10 December, 2016

Welcome to the Oasis

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Category: European Action Day, Human Rights, Internet, Opinion
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Written by Stefan Petrovskiready-player-one-screenwriter-zak-penn-says-its-to_shcv-1920

Ready Player One?

10th December 1948. The day the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A document long since drafted and a concept of universal values even longer ago thought of. From the very early beginnings of human civilization, mutual rights were a mere far-fetched idea of something the world would long fight over and be a terrible cause of war, human suffering and loss of lives. From slavery to white supremacy and acts of murder and uncontrollable human demise, where do we stand today?

Humanity had almost lost its way, not that at our current point in time we have found that way and have abolished all injustices and human error. Although, the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been a great milestone for Human evolution and thus with it came the chain effect of millions of people who to this very day stand up for something they believe in. A world where we don’t have to remind one-another what our human rights are, a world where disrespect and crimes against all of humanity are not more than a utopia fantasy, a world where hate speech no longer needs countering, quite a dream isn’t it?

Several days ago, I stumbled upon a book set in the near future, speaking of a world where Human Rights are no longer respected and individual survival is a key priority; a world in which global warming, corruption and human envy has conquered all. Ready Player One is the book I am referring to. In the first several pages I was introduced to its history and to the current standing of this dystopian novel. This not so unfamiliar scenario, something I was much seeing as a possibility for our world achieving sooner or later, swept into a world where humanity lives in misery and suffering, where human rights are no longer something that can be fought for. In this world, we explore how one boy by the name of Wade Watts who is struggling for survival from his real-world dystopia enters an online world in which he finds peace and harmony. To them it is a simulation known as the OASIS, a much-needed safe haven from the bitterness of the real world and a related allegory to our own world.

The truth of the matter is we are faced with problems both online and offline. Unlike a virtual world that is the OASIS, we are yet to come face to face with our own reality and our own threats. The internet being our oasis is also our desert, the commitment of hate crime and hate speech on the internet is much simpler and much easier to do online rather than offline. Behind the fake identities, hidden personas and your common trolling, words have a far greater possibility of reach and harm on the internet… But, so do Human Rights.

Just like in the offline or real world, The European Convention as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have power and legitimacy in the online sphere. This means that any form of violence or hate a person gets targeted by is in direct violation of that person’s human rights. With fiction writing being ever so close to making a perfect replica of the future, we have to take a moment and think about where hate can lead our world to and the consequences humanity will have to endure.

It is up to us to stand up for our rights, not only today or on days that celebrate our rights, but to acknowledge the fact that we have a common responsibility to stand up for everyone’s rights.

If you want to learn more about your Human Rights, have a look at some resources. Ready player one:

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDgIVseTkuE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRGhrYmUjU4

 


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