Freedom is a mental and physical expression, which gives us the privilege to achieve our goals, live in harmony, and live a fulfilling life. An individual attains freedom by birth and in many countries is granted by a sovereign legislation. This legislation written long ago gives an individual the opportunity to grow, prosper, and achieve the goals distinguished by life itself. In example, U. S. Constitution offers every native born American a set of rules to abide and in terms it offers rights as a privileage for following those rules.
However, in many countries around the world a government constitution may not offer such terms for its people; therefore in 1945 the United Nations committed its resources for developing universal rights, which are known as: Human Rights. A set of thirty rights gives us the opportunity to pursue our destiny or create one for ourselves. As all thirty articles of Human Rights are extremely important, however one certain article stands out above the rest. Article one of Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. ” This particularly well articulated paragraph is the forerunner for the remaining legislation. Without this essential article, rest of the legislation would fall apart as this paragraph is deeply connected to the rest of the articles in meaning, subject, and understanding. As article one states, “Everyone is born free and equal,” but is that statement truly a reality? Why do social class, religion, and gender dominate the idea of true equality?
Why is it if an individual truly wants to be free and treated as an equal they have to seek asylum in the West? However, does their asylum guarantee freedom from social oppression and exploitation? In the movie Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, a middle-age salesman discovers his true calling as a stockbroker. To his surprise one doesn’t need a college education to become a stockbroker. Chris’s, personality is rather motivational and determined to achieve goals and hurdles set before him, therefore he believes he can use these traits and skills attained in life to succeed as a stockbroker.
However, Chris is an African American who comes from a family of no means and seeks to achieve his goals in a time period, which was known to be cruel and hateful. Chris Gardner’s, greatest challenge was to prove to his superiors he was capable of performing at his best and in the essence accumulate investors who provide the investments. During this phase in his life he was participating in an internship for a multi-billion dollar brokerage, but at the same time was homeless and broke. If an individual is truly born free and equal, why did Chris not have his own private residence?
For a period of nearly two weeks, the local subway facilities became the new residence for him during the darkest hour of his homelessness (Smith). However, during his troubles Chris stumbled upon a church, which provided shelter for the homeless. Taking advantage of this opportunity Chris managed to receive temporary residence at the church (Smith). His temporary residence required him to be present in a queue exactly at 6:00 pm and leave the premises the next morning at 8:00 am (Smith). The tough schedule endured heavily on Chris’s lifestyle and sleeping habits.
Ultimately, Chris remained determined and motivated to achieve his goal. He was at the lowest point in his life, but he knew he could only rise from that point onward. Struggles in life prevent true equality and freedom to exist. However, without struggle one truly does not feel motivated to grasp what they truly desire. In the essence, Chris Gardner’s life is a constant struggle for survival and his triumph paved the way for future success, freedom, and equality. The requirements to achieve true equality and freedom derive from your inner instincts for survival.
Once, an individual has overcome the fear of loosing all prized possessions, way of life, and dignity, then only, can an individual be truly free and equal. A recent movie directed by David Fincher, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, exemplifies the simple qualities of article one of the United Declaration of Human Rights. The movie’s protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, loses a case-involving allegation against the antagonist, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom (Fincher). He is ordered to pay a hefty amount in damages and costs (Fincher). At this point in time, Blomkvist is enduring the lowest and most challenging episode of his life.
He struggles to understand, why he lost his battle against a multi-billionaire. However, as the story unfolds he is invited to Hedeby Island to meet with, Henrik Vanger, and the past CEO of Vanger Company (Fincher). To his surprise Vanger offers Blomkvist a chance at redemption and offers to provide sensitive information about Wennerstrom (Fincher). However, Vanger has a simple request for Blomkvist, to find his missing great-niece (Fincher). As the story unfolds, Lisabeth Salander, a young genius computer hacker is brought on as an assistant to Blomkvist (Fincher).
He uses her technical skills to aid in his search for Harriet, the missing great niece (Fincher). Lisabeth Salander offers great help to Blomkvist because she believes Harriet suffered an undesirable ending by the hands of a man. Salander grew up as a misfit; if one was to describe her you could use terms such as punk, anorexic, and anti-social (Fincher). Her turmoil in life has always been proportional to the qualities of article one. She has suffered the harshness of an undesirable life and understands to achieve something you have to fight for it.
In her perspective to be equal and free means to be solid as a rock and to do damage to whomever treats you as an undesirable or takes advantage of a skinny punk girl. For an average individual to feel free and equal one has the ability to use their financial gains to support such necessities as hobbies, shopping, and dinning at your favorite restaurant. However, Salander was restricted from her financial means and her perception created a doubt towards, Bjurman, the advocate under whose supervision Salander was humiliated as a woman. Such demeaning acts only fueled Salander’s rage towards men and successfully recluse her from society.
