Saturday, March 24, 2007

One World

I believe this is one world. While there are diverse and varied local governments, local customs and local religions and regional languages, it is, in reality, one world.

And there is one human race. We are one people, separated only by those artificial barriers we have created, languages, customs, religions and governments. And fear.

No one person has greater worth than any other. An American life is not somehow greater, more valuable or more sacred than a Sudanese life, or an Iraqi life, or a Korean life.

From time to time we overcome our fears, we reach beyond our borders, we gaze past our religions and customs, and we ask our governments to recognize this universal truth.

December 10, 1948 was one of those rare moments. The destruction of the greater part of the world wrought by two world wars gave us a rare moment of sanity. The United Nations, in a really rare moment of accord, passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's entire text can be found at
this link.

But indulge me as I repeat just a few of the rights to be honored by all people and all nations. It's an indulgence because, since December 10, 1948 virtually no nation has been willing to sacrifice its blood and treasure to defend or to assure these rights to others.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.

A strong.... no, an overwhelming case, can be made against President Bush's foolish, reckless and disastrous invasion of Iraq and his bungled occupation of the country.

But, regardless of the stupidity that lead the otherwise moral American forces into Iraq, could we please stop and think before we condemn the people of Iraq into a certain political slavery devoid of virtually all of the rights outlines above? Do we just walk out?

The goal of delivering a humiliating defeat to the political enemy here in the United States is not worth the future of Iraq.

If Bush violated many of the rights outlined above, and I believe he did, it simply is twice as wrong to now abandon the fledgling Iraqi state just so we can shackle the errant President.

Do we lack the vision and courage and human dignity to reign in the President without abandoning the Iraqi people?

Do we not have, somewhere in our country, a leader who can reach out to the world and bring safety and peace to a troubled region?

Or is our vision so narrow, so clouded with hatred for the President, we can only walk out on the people we victimized, we defeated, we humiliated, we stripped of pride, munitions, defenses and structures and allow them to fall victim to the strongest swords or most powerful neighbors in the middle east?

Do we not have the moral and ethical obligation to leave Iraq stronger, more free, more stable than we found it?

President Bush may have brought about this destruction, but where is our Roosevelt, our Truman or our Eisenhower who will lead us into a Marshall Plan for Iraq.

Obama? Edwards? Clinton? Giuliani? McCain? It's time for someone to speak up. America and Iraq are crying out for a real leader.




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