I had wondered for days what to write to commemorate the day. To honor it.
I had no clue.
I thought, perhaps instead of writing about it, I would post some photos.
But what kind of photos?
Photos of the tragedies as they were unfolding?
Photos of survivors?
Pictures of rescue workers sifting through rubble and ash?
Pictures of the make-shift bulletin boards where people posted photos of their missing loved ones?
Perhaps just a simple picture of the American flag.
I thought about what led to the events of the day.
In a word, hatred. Hatred for our differences.
And then it dawned on me. I wanted to say what I tell my children
yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, sometimes nearly hourly.....
We are a family. When someone is disheartened, we help to lift them up.
When someone is rejoicing, we rejoice also.
When someone has fallen, we extend a hand to get them back on their feet.
We marvel at the differences that we see in our little band of people. We celebrate our uniquenesses. We endeavor to see from the other's perspective and to understand things from their point of view.
When they seem to get that as it applies to our family, I attempt to teach them to expand that philosophy to larger and larger circles.
To our neighborhood.
To our school.
To our state, our country.
To. Our. World.
And so I happened upon this picture when I did a Google image search for tolerance.
And I love it.
And it is my hope for this world.
It is my hope for the citizens of my country.
It is my hope for school students everywhere.
It is the hope for my children.
Harmony in Difference
This was from an organization called UNPO when they set aside a day to celebrate International Day for Tolerance 2008.
Their website reads:
Our covenant regards Tolerance as the following:
'Tolerance is respect and acceptance of the rich diversity of the world's cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty; it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the virtue that makes peace possible. It contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace.
Tolerance involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism and affirms the standards set out in international human rights instruments. One is free to adhere to one's own convictions and accepts that others adhere to theirs. It means accepting the fact that human beings, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behaviour and values, have the right to live in peace and to be as they are. It also means that one's views are not to be imposed on others. '
And so, UNPO urges international powers to be Tolerant. Many of UNPO's Members face exclusion, discrimination and harassment purely for being 'different'. Ethnic minorities, defacto states and indigenous peoples are either forced to integrate or worse, obliterated in hopes that they will be forgotten.
Surely it is within each country's - and individual's - mandate to practice Tolerance? The election of the first African-American as President of the United States of America can be viewed as a benchmark and a positive omen for change. It also marked the capacity for tolerance in a society that has been considered intolerant in past times.
Human beings have an inherent capacity for Tolerance. International Day for Tolerance provides us with the opportunity to reflect on personal and political tolerance, what it means, and how to implement it.
The practice of Tolerance is both altruistic and rewarding - both necessary and possible.
International day of Tolerance:
UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance:
Wikipedia on Tolerance:
Developing Political Tolerance:
Pass it on......