Human Rights Day 2016
Monday 21st March 2016 has been set aside as “Human Rights Day” in South Africa. I wonder if humans will ever get it right? I wonder if human beings will decide that their human doings have repercussions? The ‘activists’ for this venture have never been seen out here in the poor and rural environment where I am privileged to serve humans. Here we live human rights. No shouting at large crowds, no inciting hatred and vengeance, no politically correct speeches and no favourites. Humans are exactly that – we are all human beings – created in the image of our Creator. Beneath the crust we call skin, lies a human with feelings, emotions, character, shape, size and form. A beating heart, a thinking mind, creative abilities and choices. So, I wonder, why such a furore about skin? An excuse to hate? An excuse to exclude? An excuse to hurt, harm, maim or murder? That’s exactly what it is! You choose to judge! You choose bias! You choose to victimize! So why do we tolerate it all and still give it so much deliberation? Because we want to and because we choose to. Freedom comes when you and I decide not to feed the skin issue and we choose equity and humanity. From the womb to the tomb! We don’t march for it, we don’t shout for it and we don’t give it newspaper headlines. We just don’t, we grow up and we live daily through menial tasks of love and service across the human landscape. We choose to treat all others, even if they are different, the same. We bend down and lend a helping hand, we do our best to be courteous and we listen more and talk less. Actions speak louder than words.
Human rights should never force the poor widow with five children, suffering from diabetes, to forgo her medication because it doesn’t suit ‘the comrades’. Human rights can never force the same widow to eat the entire loaf of brown bread she purchased on the way home from the clinic, so that she learns to ‘obey’ those ‘in charge’. Surely it should be the very ones ‘in charge’ who should have offered to get her to the clinic and to bring bread home for her. Power comes with responsibility to serve, to help, to bend, to assist with their own hands. The politically mighty, are never seen serving the poor when nobody is watching, yet they call themselves ministers!
Human rights should never allow a perfectly formed unborn human being to drop into a slush bucket and to wrestle for life until it has been forced to die. Surely all women know how a life is conceived and should prevent having to demand it to die?
Human rights should never pass by the rubbish dump and ignore the child foraging for food or the old gogo having her pension removed from her grip by lazy, cruel, strong adults who continue to do this because they can!
Human rights should never allow the old man to be locked up all day in a tiny cubicle in the beating sun, while his captors roam the streets and spend his pension in the tavern. He will consider himself privileged when someone remembers to toss him some bread and water. When the night falls and it becomes cooler, he can breathe easier and hopes for a reprieve from his forced confinement.
Human rights are your responsibility and mine. It is a heart condition. We need to put leaders in place who lead by their daily deeds of goodwill and not by their vocal cords. Every day is human rights day. We all can go the ‘extra mile’ and make another human being know that they are valued, especially those that have been discarded and are considered the least. They all matter. Make your human rights day count by being thankful that you were not denied the greatest gift of all – the gift of life. Then fight for someone else.
Rita Edkins, Missions Director