An interesting debate is taking place over at openDemocracy.
It started with a post by Benjamin Ward, the director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch. Ward documents what is discomforting for many to admit: “hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.”
Benjamin Ward’s article is truly remarkable because, for once, he uses his analysis as a starting point to suggest solutions, a line many are still wary of crossing. He argues that because intolerance is a European trend, there should be a concerted response by all concerned European countries, in the form of stronger laws against hate speech, more favourable conditions for victims to report instances of hate violence, and for the EU to hold its member states accountable when they fail to protect their minorities. This is, however, where we start to disagree.
The main problem is that there is simply no one-size-fits-all solution to the conundrum of mainstreaming intolerance in Europe. While Marine Le Pen, Jobbik and Golden Dawn appear to be but various faces of a same phenomenon, they each obey dissimilar dynamics in diverse national contexts: the integration of Roma is an entirely different issue in Hungary than it is in France; Islam raises other questions in Britain than it does in Sweden; and anti-Semitism has a different history in the Czech Republic than it has in Germany.
What do you think? How would Europeans best be suited to promote openness and respect of minorities?