Today, in blogs big and small around the world, people are talking about human rights.
It’s a topic of universal interest yet often it’s one of universal fatigue, too. You get fed up hearing about famines, wars and human suffering that seems never-ending and that violate the human rights of people everywhere, unendingly. You get fed up with the constant appeals for your money, your attention on things about which you cannot change or influence. And that, whatever you do or don’t do, doesn’t seem to make much difference at all to anyone’s lack of human rights.
I feel those things at times. Often. It’s a feeling of helplessness. It’s a feeling of outrage at the corruption you see in organizations supposedly at the vanguard of help, and among those who supposedly are leadership examples we should trust and believe in. It’s a feeling of despair that nothing seems to matter: whatever you do, the suffering just goes on as you see every time you turn on the TV news.
What a mess.
Yet amidst that messy picture I’ve described, there’s a great deal of positivity, selflessness and good deeds, not only by people in big organizations but also by those in small ones and individuals everywhere.
I’d like to count myself into that latter group, the individuals. Maybe one small voice on its own makes little difference. But one small voice as part of a big coordinated conversation feels like it actually might.
So this post is my contribution to today’s big conversation about human rights.
Thinking about Blog Action Day 2013 and its theme caused me to think about human rights, far more than I ever would.
I read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the United Nations website. Every single one of the 30 individual articles. It’s focused my mind on looking beyond helplessness and despair, realizing that I can make a difference by talking about the issues. On its own, that may not produce an obvious and tangible change – such as giving £5 or $10 in a donation might make you believe has – yet as one voice among many drawing attention to an issue of concern to us all, it surely must add something.
(See also Wikipedia’s huge amount of background information about the declaration.)
There’s a lot to digest in those 30 articles. Seeing them all as a single text makes it all look a bit daunting. So focus on just one for today. Here’s some help from many familiar faces and voices on choosing one:
(If you don’t see the video above, see it at YouTube.)
Me, I choose Article 19:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.