8 December, 2015

Is it as right as it is said to be?

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Category: European Action Day, Human Rights
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Written by Georgia Christoforidou

Each one of us has the right to express and support his/her opinion, belief or ideology. This means that the freedom of speech, thought and conscience are vested benefits for every person who lives in a democratic society, and they are also approved of national and international prescriptive texts. Of course, the right to inform and be informed through any kind of media chosen is protected by the law, too. However, there are many cases in which either of these freedoms is suppressed, or they offend other people’s rights and for these occasions the constitutions include the appropriate laws which impose penalties or restrictions. But is that enough? Or efficient?

We live in 2015 when democracy is well established, people have the right not only of expression, but also of living in a peaceful society with dignity, security, respect and all the necessary measures are supposed to be taken for these purposes. Nevertheless, we still experience some acts of infringement on human rights: trespassing in the Middle East’s countries, wars, violence, slaughters, terrorist attacks and various other inhuman actions, with the most recent example the attack in Paris that led to the death of 129 people.

In the light of this tragedy, I would like to voice some thoughts. ISIS took the responsibility of these attacks and has threatened for even more. Reactions have sparked all over the world: many condemning articles or essays have been written, hatred videos or photos have been created and so on. Some of them were clear and objective enough, but some others…

In many cases people’s opinion is guided by someone else’s stronger beliefs and that is how hate, lie, mis(or even dis-)information, propaganda, fanaticism and intolerance are born and especially through the Internet, as it is the perfect mean to spread ideas freely and anonymously. Lately, we notice many hatred comments or photos against those of a particular religion, for instance. Messages that want to terrify and videos that bias us against the putative enemy.

 People focus and waste so much energy on condemning and hating indiscriminately and unwisely. They do not observe what is really happening with the fortification of capitals and cities and the demise of democracy. With the excuse of the invisible enemy, states violate grounded rights and enter other countries uninvited. And I can’t help but wonder: if we cannot even protect our life and our properties, how will we defend our right of expression without facing hate speeches?

People should keep a critical mind to everything and not endorse a passive behavior. Meaning: they should react to the injustice, appraising every little thing, because it is about our freedom after all. We should struggle for our due.

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