Thursday, November 8, 2007

h is for human rights

Why, in the United States, are poverty, hunger, homelessness, discrimination, lack of access to health care, educational inequalities, unemployment and jobs that fail to pay a living wage not defined and treated as important human rights problems that government at all levels must act to eliminate? Such conditions are considered violations of universal human rights in other nations, but not here.

this passage is from an article written by a friend (and former professor) which discusses the idea that we need to bring the issue of human rights home! although the u.s. condemns human rights violations elsewhere, the government does not recognize human rights violations that occur here or the human rights abuses u.s. representatives commit abroad in the name of the so-called the war on terror.

ken states that perhaps the biggest problem is that we lack a "human rights culture" - all I can say is no shit! but, what we don't lack is a culture that says "do as I say, not as I do." in addition to the human rights arena, we have a plethora of other places with this 'do as I say not as I do' culture - just look at two things: arms proliferation and nuclear weapons.

think about it: guns in the u.s. they are everywhere. gun deaths in the u.s. I've written about this before, we lead the industrial world. gun violence in the u.s is a CRISIS. let's move outside of the u.s., I've read that the u.s. is the world's biggest international 'arms dealer' - arms proliferation, who and what is fueling this problem? will 'capitalism' always trump reason and humanitarianism?

nuclear weapons. the u.s is the only country that has dropped the 'big one.' terms of the 9 card carrying members of 'the nuclear club,' the only country that has more active and total nuclear warheads than the u.s. is russia (but this number may not be statistically significant different than the u.s.). the difference between the u.s and the other 7 countries is huge! who is the biggest nuclear threat? the country which is interested in developing the technology or the country that currently has 5,163 active and 9,938 total warheads? (by the way just as a point of comparison the country with the largest arsenal after the russia and the u.s is the u.k. with 750 total warheads).

and don't even get me started on invading sovereign countries on some bogus reason. yep. human rights. as a country we do really need to start getting our house in order and maybe the idea of starting at the local level is a good one. what's that saying, "if the people lead, the leaders will follow."

pictures: human rights/immigration rights rally in eugene, oregon; ken at said rally. april 2006.


4 comments:

Dumdad said...

An award awaits you at my blog.

Len said...

We have a couple of problems in this country (I don't know whether other countries have these problems or not; I've only ever been a citizen of this one). For one thing, some people confuse patriotism with being the enabler in an abusive relationship. To find fault, to want things to be better than they are is interpreted as "hating America," which is, of course, nonsense. I expect better behavior from my son than I do other children not out of hate, but out of love and pride.

It is the same with the United States. True patriotism, true love of country, expresses itself in the desire to always improve and to always do better. It does not involve wallowing in self-satisfaction or hiding behind meaningless slogans.

there has also been a longstanding attack against the notion of the United States as a community. the emphasis has been on our differences--our races, our religions, our political philosophies--over our one great similarity: We are Americans.

Is that homeless guy at the bottom of the offramp a bum or a fellow citizen in need? The true patriot knows the answer.

Colette Amelia said...

Kimy this is wonderful and not because I am Anti USA, it is wonderful because this is what we all should be doing, critical thinking of how we operate our lives, our families our communities, our countries and the world.

it reminds me of something I read in Chicken Soup for the Soul...

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But it, too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

Written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop 1100 AD in the Crypts of Westminister Abbey.

Bless you for all your wonderful insights, activities and energy...you are changing the world!

kimy said...

wow - dd I am most honored to be the recipient of your salut! award!!

len & ca - thanks for providing the wonderful additional commentary! we can only help improve the situation by exposing problems and by banding together to find truly compassionate solutions.

and the homeless guy (or gal) at the bottom of the offramp - to quote an oft used expression - 'there by the grace of god go I'

and colette - WE ARE CHANGING the world! thank you.