Thursday, May 15, 2008

Count Your Blessings..Share Your Concern

Amid all of the things that occupy one's thought processes during the course of a 'normal' day, there are moments where one is reminded of just how good we have it here, even in the face of the challenges that have been a nearly constant presence in my life over the last three years.

My brother-in-law Michael is recovering slowly at a Rehab Hospital in Massachusetts. It doesn't look like he'll be able to go back to his old group home, but there is a place for him that will have one-on-one care in a residential setting. I'm finding out more soon.

My father is hospitalized in Phoenix after emergency surgery to removed an inflamed and possibly infected gallbladder. He is in the ICU currently. My brother and I are getting updates from Dad's wife as to what we can do and what is needed.

Leslie's daughter Michaela continues to undergo chemotherapy at home, with periodic blood work and scans. She remains in good spirits.

I have a very decent job that presents constant challenges, especially as a single parent of a teenager.

I have reasonable health, even when I don't take care of myself like I should.

I can keep going on about the advantages of living in this country and region of the world, especially in the wake of recent events. We are largely unaffected by tropical weather and plate tectonics to the extent that the residents of Myanmar and China have been in recent days. The hosts of NPR's All Things Considered were in Chengdu for a special series of reports when the quake struck. Their firsthand reports from the scene have been most enlightening and somewhat heart-wrenching.

I have Marjorie to thank for making me think about this. She discovered the Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Challenge and wrote about it today. Her excellent post expanded on the relief agencies that often represent the first line of response to large-scale calamities such as we have seen of late, and the challenges they face not only from the effects of the disaster itself, but of the well-intentioned but misdirected attempts at supporting relief efforts with hard goods that don't meet the immediate need.

Marjorie gave some examples of these relief agencies that need monetary resources to provide for those immediate needs, and resupply for future ones. My donation to Doctors Without Borders is on its' way tonight.

On my own Human Rights front, there are several issues that I am interested in, most notably the oppression and exploitation of women and children, especially in the name of religious intolerance or to sate the desires of elites and the wealthy for sexual gratification.

There are so many examples of egregious abuses outside our borders that it almost seems trivial to cast an eye on those attitudes and abuses that taint our own national legacy. I will not fall into that trap, however. Our nation's history remains fraught with these examples, and some of the most socially ingrained biases are now coming to the forefront as it becomes more evident that an African-American will be one of the major candidates to lead this country. I am seeing some of this firsthand, and have had to look at myself in ways I never thought I would have to. I'll have more to write about this down the road.

Our country is being held up to the mirror in more ways than one, and the world is watching.
In the realm of human rights and how we evaluate our leaders and each other, we will be forced to take a serious look at ourselves in the context of how we function as a nation that aspires to emulate Christian ideals.

In the meantime, take stock of the wealth we have here, both in material and spiritual terms, and be prepared to stand up for what is right for our world.


Dave Donelson said...

Thanks for your thoughts on human rights. As the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us, “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

It's great to see human rights getting coverage in the blogosphere.

Last summer Nelson Mandela brought a group of really dedicated individuals together - ex heads of state and Nobel laureates - to work on solving global issues. His hope for the new group, The Elders, is for them to "speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken". They're working on topics ranging from the crisis in Zimbabwe to rising food costs and they want your help.

There are so many issues in dire need of attention right now, but human rights ties them all together. The Elders launched the Every Human Has Rights campaign to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and celebrate human rights as that common thread that weaves our struggles and our victories together.

We're asking the blogosphere to take part. Would you be willing to add a link from your page to the Every Human Has Rights website? We also have badges and flash widgets so bloggers can show support for the campaign.

We're trying to get as many people as possible to sign a personal pledge to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration. We have action partners to help people get more involved. We have tools so people can bring the 'rights perspective' to their own organization's events. We're doing everything we can to bring people together to stand up for human rights.

We need bloggers. We need you. Please join our effort.

All the best,

Carly Scott
Every Human Has Rights,
campaign team