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International Day of tolerance: Are you tolerant ?



YEARLY, November 16 is is marked as the International Day of Tolerance and a great opportunity for us to think back and recall how tolerant we are of each other within our communities. Permit me to ask, how tolerant are you? When was the last time you had a different perspective than one of your friends and accepted it? When’s the last time you’ve had to learn something about someone else’s culture or religion and embrace it?

The day of tolerance is actually a day for deep reflections on how tolerant one is as an individual. It was started by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, with the goal of getting educational institutions and the general public to see tolerance as a staple of society. And it came after the United Nations declared a Year for Tolerance. In November 16 1995, UNESCO created the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance as a way to define and provide awareness of tolerance for any and all governing and participating bodies. Now, as an anniversary of that Declaration, and the day is celebrated to help spread tolerance and raise awareness of any intolerance that may still be prevalent in the world today. Although we should be tolerant every day, it’s always good to have one occasion to remind us just how important tolerance is.

Additionally, UNESCO created an award to recognize those with great achievements in promoting the spirit of tolerance or non-violence in fields such as science, culture, and the arts. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize and the UNESCO International Day for Tolerance both recognize that tolerance is a universal human right.

As a country with over 250 ethnic groups and two major religions Christianity and Islam, aside the African traditional religion, tolerance has been a major challenge. The country’s underdevelopment has been blamed on divisions based on ethnic, religious, cultural, traditional, and geographical affiliations and this trend has resulted to violent killings and clashes leading to destruction of lives and properties. Aside insurgency and terrorism, intolerance is the cause of the country’s woes and challenges.

The timeline and historical origin for International Day of Tolerance from UN sources is as follows; in1915 a human rights icon, Gandhi returns to India from South Africa to help his homeland fight for freedom through non-violence and tolerance, 1963

a dream is born,

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, is established while in 1995, the birth of a day, The International Day of Tolerance is created as a way to commemorate the passing of The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance.

This day is very significant and should be promoted and celebrated in Nigeria. The Nigerian media, print, electronic and social media have a social responsibility to beam issues of tolerance asva panacea for national development on their front burner. People talk a lot about many social problems in the country but many analysts view intolerance as a major setback to Nigeria attaining development status like its counterparts in the developed world. There is clearly acts of intolerance in families, religious places of worship and work, social circles and just almost everywhere. Nigeria’s diversity is supposed to be her strength but the diverse ethnicity and religious differences sometimes becomes a cause for intolerance.

The dictionary defines tolerance as refraining from interfering with, or prohibiting something undesirable or outside one’s own practice or beliefs. Tolerance day is therefore meant to draw our attention to the dangers of intolerance.We need tolerance in the family, with our spouses, children, extended family and the larger society. Many of us seem to have failed in instilling tolerance in our various homes. We sometimes extend intolerance to our friends, neighbours and our social circles.

There is no single day we don’t witness one form of intolerance and ethnic and or political bigotry. Organisations, governments, political, social and religious groups and bodies need to use the day to spread awareness of dangers of intolerance and educate society on how to be more tolerant in various sphere of life.

Learning more about tolerance and intolerance and celebrating the differences between cultures is vital, by starting a conversation with someone with a different viewpoint, you’ll likely find you have more in common than you expected. We need to imbibe a life of tolerance by reading about different cultures or nationalities, it is one of the best ways to help break down our intolerances that we may not know we have, as well as help increase our awareness of other intolerances throughout the world. In order to celebrate tolerance, you may often need to first make yourself aware of intolerance.

Listening to neighbors who have different viewpoints, listening to others is a great way to open your perspective and take a better look at the world and how you perceive it. Tolerance and intolerance can only be identified by listening more to those who may have suffered at the hands of intolerance and hearing what they have to say. Tolerance Day is a great educational resource to help people learn about how to be a more tolerant person but also the intolerances that may still be happening around the world.

It brings us together

Inherently based on the idea that humans should come together rather than be divided, it is a day to celebrate the differences between cultures and creeds and appreciate what they bring to our lives. It also reminds us it’s a constant effort, although great strides have been made, more work needs to be done to eradicate intolerance throughout the world. By increasing awareness and spreading education on days such as this, it helps play an active role in the elimination of intolerance and we should all be a part of it to change unhelpful and biased mindsets that tends to divide us, rather than unite us as a people and a country.


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