Stand up for yourself and others

Successful encounters, getting to know and understanding one another’s situation, finding common points, demonstrating equally valid points of view and messages, telling personal stories and listing objective facts, and numerous other tools are not sufficient against hatred. When a partnership-oriented approach, communication, and the demonstration of values are not enough, it’s important to face the conflicts and stand up for the interests and rights violated, which can only be protected by us, citizens. 

In an ideal situation, all groups and communities should primarily represent their own interests and rights, because if it’s done without them, there is a risk that their points of view will be somehow lost in the process. However, not all groups own the skills, knowledge and connections necessary for successfully representing their cause. This is why it’s important to consider not only our own interests and rights, but those of our fellow citizens as well, because if left alone, any minority group may prove weak; but if we show solidarity for one another and stand up for others as well, the chances for success are greater.

We can do something in order for shops to consider the needs of people whose sight is impaired. We can draw attention to any instance of abuse committed by the police or other authorities. Or we can even achieve that the abuse committed by those working in jurisdiction have actual consequences.

Democratic institutions offer numerous tools for standing up for ourselves and others. If decision makers are interested in our opinions, we can participate in professional meetings, we can give advice, lobby for our causes, and file complaints at the relevant authorities. But if we feel that beside professional arguments and legal instruments we also need the tools of communication and the power of the greater community, we can collect signatures, write open letters, organise events, demonstrations, or even use the tools of civil disobedience.

Because against hatred, sometimes we have to take up the gauntlet – if we see no other solution. 

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