News around the world – Tolerance Edict of Potsdam

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 26 July 2008

The call for a new tolerance Edict of Potsdam The main topic of the Potsdam event is “How open minded and tolerant is my hometown?” As Potsdam is my hometown, it is a good question for me too to raise, to evaluate and to try to answer. Our city state government is searching for a new description, a new involvement and a new engagement of all people living in Potsdam to feel being part of the whole action, to feel responsible to react, take action when it comes to problems and difficult situations. Each citizen should feel responsible to react on that with writing on the boards, with opening a discussion about it, with an active engagement in organisations, campaigns or initiatives like that. Outcomes or reactions are not so good at all. Surprisingly some stupid ideas have been formulated on the boards, post cards with racist answers have been sent back or people reacted in strange ways while discussing the topic in public. Seems that the idea of an open discussion is still needed in a place where people with different backgrounds live so close to each other, in a place so close to a multicultural city like Berlin, in a country where democracy and an open mind are parts of law and daily life. It seems to be a never ending story to talk about that. Although the first tolerance social contract was made by the Great lord Friedrich Wilhelm in 1685, the debate about the content will never be a historical act. Maybe the focus and the times are changing but stereotypes and the development of thoughts take a long road. We know through our volunteer work in the humanist field it sometimes takes one or two generations to change peoples mind. But in the end there always is a change. Maybe just a small one, maybe it took ages for that. But like an old sentence says in German – which takes a long time will be good in the end. We hope the best for this social contract. We hope that its outcome will have a strong impact on the actual living situation in my hometown. Promoting tolerance and a wide understanding for multicultural and open minded living together is part of IHEYOs work since the beginning. There is always a need to show ourselves and others good examples and project ideas which will lead us to one of our main goals in our international network and will furthermore open up our societies eyes for the work we can realise through our own initiatives and support. Tolerance is everywhere an issue. Equal if we are talking about students rights just to speak up in school or employee rights to say something inside their job area. It starts always from the basis, in local places and has maybe an impact on international work. IHEYOs Tolerance Campaign in 2007 was one example of an international act located in seven different countries being actively involved. www.potsdamer-toleranzedikt.de Statements: “A new citizenship is not falling from the value sky. It will be built through conflict and cooperation, registration and interest, misunderstanding and discussions.” “An open view to the world and tolerance belong together: The development of an own opinion in a discussion with others is creating the basis of an educational democracy. Nobody is born as a democrat.”

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