Wise for the World

Human rights discussions have the unique ability to be both clear-cut and entirely complicated. Perspective is everything, and depending on your environment, peers, local media, socioeconomic standing, you could feel very differently about the subject at hand. Coming from a middle class, homogenous suburb in America, it might be hard to understand the plight of the citizens of Syria, warring tribes in Africa, or those who are literally dying for the chance to immigrate to a European nation. How do we report and share these stories? How do we connect to those we have no perceived connection to, and sacrifice our own time and resources to assist? These are not easy questions to answer, but they are vital in our role as not only Americans, but members of the global community. One of my favorite quotes comes from John Locke, who states “To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.”

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The image I chose shows a legislator sitting at a desk, writing a long list of various human rights definitions and laws that were supposed to go into effect. However, a soldier comes a long and walks all over the laws, not caring about what some far away committees are saying. This describes what happened during the Rwandan genocide, when close to 1,000,000 people were killed as the United Nations, and the world at large, sat by and watched. This had ripple effects throughout the decades to come, with war rapes increasing the HIV population, and infrastructure of surrounding countries destroyed. This set Africa back decades, and as a world we failed to help our brothers and sisters in need. Fast forwarding to today, human rights violations still plague our world. North Koreans live in a dystopian society that has blocked information from the outside and has created concentration camps across the country. Syria faces ongoing civil war, using gassing and various illegal weapons to eliminate large chunks of the population. Innocent people are being killed everyday, so how can we as individuals help?

While it is impossible to help every single problem in the world, mass acts of starvation, disease, genocide must be made a priority by both governments and the people that make up those countries. Human suffering may never be totally eradicated, but who are we to not try?

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