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[afro-nets] Food for a snowballing thought

  • From: "Claudio Schuftan" <cschuftan@phmovement.org>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 01:45:00 +0700

Human Rights Reader 215


The struggle of man against power is the struggle between memory and forgetfulness. (Milan Kundera).

1. We do not live in a just world. Delivering justice to those who are oppressed and have no voice is, therefore, a noble cause. It is when justice is (systematically) used as a political tool against the marginalized and the discriminated, violating their inalienable human rights (HR), that things become edgy. Actually, the act of delivering justice becomes unjust itself when it is not immune to power asymmetries and is unscrupulously used against the weaker parties.

2. We have, for long, been witnessing this trend where justice is made subservient to a power-asymmetric-world where, for example, the rich and powerful developed countries have a lot more possibilities to wield the tool of (their brand of) justice than the poorer and weaker developing countries. (V. Nath) [Of course, the same applies at national levels].

3. To keep in mind here is the fact that the moral foundations of social justice overlap with the moral foundations of HR; social justice and HR are thus complementary and synergistic. (K. Hessler)

4. Where does this put us? Making those who control power relinquish some of it certainly requires active/mobilized citizens --since those-with-power have ‘reservations’ about entering into binding obligations with long-term structural consequences that can disempower them. [Many of their pronouncements to the contrary are hardly more than politically correct rhetoric…].

5. Therefore, in HR work, we need to go ‘from making-a-snowball to creating-an-avalanche’. The question is: How does a snowball become an avalanche? Can *you* tell me…?

Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

[All Readers can be found in www.humaninfo.org/aviva<http://www.humaninfo.org/aviva%20%20under%20No.%2069> under No. 69] Note that the website was updated in March 2009
Partly taken from D+C No.1, Jan 2009.