By Dominique Bénard
We are afraid by people who are different from us. Spontaneously we perceive them as a threat and we despise or mock them. That was the reason why the first theories about racism and eugenics appeared when, in 19th century, Europe was facing the diversity of cultures and civilizations. They were, in particular, developed by Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines – 1855) and Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Genesis of XIXth century – 1899). Chamberlain argued that the “upper race” described by Gobineau (‘Indo-european’ or ‘Aryan race’) was the ancestor of all ruling classes in Europe and Asia, that it never disappeared and remained in the pure state in Germany. Unfortunately, these delirious ideas inspired Adolf Hitler and led to the Holocauste of Jewish people, and the killing of thousand of gays, gipsies and disabled people.
The concept of human races is not scientific. Today, there is only one human species, homo sapiens sapiens, which appeared 100,000 years ago and spread all over the world. What characterizes the human species is its incredible adaptability to all environments from frozen tundras to Pacific islands, from sandy deserts to wet forests. Bantus or Inuits, Aborigines, Caucasians, Amerindians, Polynesians or Hans, whatever is their skins’ colour, their cultures, their languages, their beliefs, all people over the world belong to the same species and share the same genes and similar physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual resources.
We’ll have to put an end to racism and xenophobia.
Refusing diversity, being afraid by foreigners, despising who is different, all these attitudes have only one origin : ignorance. It’s enough that a youth group has the opportunity to share foreign people’s life for some days and in their hearts the fear of differences is replaced by a deep feeling of brotherhood and belonging to the same human family.
The degree of civilization and spirituality of a nation is measured by the way they welcome people who are different either because of their culture, their religion, their ethnic origin, their sexual orientation or because they are ill or disabled.
The world will really change when everywhere young generations will rise up against old prejudices and fears, ancestral barriers, fake historical evidences which divide people and keep alive hatred. This is why the gateway to the World Citizens programme, that Indaba-Network proposes, is active travelling and discovering various people and cultures.