Let me set the scene for you.
I’m at a Dartmouth College Activities Fair and I’m manning the Amnesty International table. Ya know, handing out the pamphlets and talking about what we do.
Then one student comes up the the table and asks “What do you guys do?”
I go into my mini spiel about our petitions, protest, activities, lectures and the workshops we organize.
His response, “Human rights… It’s just not for me.”
Now usually when people aren’t interested in Amnesty International, I’m like ok whatever, it is a time commitment that some people can’t do. But this response got to me.
“What do you mean human rights aren’t for you?” I asked. He looked weirded out by my question and he walked away.
But what is that even supposed to mean? It blew my mind and still continues to blow my mind. With my former years teaching ESL, I soon found out that many international adults had NO IDEA what human rights were and that they were entitled to safety, water, citizenship, asylum, security etc.
There is this mentality that so long as you have human rights, it doesn’t matter if others have or don’t have human rights. But the truth of the matter is, if we, people who have human rights, don’t call for the human rights of others, our silence implies complicity. It implies that we think it is ok for others to get tortured for different beliefs, or sentenced to death for different ways of life.
That complicity then becomes normalization. The offence and clear disregard for human rights becomes normalized, like a domino effect… and how long before the normalized human rights offending ends up on our doorstep? Who is to say it’s not on our doorstep already?
Wake up. Human rights are for all of us and we all need to care about everybody because any one of us could be next. Not only that, but we should care about other’s human rights because it is right and just. Where are your ice cold hearts?