Date: Sat, 9 Sep 1995 10:10:19 -0400
Sender: Progressive News & Views List <>

/* Written by in */
/* ---------- "YEAR OF TOLERANCE" ---------- */
From: (UNESCO Liaison Office in NY)

Declaration by UNESCO's Director-General Federico Mayor on the United Nations Year for Tolerance

From UNESCO Liaison Office in NY <>

Paris, 30 Dec. - "The Cold War long justified the intolerable. So long as the world was divided into two camps, hostilities, violence and massacres were concealed or sanctioned. Today, we know, in a more transparent world, we no longer have the excuse of innocence.

"Today there are no longer any camps and the world is one. But alongside the joy and hope occasioned by the progress of freedom, democracy and peace, unhappiness continues to advance through the violence of ethnic cleansing, terrorism, cultural and religious extremism, genocide, exclusion and discrimination.

"Peace-keeping following harrowing confrontation, together with emergency humanitarian aid, monopolize international action and leave only very meagre resources for conflict prevention and peace-building. If one has not invested in time to avoid conflict - which is the best guarantee of success, all that remains is to try and repair and rebuild. Failure is much more expensive than prevention.

"Violence, especially when it imperils life, is inexcusable. How can it be justified by "religious" arguments when all religions are founded on love and generosity? Violence can and must be combated as such, as an affront to everything that makes for humanity in a human being and as the expression of an inability to move from dreams of hegemony to the reality of interdependence.

"From now onwards, the archaic culture of war must yield to the culture of peace - in which the cult of force and justification of competition will be replaced by the emergence of new horizons of human solidarity, the daily epic of freedom and justice, the sense of fellowship embracing, at once, human beings everywhere and generations to come.

"From now on, humanity must be able to devote itself to the safeguarding, restoration and construction of peace, through the creation of the necessary areas of dialogue, co-operation and reconciliation. There must be an end to violence. Yes to disagreement, no to violence. Yes to discussion, no to violence.

What is required by democratic principles - which must be consolidated every day - is neither docility nor submission. On the contrary, it is involvement in discussion, it is the expression of the ideals and ideas of all, with verve and perseverance. But this is not, is never, violence.

"If we wish to correct the asymmetry of our world, reduce the inequalities in the distribution of its diverse resources, we must not slacken in the fight against ignorance, poverty and humiliation. We must rather strengthen our efforts and pursue them unremittingly in order to counter hostile interests and correct shortsightedness, which is always a bad counsellor. But violence - never - never again.

"From now on, let us decree that citizens should no longer sacrifice their lives but rather live them; that the finest tribute one can pay to the dead of all the wars of this century is to preserve the lives of their children. From now on, in the conscience and behaviour of each of us, tolerance should assume its strongest significance: not simply the acceptance of others with their differences, but a spontaneous movement towards others, to know them better and to know ourselves better through them, to share with them, to extend to them the hand of fellowship and compassion, so that universal values common to all, are enriched by the precious individuality of every culture and every language, and by the irreplaceable creativity of every person."

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