16 November: International Day of Tolerance

Translated by Stella Vaseiliadou

Based on the original article in Greek by Kallia Christaki

The same power required for the pre-existence of the two-opposing forces is of course necessary for their conception too. Even if the two terms seem distant. We neither write as we eat, nor eat as we write. But poetry, that we drink eveyrime we take a sip from a waking sleep.”

-Odysseas Elytis, “The illusional garden”

Odysseus Elytis points out in a unique way the coexistence of the opposite parts as well as the existence of the similarities within them. Under the pretext of the verses above, we are going to discuss about today’s special day, which is the International Day for Tolerance. In particular, we are talking about tolerance and understanding towards what is different from us.

In 1995, the United Nations, marked that year the “Year of Tolerance” in order to raise public awareness for diversity so that people would finally accept it. However, taking into consideration the fact that acceptance towards diversity can’t be (fully) cultivated in just one year, but it is actually unfortunately a time-consuming process, the UN decided to establish November 16th as the International Day for Tolerance.

toleranceThe term “tolerance” makes us think about a patient attitude towards something that is not easily accepted by others. At this point, I would like to point out my opposition to choosing this specific term for this particular international day. Subconsciously, people think of this term as something negative. The goal is not only to accept or to tolerate diversity nor to assimilate it into each applicable culture. In other words, the goal should the inclusion of diversity as well as the interaction with it.

It goes without saying that the goals mentioned above are quite difficult – but not impossible to achieve. Society, school and family are capable of making us want to get to know someone different and listen to their thoughts, beliefs, ideas and feelings.

In conclusion, I will refer to an innovative statement for the time(1967, 1968), of Mackey:

Bilingualism is the norm and monolingualism is the exception.”

Αν επιθυμείς να διεκδικήσεις υποτροφίες στην Ελλάδα ή το εξωτερικό, ο Οδηγός Υποτροφιών του Citycampus που μόλις κυκλοφόρησε σου προσφέρει ό,τι χρειάζεσαι!