of inclusion and and re-discovery of our of our common common humanity. A A

coalition coalition does does not not become become such such by being by being re-active re-active but but by setting by setting its own its own course course and and


To start To start with, with, we we may may consider consider going going beyond beyond describing our our own own identity identity with with one one

word word actually actually one one adjective. How How can can any any of us of be us satisfied be satisfied to describe to describe what what we we are are

with with one one word? word? Is it Isnot it not that that our our complex complex and and unique unique being being may may need need twenty twenty or or

many many more more words words to describe to describe our our identity. identity. And And yet yet because because our our past past narrative narrative dedescribesscribes identity identity with with one one word word that that word word has has taken taken us to uswar to war and and conflict: conflict: if we if we had had

used used the the many many more more other other words words which which are are really really needed needed to describe to describe who who we we really really

are, are, many many wars wars may may have have been been avoided. avoided. Why Why because because we we would would have have found found that that the the

“other” “other” was was actually actually a good a good deal deal very very similar similar to us. to us.

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