Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

Have you ever read The Watchmen by Alan Moore?

Ever seen Independence Day?

If you were a New Yorker before 9/11, and lived there after those terrible events, you probably noticed the same thing I did. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but I'm sure stories would echo familiar.

I remember the days and weeks after being some of the calmest, peaceful days in that city. I'm not talking about the constant fear that people felt. Or the sadness. I'm talking about how whenever people walked down the street, they didn't see the problems they had with someone. They saw fellow New Yorkers.

Neighbors. Would-be friends. Possible victims or saviors.

I remember leaving work and heading downtown to see what I could do to help. Blood lines at hospitals were so long... people weren't allowed south of Houston. I asked a cop what I could do, he said "Go ask a cop if he needs anything." Everyone wanted to help.

Watchmen... ID4. You know what those two stories have in common?

Humanity banding together after a horrific event. And you know what? I bet both of those pieces of fiction predict correctly.

Money, power, fame... all of those things are useless in the wake of living through real tragedy.

Ever seen Starman, the movie by John Carpenter?

"Would you like to know what I find beautiful about your species? You are your best when things are at their worst."

I think most people find it stupid to quote contemporary movies, fiction, etc, when it comes to trying to comment on... well, whatever.

Doesn't mean it's not true, right? Does it really matter where we get our inspiration, motivation or strength?

If you were to create a timeline, from when the world was enormous, to when the world got smaller and smaller... starting... when. The telegraph? 1844. The telephone? 1876. The radio? Let's use Armstrong's FM radio as a template... 1935. And so on.

I think that if you put an overlay on that and look at the increase in world wide destruction... that would be something.

Put a different overlay and look at how humans have been helping humans world wide... I think you'd probably see the same kind of dedication humans have for warfare, as they have for kindness.

But the scales would be different.

One is profitable. One is selfless.

There have always been missionaries. Always dictators... atrocities that weren't made evident until the world shrunk a bit here and there...

Look at where we are now. Where every single bad thing is brought to you on hundreds of news channels, newspapers, and online, every day, assaulting us. It's all still happening. Just now, people get famous for it.

Does anyone really know who the bad guys are anymore? And is anyone willing to do the right thing, not point fingers?

If you look at all of those dates and inventions and wars... we're ruining this planet at a frightening rate. Something that's been here millions of years... we've depleted in... 100? Less?

One of my favorite novels, Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, has this great line, and it puts things into a weird kind of perspective. Keep in mind he wrote it in 1999.

"Hell, a century ago everybody had horses."

Unreal.

We have our kids coming... some of us have kids already here. And it's been driven into our heads that we have to do that one thing for our kids. That most important thing that we need to start now, or their future will be ruined.

We have to do them the favor of saving up money for their college education.

I think it's time we start creating a new idea that should be put into the heads of moms and dads, couples thinking of starting a family, grandparents...

We need to start doing more than one favor for our children. And future generations.

Humanity isn't going to just right itself. What few fighters there are out there can use the help. It's time to stop coasting as a species, and start protecting the planet and its inhabitants.

Links to start helping:

NRDC

Amnesty International

PETA

National Homeless Coalition

You don't have to just donate. You can sign up and help these organizations be heard.

By the by, I'm a cynical fucker. I look at this essay here and I know I didn't mention the atrocities that are covered up, the governments that kill their own and look the other way. I won't even get into the mess the US has made because, frankly, this is about Human Rights, and there is a much larger world outside the US. And we can all help.

I might be cynical. But I still have a large amount of hope. I keep wondering if that's the realist in me, or the other part that's slightly insane.

John Painz

2 comments:

Tricia said...

Bravo! Excellent post. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Dave Donelson said...

Even we cynics recognize the need for action. As the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us, “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds