Set up a national cultural exchange schemeby Sayeeda Warsi / April 13, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
These days we’re more connected than ever through technology. But the more connected we are, the less we seem to really know about each other. So if I ruled the world, the first thing I’d do would be to set up a national cultural exchange scheme. This would mean everyone at some point would spend a month living with a community or group of people that he or she feared or even hated.
Sometimes it seems like we’ve become so polarised, so obsessed with our own point of view that we fail to understand people different from ourselves. But the only way to truly connect is to walk in somebody else’s shoes.
Once you do that you might come to recognise that someone else may face problems that you might not have known about—prejudice or discrimination, perhaps. Unfortunately, in the current climate of anti-Muslim populism, I see some apparently reasonable and intelligent people rationalising racist views. My scheme would be a good way of unpicking all that. Since I would be a world ruler, this scheme would spread across the globe. It would be great to do something like this between Indians and Pakistanis or Israelis and Palestinians.
Warsiland would also have a special portal that would filter out fake news. We would only have unpoliticised, ideologically unbiased and factual accounts of what is happening in the world. Much of the conflict we are now seeing has been fuelled by disinformation, whether that be in the traditional media or on social networks. All this means is that we’re feeding the beast of division. As ruler I would decree that if a newspaper or media outlet writes something which turns out not to be true, then they should print an apology that is as prominent as the false allegations originally made. Give a front page to fake news and you should give a front page to the correction.