Thursday, May 15, 2008

Human Rights For All

What exactly are our rights as human beings? Why do we need to open our eyes to injustice and speak out when these rights are curtailed? Why should we care?

As far as freedom and the basic rights to live are concerned, we should never cease to care. While oppression exists, we should never turn our heads away. When governments feed us lies and mere half-truths, we should never just shrug our worries away. These things will not disappear until we, as citizens of a country we proudly call home, and as a unified race of this global community, do something about them. If you think you're living comfortably and you're exempted from this reality, then let me be the one to knock some sense into you -- you're dead wrong. If your neighbor's rights are violated, yours could be next.

In Pope Benedict XVI's UN speech last month, he stressed on the non-violent means of advocating, promoting, and protecting our human rights -- in the United States and around the world. He also said that “the promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups and for increasing security.”

The Philippines is no stranger to the suppression of human rights. It may not always be as violent as the warfare and bloodshed going on in other countries, but the ramifications are just as painful and real. The government HAS to be an ally of the people; not it's enemy. We vote for politicians who we trust and they, in turn, should continue the fight for truth and justice on behalf of the people. Greed, corruption, and self-interests overshadow this objective. And as a result, human rights are violated. Over and over again.

As with any tragedy or calamity, there is still hope. It is not the end. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi once said. When there is dissension -- peacefully resolve. When there is injustice -- speak out. When there is a cause to be fought -- get involved.