If you ask those of us living in the Africa, almost all of us will tell you that the “human rights” that matter most are those that are basic to the right to life; food, water, shelter, medical care and education for your children.
If you and you family are cold, hungry, sick and illiterate do you think “freedom of the press” has any connection to your daily reality?
If you children are dying of water borne dysentery or malaria exacerbated by malnutrition do “free and fair elections” matter at all to you?
In the west “human rights” exist in an upside-down reality where your problem with food is not about having enough but having's to much.
When it comes to drinking water your choice is not whether you can find any but whether you will choose generic, or designer brand bottled water. You in the west live in a dwelling with central heat and a/c, running hot and cold water, dishwashers, garbage disposals, giant refrigerators, washer/dryers (you have never washed you clothes by hand in your life) and all sorts of “modern conveniences” that we in the third world have never even dreamed of.
The very poorest people, those on welfare/income support would refuse to live somewhere without running hot water, something 95% of the people in Africa can only dream of. When it comes to medical care your medical plan, if you work for Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, may include such necessities as breast reduction surgery or even liposuction. You dont have to worry about being able to find a doctor let alone being able to afford medical treatment.
So doesn't it makes sense that those sitting in the offices of what I call the “human rights mob” in London, Paris and New York don’t even consider having food, water, shelter, basic medical care and education for your children to be “human rights”? No, “freedom of the press” (which of course applys only to those that own the presses), “free and fair elections” amongst mulitple other “freedoms” are what really matter. The human rights mob don’t bother to even list the basics making up the right to life, your very survival, in their catalogue of “human rights”. When a society doesn't provide the basics to the right to life than it is violating its people's human rights in a fundamental, undeniable way. Not only are these countries that fail in this massively violating their peoples' human rights they are really just failed states, unable to provide even the minimum basics to their people.
But hey, if they have “free and fair elections” then they are “democracies” never mind trucks driving around picking up dead bodies in the streets. Even Seattle, USA, home to some of the richest corporations in the world, has to pick up a dead body of a homeless person almost everyday.
In the western countries you find widespread homelessness, hunger, medical neglect, and even poisonous drinking water ie Flint, Michigan. Yet these massive violations of human rights are almost ignored because what matters is “freedom of the press”, “freedom of speech” and “democracy” as in “free and fair elections” never mind the hundreds of million$ spent in winning such.
In Africa where I live, like in Cuba in the western hemisphere, we value real human rights, what I call African human rights, food, water, shelter, medical care and education for your children. Once we have these human rights completely and irrevocably secure than we will start to worry about “Western Human Rights”.
Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at [email protected] or see thomascmountain on twitter or facebook.