Editors Note


May/June 2008


One of the hardest lessons that's been forced down our throats in the last decade or two has been the intransigence of tribal, ethnic, religious, and racial hatred. In instances around the world involving hundreds of millions of people, collective fear and loathing have been enough to justify the most horrendous acts of violence. For those of us who blithely assumed that material values and individualism had increasingly come to supersede traditional cultural heritage, it's come as a shock to learn, time and again, that whether a person is Sunni or Shia, Hutu or Tutsi, Kikuyu or Leuo, Turk or Kurd could still so often prove to be a matter of life or death. Complicating, contradicting, or perhaps provoking this story of crosscultural hostility is the parallel reality of the unprecedented intermingling and intermarrying of different peoples from different backgrounds in our newly globalized human community.

In case you were under the impression that group and tribal loyalties dominated life only in less advanced and enlightened countries than ours, you'd be wrong again. Just listen to how raw the whole immigration "debate" has become in the U.S. Of course, nativism is an old and ongoing story at the dark margins of American history. What newcomers haven't had their turn at being bashed by "real" Americans (themselves most likely descendants of once-despised outlanders)?

Even in our supposedly "individualistic" society, people identify deeply with their group or…

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