International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Would we really want to live in a world of univeral human rights?

Here is an interesting if slightly tongue-in-cheek article on the Foreign Policy magazine website titled “Why I’m Leaving Human Rights Watch” that’s worth a read.  While the article shouldn’t be taken too seriously (it is April fool’s day after all), it still manages to raise a few good points that perhaps you’d never thought about before regarding what life in a world of fully realized human rights and liberty would actually look like.

The author points to events he witnessed during the Libyan revolution as the moment when these ideas came to mind – seeing people so happy, selfless, and hopeful; watching a new interest in politics and their country emerge among the Libyan people – these things were made possible by the Qaddafi regime.  “None of this joyful liberation would be have been possible had Qaddafi not given his people something to be liberated from.  Had he not stolen their freedom, they would not be cherishing it.  Had he not shown them the worst of what people are capable of, they would not be showing us the best.”

What sort of impact would a peaceful world have on art, comedy, and expression?  Much of what we come to cherish and value in life come from our experiences of struggle and repression, and some of the greatest stories ever told are formed in these kinds of moments.  Again, it is obvious that this article is meant to be taken with a grain of salt.  Despite this, it still causes one to think: if we’re ever capable of truly escaping injustice and oppression and cementing what we understand as universal human rights – then what?  What would that world really look like?  What should it look like?


One response to “Would we really want to live in a world of univeral human rights?

  1. c131178n April 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I found this article very interesting because it points out the paradox of pursuing freedom and happiness but at the same time actually eradicating the “source” of happiness. It gave us a brand new perspective of what kind of world we are hoping to realize in international justice. The argument about comedies and arts may be true to some extent, but still, even though it is an April fool article, it seemed nonsense to me to think in the way that eliminating injustice and oppression makes the world not interesting. It gave me an impression that injustice or oppression is a necessary evil for human beings to enjoy our lives. Let me use an analogy. In the aftermath of the huge earthquake and tsunami occurred last year in Japan, there were many interviews from victims saying that they realized how people and society are so kind in helping them. There were many “heartwarming” stories about supports and aids from all around the world. Some said that this unusual situation made the community to unite as one. However, it is morally risky to unconditionally receive this outcome as positive. There are so many lives that have been sacrificed by this incident and thus that optimistic argument sounds like “we couldn’t unite or realize the kindness of our society without the earthquake”.
    Coming back to the topic of injustice and oppression, I think the first priority is to eradicate and try to realize the world without them. Nothing can be worse than losing the people’s lives. Humans cannot live happily unless they can live. This leads to the debate about “human security”. There are many definitions and levels of what constitutes peace, basic human rights, individual happiness. This article made me think of what criterion should be the priority in considering the peace and justice.

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