“The world is shit.”
A friend of mind told me that a while back, and I don’t blame him. The world really is messed up. It’s messed up because we mess it up. You and I, maybe more of You than I, but this is no time to apportion blame; let’s leave that to PDP and APC.
Today, 10th December is reserved as the World Human Rights day. Some of us are not aware it’s today. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I found out two days back. I then thought of my rights, what the heck are they? I don’t even know if I was taught that in school. The only one that came to my mind was – ‘The right to Life’. And I was not even too sure I was right. Do you then see where the problem is coming from? This world really is shit because we sometimes don’t know our rights and invariably how to relate with each other and our environment – fauna and flora.
I went searching. I should know my rights and I should try to get my neighbours to know theirs.
According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the United Nations in 1948, we have 30 (THIRTY) basic human rights. And they are:
- We are all free and equal
- Don’t discriminate
- The right to life (Phew, I was right)
- No slavery – past and present
- No torture
- We all have the same right to use the law
- We are all protected by the law
- Fair treatment by fair courts
- No unfair detainment
- The right to trail
- Innocent until proven guilty
- The right to privacy
- Freedom to move
- The right to asylum
- The right to a nationality
- Marriage and family
- Your own things
- Freedom of thought
- Free to say what you want
- Meet where you like (Right to join any group you want)
- The right to democracy
- The right to social security
- Workers right
- The right to play
- A bed and some food
- The right to education
- Right to culture and copyright (Copyright here referring to the protection of one’s artistic creations and writings)
- A free and fair world
- A duty to other people, protecting their rights and freedoms
- Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.
There you have it – thirty basic rights of an individual human being. It all sounds like a distant utopia, right? In Nigeria, some or most of those rights don’t even apply. But ask yourself this, have you ever used one? Have you quoted one while being harassed or did you just pass that ‘egunje’ so you’ll be let go and your time not wasted? Did you know that house-help in your house has a right to be treated, not as a slave but, as one of your own?
Our rights start with you and me, not by saying, but by acting. We should try to treat our fellow human beings the right way, with dignity. You can be the exception.
Be the police official that refuses to demand bail money.
Be the Oga or Madam that treats your domestic staff right.
Be the diligent worker that does things right without cutting corners.
Be the compassionate soul that gives the beggar some bread and a warm spare blanket.
Be the one person that does not discriminate just because that lady finds herself attracted to the same sex.
Be the Christian that understands and accepts your neighbour’s right to be a Muslim and vice versa.
Be the one voice that demands a fair trial instead of a mob action.
Be the person that only sees the good in your neighbour.
In this world, we can be a lot of things. Why should it not be the good things? Look at those rights again; do they look religious to you? As a Christian, do they look like the things you’ll find in a Bible? Do they look like words Jesus would gladly speak? Yes, Yes and Yes. Why then do we seem to differentiate one from the other? Why then do we say one thing in our places of worship, things that sound exactly like those basic human rights, but then turn around to act differently? The answer lies within us. Look at those rights, learn them, act upon them and maybe – just maybe – we can get a little bit of our humanity back.
This world might be shit but it’s up to us to either marinade in its stink or turn it to manure and blossom.
Celebrate World Human Rights Day. Know your rights and live better.
Written by Anyibaba