The UNO initiated a poll with the request, “Please tell us your honest opinion about the lack of food in the rest of the world.”The poll was a total failure…The Russians did not understand “Please”. The Italians did not know the word “honest”. The Chinese did not know what an “opinion” was. The Europeans did not know “lack”, while the Africans did not know “food”. Finally, the Americans didn’t know anything about the “rest of the world”.I know it’s an old joke and perhaps not very relevant now but it does serve to show how public opinion can be molded and preconceived notions ratified thorough what we hear and read and then start believing without any verification. Our opinion about the people and nations of the world relies heavily on hearsay and the written and electronic media. Many of us do not get the opportunity to travel extensively and form our own opinions about the rest of the world.Scotsmen are portrayed as miserly, Swiss as physically slow, French as sophisticated lovers, Irish as avid drunks, Poles as notorious thieves, Dutch as either marijuana smokers or slow drivers on motorways (typically with a caravan attached to their car), Chinese employ caricatures of Confucian wisdom. An Austrian is usually merely an antagonist of a German character, and may be presented as superior, inferior, or an unacknowledged equal. Sikhs are portrayed to be rather thick, Pakistanis as gun wielding terrorists whereas Hindus as wily and hypocritical.What could be more inane and ridiculous, I ask you. As Eleanor Roosevelt said  “Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen.”People are the same where ever you go. No matter what they look like, where they live, what they eat they have the same hopes, dreams and aspirations. Regardless of our status in life, religion, appearance and nationality, we all want to be loved, we want to feel secure, and we want to be happy and alive and successful. We all want to make an impact and live lives that matter.Perhaps the direst need of the world today is unity among people and nations. It is vital to the survival and well being of the only habitable planet we have.Carla Jo Masterson’s’s golden words ring true here: ‘Value life in whatever house it dwells. For when it comes time that we are all stripped to bare bones before the divine and facing eternity, we will understand that the only law we were meant to follow, was to love ourselves and each other. Nothing more…nothing less.’The first step to unity would be removing misconceptions among nations, religions and cultures. In a very exciting venture teenagers from many countries have come together to do just this. The project initiated by my son Asad Jamal Malik and his friend Jehanzed Mirza, now has more than 60 ambassadors from 45 countries and the list is growing steadily. The common purpose is to unite teenagers from across the globe to build bridges and remove misconceptions between people and nations.

 Visit ‘Project Unify’ at http://projectunify.net/ and contribute to world peace! The website has been launched today on the International Youth Day.In the words of T. H. White, “The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.”All the progress we have made has always been about us, about humans and not about science or technology. In realizing ourselves and our potential we have bettered the world we live in. It’s about people. Always has been, always will be.In the words of Allama Iqbal, Pakistan’s National poet, ‘Greed has split mankind into little pieces; Become the statement of brotherhood, become the language of love.’ 

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