According to Amnesty, 2017/2018 has been a year of political anger, and many political leaders have contributed to increasing the distance between people. Source: Flickr

Chronicle

The rhetoric that creates conflicts

Is the number of conflicts in the world increasing? Or will the world just become a better and better place, in line with Hans Rosling's fantastic message? What really triggers a conflict? In an environment that seems to be as full of "fake news" as of facts, it is difficult to know what to believe.

To form an opinion on the question of whether conflicts increase or decrease, one can think about what conflicts are based on. Many times it comes from some kind of distance between people, and in most cases has such a simple thing as how we talk about each other more power than you might first think. The fact that a group is portrayed as the enemy, so-called demonization, and a division into "we" and "judgment", increases the risk of conflicts. A polarized political climate leads to division, anxiety and that it becomes more difficult to distinguish between what is true and false.

According to Amnesty the political rhetoric in the world has changed. Today we generally see a more widespread hate rhetoric and demonization, a trend that is not difficult to find examples of. We have a political world leader with a repertoire of creative nicknames that are used to portray all dissidents as the enemy, and who call the media "the enemy of the American people". We see several European countries totally dehumanizing refugees, banning outstretched hands and claiming that migration is not a human right. Another example of "us and them" rhetoric has had more frightening consequences. In Myanmar, widespread blackmail by Rohingyas on social media, especially on Facebook, led to a brutal genocide and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

Should we therefore interpret the prevailing rhetorical climate as meaning that the number of conflicts is also increasing in the world? This is, of course, difficult to say. What we can probably know is that a polarized climate breeds conflicts. How we talk about each other, and what our attitude is towards our fellow human beings plays an important role. If we want to see a more positive picture of the world in Amnesty's next annual report, we must break the trend, and this is not done by building walls but by tearing them down.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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