ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • International Holidays

International Human Rights Day: A Meaning for a Change

Updated on December 11, 2017
jes732 profile image

Jamal is a graduate from Northeastern Seminary and writes on a broad range of topics. His writings are based on other points of view.

Source

Today was International Human Rights Day and I thought I’d give some reflection as to what I feel that means and its impact on humanity as a whole. On the surface, just assigning a name to a day of the year does not really accomplish much. There are still struggles going on across the globe. However the importance isn’t in the name but rather that what the name itself represents. To truly appreciate that, one must look at where we came from.

A Lot of Baggage

The story of the human race is motivated by survival. As gorgeous as nature can be, the fact remains that elements of it can and often do kill us. Harsh living with creates harsh communities that did what they had to do to survive. As we became more settle, those harsh lessons transferred into social rules. The goal of those rules was for the survival of the community. No matter how complicated the political and economic situations that inspired conflict, the seed of it all was always to extend some form of survival. So that behaviors we abhor today: prejudice against those not our own, sexism for women to occupy rules ensuring community survival, war and theft to take resources needed to survive and then later, prosper. And lastly, varying levels of brutality to ensure the previous goals are met.

It’s an over simplification for a underlying and simple, historical reality. The Egyptians, Greek, and Hittite civilizations of antiquity warred with other empires and each other to expand their communities power so they could outlast the other and prosper. The Chin Dynasty’s ruthless conquest of a divided Asia to unify the divided Asia mainland under one system and political rule to form China was for the larger communities to survive. The recognition of slavery throughout every major civilization until the 19th century, and the industrial revolution’s ruthless treatment of its workers were all done for the survival and prosperity the nations.

These are just some of the many examples of how human beings have treated each other. And they happened because human rights as a universal concept of respect did not exist. It was not a part of the natural order and it was acknowledged that the weak die off in favor of the strong. Whether the strongest was of race, gender, nationality, orientation, or religion, the results were always the same: survival of the fittest.

Trying to Rise Above

The human race was a different breed back then. Some today argue that they were tougher and others that they were more unified by common purpose rather than being pulled apart internally in several directions.

There were attempts to change, some with moderate success. Some religions Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam in certain aspects tried to introduce higher moralities to inspire their other to think beyond survival and themselves under their banner. Laws were introduced as early as the Sumerian civilization during the Bronze Age to bring about some sense of order that was not rooted in natural instinct. Some groups in Japan developed a system of honor that went beyond their own survival. The Red Cross was created in 1881 C.E. to provided humanitarian assistance to locations in dire need or at war throughout the entire world and was internationally recognized as a non-biased organization.

So a higher sense of morality has been evolving alongside the human race. While most of the world populations live in circumstances not remotely similar to Manhattan, LA, or Paris, our lot is not so much about survival as it is just trying to live well and be seen as human beings by others. If it is about survival though is not about the people fighting nature as it is people fighting people. With one or both sides still holding onto to our barbaric sensibilities dressed over by greed, politics, and economics. The other group trying to leave it behind or live out moderation between maintaining past values without the violence and injustice. Our attempts to be better have always been limited by corruption, natural bias, and circumstances beyond our control. And until about 1945, we still accepted it as inevitable.

After World War Two, with the world wide dead numbering between fifty and eighty million people, the world started wanting something more. Seeing ‘inevitability’ play itself out to its full extent awoke for the first time within humanity the need to be better than inevitable. Of course, tragedies are still laying themselves out and our attempts despite recognizing the need to rise above are still struggles with obstacles that have existed sense our beginnings.

That is the importance of International Human Rights Day.

What’s the Point?

The day represents Humanity recognizing that we are more than our faults. It recognizes that we have and can still be more than a series of reactions to the need of self-preservation. It sets a goal for us to reach that while it won’t happen today, next year, or perhaps next century, the struggle to get there does leave us better than where we were at. Whether that’s with the Rohingya refugees or the student you see being bullied in your school. All of these are steps to the hope of a better future.

© 2017 Jamal Smith

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)