[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[afro-nets] Food for a quiz on your thoughts
- From: Claudio Schuftan <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2006 18:43:36 +0700
Food for a quiz on your thoughts
Human Rights Reader 131
SOME QUESTIONS WITH HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS THAT ARE SELDOM
1. To start with, on matters of our time:
1.1. Does the war against terror not really divert the world's
attention from the underlying causes of growing global insecu-
rity (and the underlying human rights situation.?)
1.2. Should we not transcend old adversarial models and proc-
esses of seeking solutions (defining ourselves by what we stand
against) and bring more light to these processes by encouraging
the development of a more positive way of relating to the prob-
lems as they exists today (defining ourselves rather by what we
stand for)? (J. Buderer)
2. On Health:
2.1. With Health For All by the Year 2000 having failed, should
we be content with Health For Half by 2015?
2.2. Why is it that decentralization of health services has of-
ten led to privatization and fragmentation along socio-economic
lines, exacerbating the class divide?
3. On Science:
3.1. Does the use of statistics by any science make it beyond
dispute or are statistics merely just one method of measurement?
[Somebody said that, if you torture the data long enough, they
will create the evidence you want; they call this 'evidence mak-
3.2. And, have you ever heard of 'stadigraphy'? [It actually is
a new, but minor science; a novel way to tell lies.]. (C.
3.3. Do you feel that science, more often than you want, keeps
off the path of ethics and politics? If so, is that right?
Would you agree that the teaching and practice of values and of
an ideology is what gives our lives and words their full mean-
3.4. Ergo, do we have (or have not) the responsibility to pro-
fess political principles to govern our respective professions?
5. On the Media:
5.1. Why do many of the media we are exposed to no longer inform
us, but only create the illusion of doing so?
5.2. As general public, are we being manipulated?
5.3. Have you noticed that wars are a bit trivialized and that
Western victims are more important than others?
5.4. Why is the focus of news more on drama than on the big pic-
5.5. Why if there are no images, increasingly, there is no news
5.6. Would you agree that rural audiences stay out altogether of
the public debate? --are they the 'deliberately unheard'? (A.
5.7. Is the press thus, with few exceptions, 'partisan' and of-
ten even unethical in a subtle way?
5.8. If the purpose is 'to minimize the noise and maximize the
signal', are internet mailing lists and websites a powerful
means of establishing a common alternative space in restricted
and often repressive media environments?
5.9. Can this medium become a space for open public debate for
the expression of dissenting political opinion, for constructive
criticism and a space for social and political mobilization --a
space to act 'glocally'? (D+C 32:5 May 2005, F&D 42:1 March
6. On poverty:
6.1. What is more appropriate to speak of: 'the feminization of
poverty or the 'povertization' of women?
6.2. Should development objectives be specifically stated in
distributional terms and as poverty-redressing objectives?
6.3. Why have we, both in the North and in the South, not been
able to deprive tyrants of their ability to finance themselves
against-the-interest-of-their-own-people who always end up
6.4. Should international debt not having been used in the pub-
lic interest be legally enforceable? [Many think no, and they
call this type of debt 'odious debt']. (F+D, 42:2, June 2005)
7. On human rights:
7.1. It has been said that basic needs are about 'having' while
human rights (HR) are about 'being'. Think about it. Would you
agree? (U. Jonsson)
7.2. To state the obvious, those who have the power are not
those who have the problems: What is the best response: weaken-
ing the strong or strengthening the weak? [Note that HR work is
about both --and that is the right approach!] (G. Kent)
7.3. Should we not get the street protesters (e.g., at WTO or
WB/IMF meetings) from the barricades and have them join us in an
organized, common, creative and constructive HR cause? Is there
untapped young energy there?
7.4. Should a rights-based approach now be used to frame public
7.5. If yes, does this call for a social contract that would
then have to be given political expression in both legislation
and in public policy?
7.6. How do you interpret the following?: 'HR are not just some-
thing that society or governments simply achieve: they are an
imperative which citizens have to actively demand for'.
7.7. What are and how can we seek viable ways of strengthening
citizens' claims to such rights in highly inequitable and poor
7.8. How can we build a social consensus regarding those rights
and set up/strengthen institutions that will act upon that con-
sensus? [Economic, social and cultural rights have to be inter-
nalized first by all the various actors so that day-to-day prac-
tice and policy decisions are all geared towards a rights-based
7.9. Have you noticed that the results of the ballot have virtu-
ally no impact on the actual conduct of state economic, social
and HR policies?
8. On the semantics of human rights:
8.1. Are we witnessing a process of 'neutering' and denigration
of basic HR language by those who are still for a status-quo?
8.2. Should we not talk about ending rather than reversing HR
8.3. Should we not talk about 'neoliberal global restructuring'
or 'global marketization' instead of just 'globalization' --as
one of the important causes of HR violations?
8.4. Does not charity --e.g., giving out handouts-- allow the
giver to maintain control, i.e., on what to give, to whom, how
and when? Is charity thus not disempowering to recipients and
antithetical to HR? Is that why some have called for not talking
about aid, but rather about 'restitution'?
Did some of these questions make you feel uncomfortable? Or con-
fused as to the better answer?
There is no pass-or-fail in this quiz; but remember:
It is OK and important to have your own opinion on the impor-
tance of HR; Why not proactively share it then!?
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam