Basics of Tolerance

Elite manipulation of ethnic tension and Historic grievances of nationhood

Intolerance is not always and not even usually the result of centuries old conflict. Tension between groups, which may, in fact, have existed for ages, is manipulated by elites to achieve their personal, political and economic objectives.

Members of ethnic groups are compelled by leaders to focus on all members of another group as enemies. Loyalty to “own” group is tested by actions and attitudes directed against the “out” group. A battle over resources—land, water, mineral wealth—is made into a battle that requires that all members of the out group are defined as enemies of our group.

There is no basis in ethnically torn societies for resolution of these conflicts. The resource and power conflicts lead only to an allocation by group membership. The “out” group as a whole must get less than “own” group. All members of the “out” group must individually have less than members of “own” group. No other basis for the allocation of resources, political and civil rights, and political power is advanced or considered.

Where do we start to look for answers?

  1. Rights attach to individuals regardless of group membership.

  2. Nation is defined by political, civil, and economic rights. Nation is not defined by ethnic affinity.

  3. A shared understanding that rights are defined for each individual.

  4. Realization that existence of different people in society and their recognition, rights, benefits and progress does not restrict or limit anyone else.