Every December, there is a lot of talk in the media about human rights because the Human Rights Day is observed by the international community on December 10. Human Rights Day commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration sets out a broad range of fundamental rights and freedoms to which we are all entitled, such as the right to freedom, equality, dignity, personal safety, education, and work. Regrettably, there is one fundamental right to which all of us are entitled, but none of us has because we are oblivious to it. Nevertheless, without it, we will have none of the other rights.
The thing is that one, fundamental fact determines everything in our lives: We are all connected to each other and dependent on each other. Since we do not know it, or do not want to know it, we violate each other’s rights left and right, without realizing that by doing so, we are corrupting the very fabric that sustains and nourishes us. Therefore, our most basic right, which is just as much our duty, is to feel that we are each other’s lifelines.
Whether we like it or not, we are all in this together. The general law of nature is “One for all and all for one,” and it is inescapable. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we will begin to live accordingly.
We do not exploit our children or deprive them of basic needs. On the contrary, we try to provide them with everything they need, and then some, because we feel them as extensions of ourselves.
Likewise, if we felt that everyone around us is also an extension of ourselves, because this is the truth, we would not exploit them.
Right now, we must fight for the used and abused around the world precisely because we feel disconnected from others. Until we solve that sense of disconnection, we will not eradicate exploitation and the struggle for human rights will be futile and useless. If anything, it will benefit only those who gain fame and fortune presenting themselves as the champions of the poor when in fact they profiteer on their tormented backs.
Because the realization of our mutual dependence is essential for mending the ills of human society, I always insist that education for connection is the single most important and urgent initiative that we must take. It must come before anything else because again, if we know that we are dependent on each other, we will not hurt each other and human rights will not be abused anywhere.
Conversely, if we are unaware of our interdependence, we will always find ways to exploit one another, and even organizations that purport to fight for the poor will actually be perpetuating their misery in order to increase their own wealth and power.
People take part in a march against the Islamic regime in Iran on International Human Rights Day. Demonstrators demanded justice for Mohsen Shekari, a 23-year-old man executed by the Islamic regime December 8 for blocking a street and allegedly injuring a soldier during a protest. Demonstrations in Iran that began in response to the death of Mahsa Amini have morphed into a movement against the regime, and protesters continue to demand a secular, democratic Iran. (Photo by Allison Bailey / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
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