Take a stand against hatred
| Danial L Shields, Ambassador of the United States of America |
HATRED is the source of many atrocities. Open the pages of the newspaper or turn on the television and you’ll see real life stories from around the world, detailing campaigns of harassment and violence against groups of people because of their ethnic, racial, religious, or political backgrounds.
It can be disheartening when we see conflict blossoming around the world. Should we throw our hands up and resign ourselves to humankind’s endless capacity for cruelty? It can be tempting to give up and believe that there is nothing we can do.
But we must move past our doubts and insist there is a future of hope. We must join together to oppose violence against people.
Insisting on a people’s basic right to life is the core intent of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrated on January 27. The United Nations General Assembly created this commemorative day to remind us that we, the citizens of the world, must prevent future genocides.
Today, I urge people everywhere to fight back against hatred. Make this a day where kindness and charity triumph.
It is easy for us to act lovingly towards our family, friends and colleagues, so I challenge you to take a moment today to do something nice for someone who is a stranger to you, and maybe looks, thinks or prays differently than you.
It can be as simple as letting another car turn in front of you while you pick up your children over the lunch hour. Let the mother with a tired baby have your spot in the queue at the grocery store. Speak kindly to someone when you would otherwise be frustrated or impatient. Even giving a warm smile of understanding to a stranger can make a difference.
These gestures may seem small, but, as many religions teach, saving one life can be the same as saving all humankind, and being kind can make a positive difference in the world.
The path to genocide prevention is to stamp out the hatred that says another person is less than our equal, less than human. We are called to respect one another and acknowledge that people have the right to life, no matter their ethnic, racial, religious or political backgrounds.
Hatred is hatred, no matter who the victim is. Today, let us claim a victory for peace and harmony and take the first steps towards a future of hope by practising small acts of kindness towards one another.