Okay, so that title may have been a bit misleading, but I can assure you that no one will be more disappointed than myself when nothing happens on today. Not that I pray for disaster; rather, I would just like something unique and interesting to happen, like if extraterrestrial biological entities make their presence know to our species (believe it or not, I almost included that in the article I wrote about Eisenhower). That would be the second best way for our species to actually gain perspective on what “human rights” actually mean. The first would be to sit down and discuss it amongst ourselves and in public venues, in a rational manner that is courageous enough to leave nothing off the table.
In the past, our species has been very inept at this concept for many reasons: economic conditions, social norms, and idealizing a past that did not see equality for all. These articles are meant to be an open forum for this discussion. So after we all survive the Mayan Apocalypse and the far-more-catastrophic-time know as Christmas, we can take a look at the things that will be affecting human rights in the post-13th b’ak’tun era:
- Corporations have more rights than you do. The Gulf Coast is still not a safe place all this time after the BP spill which released 4.9 million barrels of oil, directly injecting this substance into ecosystems that many humans depend on to live. BP also used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersant which have been banned in some country because they actually create new toxic substances. Do civilians have the human right to not be exposed to toxins so that corporations like BP can make a profit, or is this simply the price we pay for any economic progress BP may create?
- Free press is not recognized in many parts of the world. The rule of Pinochet has been over since 1990, but reporters investigating his human rights violations can still have their residences broken into and have their hard drives stolen because of their investigation. How can America help protect the many foreign journalists who are trying to advocate human rights? Does America allow for a true “free press” in our own nation?
- More than two hundred years after the international abolition movement began, human trafficking still exists. It did not simply end with Abraham Lincoln, and widely goes ignored in our nation. In Nigeria, one can even use a voodoo ceremony called Juju to ensure the loyalty of the prostitutes that are trafficked.
- In some places of the world, women’s rights are exactly where they were at the dawn of civilization, if not entirely worse. For example, in our very own nation, there are leaders who would not understand why the woman in this story might not want to keep a pregnancy after this.
- Some people in this nation strive for full LGBT equality, but at its very worst, there are parts of the world where you can lose your life because of your sexual orientation. The United Nations is finally speaking out on this issue, but it does not make life any safer or any less-closeted in parts of Nigeria.
When the 13th b’ak’tun began on August 11th, 3114 BC, human rights was not really something that people discussed. Not every part of the world had stumbled and toiled into civilization. The Sumerians had established a legal system in some way shape or form. Many other groups of people had unspoken mores, but there was no universal standard. Everything was relative to the conditions of the society. So now, as we end this b’ak’tun, some regions are far better, and some have become worse. For example, ancient Iraq could guarantee more protection for its citizens than Iraq today. This is the state of human rights today.
It is enough to make one wonder if human rights is even an achievable concept. Even in one region, and even for an extended period of time. So here is to the end of the Mayan calendar. In the hopes that its end will mark the beginning of a new era in human rights…
Ah, screw it. Send the aliens already.