Amnesty International – Call To Reason

A call to arms has been made by Amnesty International to focus on current Human Rights issues and unite on May 15th, drawing world attention to “topics ranging from the wrongful imprisonment of journalist Shi Tao in China to the continuing murder, rape, abduction, and displacement of people in Darfur, Sudan.” Add to that list the violation of human rights of the Guantanamo political prisoners, starvation and lack of accessible health care in the Third World. History speaks volumes of lessons learned about proper human rights attitudes and those that are not – the Holocaust; the eradication of indigenous populations in North and South America and so much more. The list is full of worthy topics, all of which need public scrutiny.

Suppression of Human Rights can take many forms, some less obvious than the destruction or alienation of an individual’s rights. Some represent atrocities against history from a cultural stand point by profoundly effecting the speed and evolutionary course of society. One example is the burning of the Alexandrian Library in what many historians consider the beginning boundary of the Dark Ages, a time when the accumulation of knowledge de-evolved. Another is the destruction of ancient Bamiyan Buddha statutes in Afghanistan in 2001. A public protest heard throughout the world was ignored as a crime against art, knowledge, philosophy and religious freedom was committed.

amnesty-international.jpgReported in Agence France Presse: “Ignoring an international outcry, Afghanistan’s extremist Taliban Islamic militia began demolishing statues across the country including two towering ancient stone Buddhas. The Taliban Minister of Information and Culture told AFP the destruction of scores of pre-Islamic figures, designed to stop the worshipping of “false idols,” had begun throughout the country. He said militiamen started wrecking the almost 2,000-year-old Buddhist masterpieces in the central province of Bamiyan, including the world’s tallest standing Buddha measuring 50 meters (165 feet).”

Although no individual rights were trampled upon, important cultural and artistic landmarks were obliterated by the callous whims of a few fanatics. This is an abuse of power based on arrogance and ignorance, a perilous path that encourages the domination of one philosophy by invalidating another while disregarding the right of individual expression.