Friday, July 17, 2009


We believe that all people are born with basic rights and freedoms - life, liberty, and justice.

For this event, I became particularly interested in Youth for Human Rights International. I browsed their site and learned a few things - important things.

I learned that 'in 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights', a copy of which can be downloaded from the YHRI website. In fact, there is a petition urging "all member countries to follow the wishes of the General Assembly and cause the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

There are 30 of these rights namely:

1: We Are All Born Free & Equal
2: Don't Discriminate
3: The Right to Life
4: No Slavery
5: No Torture
6: You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go
7: We're All Equal Before the Law
8: Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law
9: No Unfair Detainment
10: The Right to Trial
11: We're Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty
12: The Right to Privacy
13: Freedom to Move
14: The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live
15: Right to a Nationality
16: Marriage and Family
17: The Right to Your Own Things
18: Freedom of Thought
19: Freedom of Expression
20: The Right to Public Assembly
21: The Right to Democracy
22: Social Security
23: Workers' Rights
24: The Right to Play
25: Food and Shelter for All
26: The Right to Education
27: Copyright
28: A Fair and Free World
29: Responsibility
30: No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights

In a world where boundaries are often overlooked and overstepped, I think this is something worth knowing. I have studied the Philippine Government and Constitution when I was in my senior year in college and it has been truly helpful knowing where I stand as a citizen of my native land. However, living in a world where the the planet has become but a global village, I strongly believe that this Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be made known to every person.

In line with taking action for Human Rights, I pay my tribute to the late great Michael Jackson. His song, "Heal the World", is closest to my heart among his many dearly loved music hits. The video below of his performance on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California is for me his most stellar performance.

Too often, people are remembered for the good that they have done when they have passed away. While they are here, we often notice what's wrong more than what's right. We live with other people as if they'll live forever but the instant they are gone, we pay them tribute as if they never left. When will we ever learn to cherish people while they are still here?

It was really sad to see the Michael Jackson's life go downhill. He started as a very promising young boy full of talent and aspirations. Unfortunately, he ended becoming less and less the person God wants him to be. Nevetheless, the life of one of the most famous music icons of our time - harsh controversies, humanitarian efforts and all - was not without society's influence.

I quote: "I am what I am because of who we all are"...

"Ubuntu" is an idea present in African spirituality that says "I am because we are" - or we are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community, health and faith are always lived out among others, an individual’s well being is caught up in the well being of others.
(Source: Wikipedia)

The way his journey ended reminded me of Vincent van Gogh's own struggles portrayed in Don McLean's song "Vincent". Sadly, while millions of people adored him, only a few was able to stand by his side when he asked, "Will you be there?"

Indeed, the King of Pop was gone too soon.

Image from Afrobella

August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009

Thank you for the music.

by Maya Angelou
(read by Queen Latifah in Michael's memorial service)

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...