Opinion | Violence in the name of human rights

In today's world, the conversation regarding human rights has shifted drastically. Most of it has been positive since more people than ever are able to live better lives today. Yet there's one disturbing trend which has also been growing at the same time: Violence in the Name of Human Rights.

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The concept itself sounds insane. But it’s far from a conspiracy. An increasing number of people believe that their rights are being personally violated on a daily basis. Furthermore, they have a huge list of things that should be made a right. If they’re not obeyed immediately, then it’s time for riots and chaos. 

Angry protesting

Right to education, healthcare, housing, gender identity, pronouns etc. You name it, there’s probably a protest for it. If you haven’t found it then you haven’t searched hard enough, so try again. 

These protests can take several forms and are far from peaceful. We’re seeing a growing number of arsons, shooting and vandalism. Add murders and looting to the list, and we have our very own dystopian hell. These protestors are not just angry, they’re bitter and vicious. They’re so ruthless that they won’t stop at anything, even if it throws their values under the bus. 

There’s a lot of pressure to conform to the popular narrative. If you don’t, your life, family and livelihood will be attacked and ruined. This isn’t even about rights. Rights are what everyone needs and deserves. This violence is all about privileges and entitlements. 

Commodification of human rights

Don’t get me wrong. People have every right to voice their opinion and protest peacefully. Protests are a way to rally together and bring about changes. However, you can’t violate other rights in a bid to exercise one. Protests can be meaningful, but not if they’re commodified.

This violent turn of protesting isn’t about the welfare of the masses. It’s about the agenda and ego of the elites. The amount of violence that’s spread and justified through fake news and fear mongering is worrying. 

You’ll never see such people fighting for real human rights or for the people who genuinely need it because for them, this is just a temporary excuse to push their agenda. Biased reporting and misinformation aren’t helping either. Riots and arson hurt the very people they’re trying to help by taking away everything and ruining our societies beyond repair. We can never progress if we allow violence to impede us. 

The truth

The angry mob is do consumed by hatred that they don’t pause to think. Rationality and Civility are the tenets of discourse. Such discourses have the power to change minds and lives. But in order to engage in these, we need to understand a few basic truths:

1: Declaring something a human right doesn’t make it automatically appear or available.

2: Everyone isn’t the same and everyone can’t have or be entitled to everything. That’s just not how the world works. 

3: Equality of Outcome can only be determined by an individual’s own circumstances and personal decisions. 

4: The issue of human rights is a complex one. It comes in several shades and layers. Hence there are multiple perspectives and ramifications to take into account. 

5: Everything can’t be a right. Only those unchanging necessities inherent to human beings are called Human Rights. (Eg- Right to Life, Right to Vote, Right to Liberty). 

6: We don’t have all the answers. Thinking we do only increases the problem. So, it’s important to be aware and listen to the other side. 

What can you do

You don’t have to burn down villages to make a difference. Instead, you can contribute in your own way. First, educate yourself and your loved ones about various human rights. Take the time to think clearly and read about the people who’ve made a difference. There are plenty of charities and NGOs you can volunteer for. You could even give out some money or donate old things you no longer require. Don’t forget to treat people well and vote for leaders who’ll do right by people. Every bit counts. 

Final take

Violence in the name of human rights is terrible because it takes away more rights than it guarantees. Protest is a tool for powerful change, but only when used correctly. In the question of human rights, violence isn’t a justifiable means to the end. 

It’s hypocritical. 

Our society has progressed and there’s a way for further improvement without violence or arson. There are still many places in the world devoid of basic human rights. We need to help and fight for them. But all of that’s possible only if we haven’t ruined our own societies and people through violence in the name of human rights.

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