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Respect Differences

Embrace Diversity

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The conflict begins with a mere thought of “us” against “them”. The two simple pronouns draw a dividing line between people that can eventually breed conflict. While some countries clash and fight to have certain things their ways, others go about it harmoniously and empathetically by understanding the strength of diversity.

 

How do they do it?

Even though there has been a fewer number of wars in the past 10 years, what remains and actually increases over time is the conflict among human relationship. Be it at a national level, in society, within an organization, or between people, this type of conflict has done more damage than imaginable.

Since 2016, many countries have found themselves amidst violent conflicts unseen in 30 years prior. The number of conflict-related fatalities has doubled, and this is the turning point for humanity, where it began to broaden its understanding of conflict, from getting to the root cause, studying its increasing rate, recurrences and ongoing state, to having a common goal of finding sustainable approaches to conflict prevention.

Many might think conflict arises when guns and violence are involved – when in fact conflict is much more easily provoked. Just think of the words “us” and “them”. These two simple pronouns carry depths beneath the surface that divide people and eventually breed conflict.

How “us and them” come into conflict

The conflict and violence can be caused by many factors and aspects such as 

                                                                1. Identity

                                                                                                        Do you know that there are more than 100 different ethnicities

                                                                                                        living in Thailand and each of the group also carries unique or                                                                                                           even individual language and culture?

 

                                                                                                        But the fact is that they never have a chance to fully show or

                                                                                                        represent their uniqueness in identity, causing the lack of

                                                                                                        exposure, understanding, and respecting of different culture

                                                                                                        and background from both insiders and outsiders, which is one

                                                                                                        of the main challenge of preventing violence and sustaining

                                                                                                        peace.  

 

                                                                                                        Is there any way we can make more space for each of us to

                                                                                                        show our own self and cultivate the culture of embracing

                                                                                                        diversity with an innovative, peaceful, and in respect of human-

                                                                                                        rights solution?

                                                                2. Resource Distribution

                                                                                                        Do you know that 90% of all the properties in Thailand are

                                                                                                        owned by wealthy people, which is only 10% of the

                                                                                                        populations? Moreover, among those 90%, there are more than

                                                                                                        18 million Acres of abandoned and unused properties, while

                                                                                                        60% of farmers still have no land to plant for their business.

                                                                                                        (Reference : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZy1nIcMvX8 )

 

                                                                                                        This is only part of the problems caused by unequal access

                                                                                                        and distribution of resources, which also results in the

                                                                                                        inequality of economic opportunity.  

 

                                                                                                        Unequal access to infrastructure and education are also other

                                                                                                        samples that leave a huge impact on this disparity. 

 

                                                                                                        What could be the solution for this challenge of resource

                                                                                                        distribution? 

 

                                                                                                        Is it possible to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor,

                                                                                                        or to reduce inequality and create more opportunities for

                                                                                                        everyone equally and inclusively?

                                                                3. Political Participation

                                                                                                        Nowadays, Thai people have much more awareness of politics

                                                                                                        and enthusiastically participate in political activities, as shown

                                                                                                        in the statistic that 74.69% of the populations who has the

                                                                                                        rights to vote did participate in the latest election in March

                                                                                                        2019. 

                                                                                                        (Reference :https://news.mthai.com/election/718065.html).

                                                                                                        However, differences in opinion of politics is still a controversial

                                                                                                        topic when it comes to a discussion between family and

                                                                                                        friends.

 

                                                                                                        Why so?

                                                                                                        Isn’t politics something we can talk about without conflicts or

                                                                                                        violence? Is it possible for us to learn to respect other people

                                                                                                        opinions even though they are different from our own? Is it too

                                                                                                        difficult to believe in rule of majority while not leaving the

                                                                                                        minority behind? Can we argue for the better?  

 

                                                                                                        Only by us daring to voice our thoughts with an understanding

                                                                                                        and respecting of others, politics will be the topics of

                                                                                                        development, not violence. 

                                                                4. Education

                                                                                                        Do you know that differences between each  school can affect

                                                                                                        educational disparities for as high as 47% ?

                                                                                                        (Reference :https://thaipublica.org/2016/05/pier-4/)

 

                                                                                                        Have you ever wondered why some parents need to find the

                                                                                                        best and well-known school for their children when, actually,

                                                                                                        schools are supposed to have the same quality?

 

                                                                                                        Inequality in access to education is still one of the biggest

                                                                                                        challenges in Thailand. The designing of curriculum or teaching

                                                                                                        quality should prepare, make ready, and support students in

                                                                                                        higher-education and their future career, especially for the

                                                                                                        poor, the marginalized, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable. 

 

 

                                                                                                        Apart from building more schools, hiring more teachers, and

                                                                                                        developing the syllabus, are there any solutions that could

                                                                                                        solve educational inequality that has been a part of Thai

                                                                                                        society for ages? 

                                                                5. Belief and Religion

 

                                                                                                        Our World consists of people from many different backgrounds

                                                                                                        with different religions and beliefs, or even without religions at

                                                                                                        all. For this, Thailand is no different. 

 

                                                                                                        Sometimes, ‘Differences’ causes us the misunderstanding and                                                                                                           prejudgement before we even have a chance to discuss or talk                                                                                                         to those who doesn’t believe in the same thing as us.

 

                                                                                                        How might we create a society that is willing to embrace

                                                                                                        differences in religions and beliefs without violence involved?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                6. Access to Justice and Rule of Law

 

                                                                                                        Does rule of law really ‘fair’ for everyone?

 

                                                                                                        ‘Double standard’ seems to be a question that frequently

                                                                                                         asked in Thai legal process. It unquestionably creates a doubt

                                                                                                         injustice and a loss of trust and respect in rule of law.

 

                                                                                                        Many times, unequal treatment of law enforcement and the

                                                                                                        litigation process makes us believe more in money and power

                                                                                                        as reflected in the sentence 'Prisons are only made for the

                                                                                                        poor, not for the rich' said by many people. It has always been

                                                                                                        the case since long before that if you have power or you are

                                                                                                        'someone' in this society, you automatically get acquitted.

 

 

                                                                                                        How might we create inclusive and equal access to justice and                                                                                                           rule of law for all?

 

 

 

SO HOW DO WE LIVE PEACEFULLY AMIDST DIVERSITY?

*from article BECAUSE “US” AND “THEM” ARE THE SAME, Thailand Social Innovation Platform

Read more: https://www.thailandsocialinnovationplatform.org/because-us-and-them-are-the-same/

We are looking for potential ideas which can be further developed and implemented to a long-term innovation that contribute to creating an inclusive society where everyone "Respect Differences and Embrace Diversity!"

Recommended Reading List (Frequently updated):

1. Article "Because Us and Them are the Same" -

    https://www.thailandsocialinnovationplatform.org/because-us-and-them-are-the-same/

2. Pathway for Peace Report -  https://www.pathwaysforpeace.org/

3. Case Study 'Cure Violence' - 

    https://www.thailandsocialinnovationplatform.org/cure-violence/