At first we were a million tiny bands.
Small groups of people, each subtly different in some way, clinging to each other and scrabbling to survive.
Each thought of themselves as people and everyone else as the other. We are the band in this area. They are the band on the other side of the river.
Soon though, bands started to associate. To gather into tribes. The bands on this side of the mountain are a tribe. The bands in the forests on the others side are that tribe. This tribe is us and we wear this symbol to show who is us. If they don’t wear the symbol they must be killed.
Then tribes gathered into nations, and nations fought for supremacy. We all salute this flag and kill those that don’t.
After a long time, and many wars people came to realize that nations, and tribes, and bands were artificial. There was a realization that we all were human. A realization that all humans should be respected and protected.
At first we were all human.
Then people started looking around. They said yes we are human but I’m male and you’re female.
Then people noticed colour. I’m a black male, you are a yellow female.
Then people started to resent people who had different beliefs. I am a yellow, Buddhist, male, you are a brown, Muslim, female.
Then people began to claim each subtle difference as identity. I am a caribbean, black, queer, Jew, you are a slavic, white, bi, Catholic, and they are an indigenous, brown, gender-fluid, Atheist.
People’s identity became more important than their humanity. They began to segregate themselves into small groups. Soon there was no longer a single humanity trying to make the world better for everyone.
Instead there were just small groups of people, each subtly different in some way, clinging to each other and scrabbling to survive.
At first we were a million tiny bands…