Key Message from Today’s OYW Session – Extremely Together

Hello Everyone, especially, in CR!

This is a message for all of our teams, but I am thinking of my country as a write this. Recently, many people have been vocally xenophobic and even islamophobic in Costa Rica, a place where terrorist attacks have never occurred. Even so, many of our fellow Costa Ricans have been spreading hate messages in social media. Here is what I learned today about this:

  • Survivors of real and crude terrorist attacks are working on uniting people in favor of peace.
  • Either they were attackers or counterattackers, far-right or far-left, jihadists or terrorist recruiters, they all had something many things in common:
    • They were hurt children that hurt other children (meaning they experienced pain first-hand since very young)
    • They were alone and felt alienated
    • They heard xenophobic rhetoric at home as a result of the traumas their parents and grandparents experienced
    • They wanted to be a part of something greater than themselves
    • They had a desperate need of becoming a part of a community

Therefore, this is not a matter of religion, religion is just an excuse. It is the desperate need we, as human beings, have of feeling we belong and we are connected. Interestingly enough, the same pattern repeated itself in all parts of the world and for all causes.

So, how do we fight this? LOVE + UNITY + PEACE

If we come together and make everybody, no matter how different from ourselves they are, feel like they belong, that they matter and are valuable, we can stop kids from deciding to find the same sense of connection in an extremist group. Violence will no end violence, it has been proven that it will only generate more.

We need to talk about ways of including each other, not excluding one another. Costa Rica, your neighbor is not your enemy. If the real victims and victimizers forgave each other, how could we not? Let’s unite in love with the purpose of achieving peace, and we will become part of something greater than ourselves.

For more info on how to fight extremism with unity, look for the hashtag #ExtremelyTogether,  a One Young World initiative, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram ❤

Flag Ceremony - I was the flag bearer for Costa Rica :)

 

-Mary

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