A Perspective on Human Rights

In reading the works this week by Joe Stork and Beinin a certain realization has become more concrete to me. For my entire life as a Hispanic male in the United States the concept of human rights and in many ways the various freedoms that have come naturally to me as I live in California feels even more constructed compared to how other nations define human rights. This construction I am speaking of is all across nations that hold democracy and human rights almost hand in hand, balancing itself to create a nation where the citizens feel empowered by what they are free to do within a bound ideology among their equals.

The readings by Joe Stork identify various nations in the middle-East that do not have it as easy in negotiating human rights by comparison to where and how I have lived in the U.S. From Egypt to Turkey the set of campaigns set in the early 1970s through 1990s identify a group of individuals looking to raise the concern that their rights as men and women are not being looked after by the governing powers. Their desire for activism and change, individuals such as Saad Ibraham of Egypt and Abdulnabi Alekry of Bahrain put their effort into different outlets based on the different issues their nation had. Many of these activists actions can be compared to the individuals in the 1970s who protested against war and for rights of African Americans.

Each nation’s campaign for human rights was based on different causes and concerns, from political prisoners, women’s rights, or state conditions based on religious affiliations. In reading about these various constructions of human rights campaigns, I found it quite strange how limitations move people to find compromises, as well as on a more aggressive end find change. The understanding that a sense of activism and participation for a cause bigger than the personal individual, and moves on to be a face for an entire group of people from various social standings shows me that the destination can be worth more than the journey.