We read and hear about human rights abuses in various countries around the world committed by particular political regimes. There is a plethora of human rights commissions globally and nationally. There seems to be some progress in the struggle for universal human rights in the world and here in the USA. Sometimes, the efforts seem to arrive at a snail’s pace.
“‘Freedom from fear’ could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights.”–Dag Hammarskjold
Repressive forms of government like autocracies and theocracies, plus nations at war actively violate humane standards of civilized behavior and standards of individual freedoms and liberties. Dag Hammarskjold was one of my adolescent role models because his words and his actions meshed. He was a man of peace, humanity and compassion with the strength of character to carry his love of mankind into action.
If you look at any country that perpetrates human rights abuses, you’ll find that fear is the major ingredient in those actions. It might be overt as in the execution of adolescent gay boys in the Middle East. Or it could be more subtle as in the employment discrimination against native Amerindians. The fear is real and palpable.
“I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.”–Coretta Scott King
43 years ago, today, demonstrations against oppressive official and police policy and power took place at a non-descript little neighborhood bar near Greenwich Village in New York City.
The Stonewall Inn, located on Christopher Street, was operated by the Mafia. It had earlier been converted from a dinner and nightclub for heterosexuals into a gay bar. Each week, a New York policeman collected envelopes of payoff money to “overlook” the fact that the Stonewall had no liquor license, no running water at the bar, the toilets overran regularly and there were no fire exits. It was the only bar where same sex dancing was allowed in all of New York City.
In spite of the payoffs, police raids were a regular threat anyway. It was during one of those routine police raids that patrons of The Stonewall Inn had had enough. They fought back. The LGBTQ movement had become assertive, overnight.
The events of the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn have been recounted in many histories. The books, magazine articles and personal recollections can be found in book stores, libraries and on the web. The efforts for full freedom in the USA still continue.
“But if USA had 1.3 billion people, USA would have the same human rights problem just like China.”–Alex Chiu
What sort of standard should be used to evaluate human rights? Is it simply the demonstration of violent violations of human liberty and dignity? Is the standard merely the desire for human rights in a particular country? Maybe human rights attainment and guarantees for full freedoms and liberties amongst all citizens are the key?
Perhaps the U.S. will soon get its own house in order? There are numerous nations and regimes around the world who routinely deny basic human rights and dignity to their citizens. The fear must be dispelled. Women, children, aboriginal peoples and refugees by the millions suffer under the lack of basic human dignity and rights. Why is this allowed in this day and age?
The Blue Jay of Happiness encourages individual and group involvement in the efforts towards global, universal human rights attainment.