Human Rights Day

If ever there was a country which needs to pause a moment in a tumultuous world, and reflect on this day it is us.

We have an unenviable history of the abhorrent use of power by the powerful over the powerless, and it has gone on for centuries. This abuse has been dished out in many different forms from local cultures to colonialists, and it happens still in the corporate corridors of our companies.

For Heaven’s sake, it still happens in our homes.

In a world which has grown up to revere the pictures of superiority and competition, there have been some horrible losers along the journey, and what gets left beaten and trampled the most is the doormat of Human Rights.

So here are two quotes which stopped me in my tracks today, and caused me to stare over the rim of my Motherland Mothercuppa just a little longer to watch the people passing by:

“To deny people their Human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” Nelson Mandela

“It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.” Desmond Tutu

You would have to travel for a very long time to find two people who have fought as hard as this for some basic Human rights.

I dropped my son at a rugby practice and drove past Moses, a groundskeeper who has been at the school for over 30 years. We always smile and wave in a friendly but frenzied drop off greeting, but this time I stopped alongside him and shook his hand.

“Happy Human rights day Mosie, we must remember this day.”

“We will remember”, he said, “For we can never forget.”

Sometimes the addressing of the wrongs of the past starts with doing what is right in the present.

And a simple greeting is so NOT insignificant.

We have a basic Human right to be acknowledged, and the sparkle in the eye of the acknowledged leads me to believe that it is the right thing to do.

And to do those things now.

Steve Hall