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Barack Obama warns against nationalism, says the “world is at a crossroads” in Indonesian speech

Speaking at the Fourth Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta while on vacation with his family, Former President Barack Obama touched on the rising wave of nationalism across the globe, and the dangers of intolerance.

“The world is at a crossroads,” Obama said in the country where he lived for fours years during his childhood. Obama said that the world needed to confront the threats of “discrimination against people based on race or ethnicity or religion.”

“We start seeing a rise in sectarian politics, we start seeing a rise in an aggressive kind of nationalism, we start seeing both in developed and developing countries an increased resentment about minority groups and the bad treatment of people who don’t look like us or practice the same faith as us,” he said.

Obama pointed to the Paris climate agreement as a promising strategy the world was willing to undertake.

“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” Obama said. Although President Trump withdrew from the accord, Obama said the agreement “will still give our children a fighting chance.”

Obama also addressed the issue of religious freedom.

“If you are strong in your own faith then you should not be worried about someone else’s faith,” Obama said.

“If we don’t stand up for tolerance and moderation and respect for others, if we begin to doubt ourselves and all that we have accomplished, then much of the progress that we have made will not continue,” he added.

“What we will see is more and more people arguing against democracy, we will see more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we’ll see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence,” Obama said.

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

Taylor Link.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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