Her sense of freedom is completely diminished, as she is a puppet of the state under the guidance of Bjurman. However, Salander gains back her freedom by relinquishing Bjuman’s hold over her finances by simple methods of black mail, which she achieves by a camera record of Bjurman raping her (Fincher). Bjurman’s atrocities become a rock wall for Salander, on one side it was she alone and helpless on the other side it was freedom and an opportunity to gain control of her finances. In this case, her finances were the key for freedom, which she seldom took back with force.
The application of terms such as exploitation and powerlessness can be related to the struggles of Lisabeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Article one states, “Everyone is born equal and free,” in the book, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomkvist suffers powerlessness by the hands of Hans-Erik Wennerstrom a billionaire industrialist and exploitation by the hands of Lisabeth Salander, who is hired to gather intelligence on Blomkvist (Larsson 11-34). The life of Lisabeth Salander is also shown as a sub-story in the book and terms such as exploitation and powerlessness can be used to define this moment in her life.
However, both Blomkvist and Salander are born in a free country ruled by democratic values. Why, is it possible both of these individuals suffer by the hands of others? As stated by article one, there existence is as important as the next person, but Blomkvist experiences exploitation and Salander powerlessness. To be born free and equal means to have the ability to live our lives with the out most freedom granted to us by our government and to be treated as equals amongst the rest of the populace. However, in this modern technologically advanced era a simple right such as article one can be ignored if not forgotten.
In our society, we have adapted to the rapid changes in our socio-economic world, which sustained by a simple balance of products produced and products consumed. It’s a simple cycle, which creates more jobs and allows monetary values to circulate. However, one can only participate if he/she has financial gains to purchase the products provided by corporations and conglomerates. Hence, we pay a price in reduced freedom once we attain jobs to gain financial means to support ourselves and consume. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a universal known legislation, which is accepted by every major country in the world.
Therefore, the concept of “to be born equal and free,” is prevalent and widely accepted. However, in some western countries equality is present between social classes, but not between genders. In the book, Education, Equality and Human Rights: Issues of Gender, Race, Sexuality, Disability, and Social Class, Jane Kelley states, “It is evident that we are still far from having achieved equality. The right to equal pay, 24-hour childcare, and free contraception and abortion on demand have not been achieved, despite legislative changes such as the Equal Pay Act of 1973.
Despite the modern concepts of equality present in our society and the understanding of human rights, women are still mistreated by means of not receiving their weight in monetary value for the work done. Over seventy percent of women are in paid work, a figure unchanged since 1999, women still only earn around eighty percent of the male wage (Cole 9-10). We can relate to this sort of inequality if we track our current political issues in the U. S. Once, the time for reelection had arrived the Republican nominee had to be chosen. One of the trending topics between the nominees’ was abortion is to become illegal nationally.
The debate caused a national outcry amongst women and feminist groups. If abortion were to become illegal it would take away the choice a female posses to make a valid decision in her life. In simple terms it create a vacuum of inequality as men in power are subjecting the rights of women. In the beginnings, society formed around the moral values of religion. It gave the average man the ability to be passionate about a higher being and relieve his suffering by allowing someone else to carry the weight. However, certain individuals have abused the concept of religion and its teachings to declare war on other religions and its followers.
The conflicts of the 21st century have been most devastating to our way of life and have become a violation of human rights. The most recent conflict has become a clash between two civilizations (Cotesto 47-60). Vittorio Cotesto the author of, Global Society and Human Rights states, “ From fault line conflicts we are hurtling towards a clash between entire civilizations and, in particular between Islam and the West. ” The destruction of the Twin Towers has proved the United States is not impregnable and created fear amongst the populace of western civilization.
According to Cotesto, “The Islamic fundamentalists feel involved in a Holy War against the West, but they do not represent a state and they are not a hegemonic force in their own world; the United States of America does not feel involved in a Holy War against Islam and furthermore, at present, it is not only the hegemonic state in the West of the entire World. ” The concept of Holy War is a misconception in the West as most Americans stereotype the Middle East to be an Arab only nationality and religion to be Islam. Except, numerous countries exist in the Middle East all with different religions and nationalities.
There is a divide present in what true Islam is and Islam used by Terrorists to justify Jihad. Human rights violations are prevalent in these parts of the world as a greater power (Israel) tries to maintain safety around its borders. Hence, numerous towns around Israel are bombed in retaliation for an attack against its sovereignty. Human Rights, give us an understanding of what we are capable off. As a race we have collectively suffered through centuries of warfare and finally accomplished a task, which should have been achieved sooner.
As our collective intellect has risen from the bottom it has also affected our medium for tolerance, understanding, and acceptance for each other. However, misunderstanding is extremely prevalent in our society as one miss deed can lead to a domino effect of retaliation. Article one of The United Declaration of Human Rights, is a document, which guarantees our individual rights and fundamentally gives us the opportunity to achieve our goals in life and be a guide against oppression, exploitation, and tyranny.
Courtney from Study Moose
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