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Thoughts from Linda:

 

And, for something New…this book which in contrast to the 13-page small booklet, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we’re featuring this 720 page book, entitled The Face of Human Rights, edited by Walter Kalin, Lars Muller and Judity Wyttenbach.

 

Weighing in at almost 5 lbs, this is a substantial tome.  It thoroughly explores, via text and stunning photographs, the dimensions of human life and the protection of human rights.  It is organized as a framework of spiral dimensions, beginning with the topic of Human Existence itself, in the “THE RIGHT TO LIFE” and spins through 8 other topics, ending with the topic of Displacement, Flight and Exile in “THE RIGHTS OF REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS.”

 

Each topic begins with the seminal question, for example in THE RIGHT TO LIFE, it is “is the State entitled to kill?” It covers the big questions such as “May we decide about birth?” and “May we decide about death?” along with the history of state activities in war and in peace, including landmines, child soldiers, genocide and a slew of others. 

 

This may all sound pretty bleak.  And in some ways, it is, because so many abuses exist and have existed on the planet.  Viewed through the prism of human rights and the vision of what is possible, however, it is full of inspiration as well.  It may be a call to action for you.  It will not be something that you will ever forget. 

 

As the editors write:

 

“Faced with grave violations, our everyday indifference vis-a-vis human rights disappears.  Depending on our character we get sad, angry or have to avert our eyes as these events become insupportable.  Some react with resignation when looking at the numerous and grave violations all over the world, while others feel a deep urge to actively fight against abuses of human rights or to assist the victims.  Whatever the reaction, we all feel in such moments instinctively that human rights matter:  simultaneously, they justify our anger at and protest against the injustices of this world and provide hope that a better world is possible.

 

And, on page 159 is my favorite quote (perhaps of all time!) from Margaret Mead:

 

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”