Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Human Rights

Over the next few months I will be exploring what it truly means to have human rights. Before I begin my thoughts, I would love to hear from all of my readers. What do human rights mean to you? Do you feel that the same rights apply to everyone, regardless of who they are? Give me your gut level definition of what we are entitled to as humans. I'm looking forward to your comments with excitement! Peace to you all today. Hug your loved ones.


Sarah said...

Something we all need to think about..

beginning at the beginning, we are all welcomed into the human race by another, usually a parent, sometimes not, who offers us recognition of ourselves. They validate that we exist, that our experiences are real and eventually they help us integrate those experiences into our own self history, with which we form our identity.
As adults when we respect that identity in others, and we recognize them as an individual with their own history and experiences that make up their decisions views and choices, we are offering them the original form of respect (not the false form based on hierarchy). Respecting and accepting someone's identity (because you won't always agree with their choice) allows them self actualization and it allows you to practice it as well.
Identity seems far removed from the many necessary steps that are needed for people to be safe and happy, freedom from violence, prejudice,
economic oppression, freedom of religion and movement. Yet it is the "alpha and omega" so to speak of the issue. We are welcomed as humans, then we are mistreated as humans, and then we learn to regain our humanity in response to cruelty. Hopefully along the way, we learn to welcome other humans to our place whether we agree with their choices or not.

PS.. I know I write a lot.. I'm not trying to over run the blog. Please... send your words I'm sure there are a lot of them out there. I'm sure Hilaree would love to hear it, too.

jewlsntexas said...

My thoughts on this are being reworked - in process. I'll look forward to reading what you post and being challenged.
I think they do apply to everyone - but have at times contradicted this line of thinking.

Sarah said...

hello again..

Speaking in very general terms, as there are only a few folks I have had the pleasure of meeting with on this site..

I think we all are always in process over these ideas and how me manifest them in our daily habits and outlook. Part of it because we are always bombarded with information about other cultures, subcultures through very indirect means, such as TV, rather than meeting them face to face. Media doesn't give us a chance to offer people the kind of respect that I had written about before. I think it takes eye to eye experiences to learn enough about individuals. I also think all of us deal with fear of rejection of disapproval for our own acts. For instance if we know that we might lose someone's affection, protection, or approval (if we, say, disagree with their ideas, or we develop relationships they don't approve of, or we do something that maybe is dishonorable). Then we can become frightened to speak even for ourselves. Much less other people.

We used the following:

"I offer you peace i offer you love, I offer you friendship
"I hear you voice, I see your beauty, I feel your feelings
"The spirit in me salutes the spirit in you"
When i was a teacher we never said the pledge of allegiance. We had a pledge to the world.
We used the following:

"I offer you peace i offer you love, I offer you friendship
"I hear you voice, I see your beauty, I feel your feelings
"The spirit in me salutes the spirit in you"
It's my belief that patriotism breeds war, because it makes it safe for us to blame and punish other people just because they aren't "us". This takes away everyone's right to basic safety, food, shelter, and belonging (as families and cultures are often destroyed). It also stops us from exercising our own rights, as we cling to the groups approval for the sake of safety. Better to be behind the gun/judgement/discrimination then in the way. we humans do this collectively when we are not guaranteed the right of the safety of the group.
One example..
In Nebraska a few years back, several gay/lesbian high school students were being harassed, threatened, and physically bullied at school until they were afraid to go. They found that the school policy protected students from violence in regards to race, religion, and gender, but not sexual orientation. The school refused to add sexual orientation to the list, effectively denying them any substantial protection and also loudly telling the student body.. It's Ok if you beat them up, because they are not US. The students were not asking for approval or promoting personal agenda, they just wanted the basic right of safety from their group, their own school.

I meant to just mention Maslow. But I guess it all fits together.... Hopefully I made some sense.

Sarah said...

Very thought provoking. I'll have to digest all these over the next few days in midst of unpleasant encounters with my hostile neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Glad to see you here more.

Hilaree said...

This comment is from the Sarah who first commented on this post, way up there, and then commented a second time with the "I offer you peace, I offer you love..etc." paragraphs. She was unable to comment again due to password issues so I'm posting her words for her! - Hilaree

Oh.. another Sarah!

Yes!! Our cranky neighbors! Ha! I have a guy downstairs from me who has been infamous. He's always a challenge, even when you try to include him. We may get to have a little piece through viewing each other's art. I hope.
I was at a conference yesterday for Art and Social Change. (There might be some info at www.nycexpressivearts.com) Anyway I was curious because i have attended workshops with this expressive arts therapy group before and they are really wonderful. The woman doing the workshop Carrie MacLeod, has worked in social change settings throughout the world, six continents.. She's amazing. But what really won me over was that she spoke several times about how social change can come from establishing and transforming our relationships within our families and communities. She considered working out a new relationship with her mother to be part of her move for social change.
I think it's so beautiful because really, we have it all in our hands. What we need to do for ourselves and the world is within us. It's so much harder face to face with the people who affect us, yet deeper and effective. In some ways it's easier to travel to Sierra Leone and step into a world that you know you can step out of.

Go, Everybody!!

Anonymous said...

Human rights to me mean a deep respect for others, their feelings and their emotional and bodily integrity. Being attuned and mindful of how we affect others is crucial. I believe people have basic rights like the right not to be hit or called cruel names or bullied, and to have enough to eat and a safe place to live. Cultivating the ability to walk in another's shoes, to truly live the Golden Rule, gives us the best sense of exactly what someone's human rights are.