We have created a world in which we define security as the enforcement of borders, exclusion of others, and amassing of weapons. We see this in the estimated $1.8 trillion in military spending last year, a fraction of which would provide dignity and opportunity for the most vulnerable.
We have created a world in which there is growing ethno-nationalism, intolerance, discrimination and violence targeting women, minorities, migrants, refugees and anyone perceived to be different or “other”. Civic space is shrinking; basic rights are under attack; activists and journalists are targeted; misinformation campaigns and hate speech spread like wildfire on social media.
Hate is moving into the mainstream in many countries and regions – liberal democracies and authoritarian states alike. Constitutions founded on pluralism and respect for difference are undermined as different groups and minorities are attacked.
Access to information is curated individually, so that we are living atomized lives, in our own echo chambers, where news and advertising reflect and reinforce our presumed perspective on the world. Unless we ourselves choose to seek out others, we may not be exposed to alternative viewpoints and arguments that challenge our beliefs.
Attacks on places of worship are some of the most egregious examples of a lack of respect for each other and for our common humanity, and they are rising. In the past few months alone, we have seen horrific attacks on mosques in New Zealand, on churches in Sri Lanka and on synagogues in the United States.
Record numbers of people are on the move around the world, fleeing conflict, drought, poverty and lack of opportunity. At the same time, refugees and migrants are attacked both physically, and rhetorically, with false narratives that link them with terrorism and scapegoat them for many of society’s ills.