One of the tendencies in the world that appear to be growing the most today is how deeply we seem to hate each other. The problem, of course, is more nuanced than simply blaming other people and walking away.
In the dictionary, hatred is an emotional response towards certain people, things or ideas. Common factors contributing to this negative impact include fear, prejudice, misunderstandings, and negative experiences.
Very often we find that people hate each other because they are insecure about something that the other person has and we do not have though we are more eligible for it.
They also hate because of misunderstanding or not knowing someone well enough and forming judgments instead of getting to know them better.
But what is scarier is that there are people who hate others just for their gender, authority, religion, skin colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, creed, customs, nationality, political opinions or physical attributes. Albeit we have grown up being taught, at least in theory, that hate is a negative emotion, it continues to flourish in spiteful ways.
This mental venom can pollute our spirit, poison our soul and seep into all the relationships surrounding us! Anyone who has found themselves wrapped up in the arms of hate knows how damaging and mind-consuming it can become!
We all know that a significant portion of the violence in the world is based on hatred and the consequent speeches. It has become one of the most common ways of spreading divisive rhetoric on a global scale. Its manifestations are war, disease, violence and cruelty, symptoms that compromise health.
Look at the hatred-inspired violence playing out between Palestinians and Israelis. The tragic turn of events has become something of a ritual as their disagreements seem more unbridgeable than ever!
Another example is how madness fuelled and blinded by hatred can make a lethal and dangerous cocktail in Manipur where ethnic violence has plunged the small north-eastern Indian state where over a hundred innocent people were killed, churches and temples ruined, and villages destroyed. This shows how India, which is regarded as equitable and inclusive, is once more roiled by hatred!
Ethnic clashes fuelled by hatred is not limited to people in underdeveloped or developing economies. People in many advanced economies say racial or ethnic discrimination is a problem in their society.
According to a Pew Research Center report, the United States stands out among 17 advanced economies as one of the most conflicted when it comes to questions of social unity. France and South Korea also stand out as strongly conflicted societies.
The early 20th-century migration of hundreds of thousands of African Americans from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West still comes up for discussions at different forums. One of the main causes of this mass migration was the continuing racial violence, including lynching and racial massacres.
Hatred has been studied for centuries by philosophers and theologians, and more recently by social psychologists and the central theme of many literary works. We know hatred is at the centre of the drama in Shakespeare’s play Othello. The plot in the play is driven by hatred. At the end of the drama, we are left with the impression of just how destructive it is!
The United Nations has a long history of mobilising the world against hatred of all kinds to defend human rights and advance the rule of law. This mission is enshrined in the UN Charter, in international human rights frameworks, and in global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The writer is an India-based freelance journalist and author with nearly four decades of experience in editing and reporting for newspapers and magazines in India and the Gulf region