Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Silence is unsustainable; Rohingyans, Humanity, Earth

It is easy to persecute those who are different, less powerful, less-protected, and when the world remains unaware, or simply silent, such exclusion and mistreatment can escalate to invasive, indelible crimes which stain our common humanity. The Rohingya people wake, walk, work, and wish, like so many other peoples in so many other places. Rohingyan babies cuddle, Rohingyan children hope to play, Rohingyan youth hope to find jobs, love, build lives for themselves, and Rohingyan adults and elders, like adults and elders in so many other places, hope for safe, secure, sustainable lives, for the serendipity of circumstance which might allow some joy. Rohingyans, and other excluded peoples, must, however, struggle to find the hope merely to subsist in refugee camps, hope merely for a cessation of persecution, violence, rape, genocide—hope, merely, to survive.

The Rohingya people, any people ostracized, excluded, victimized and “eradicated” in the name or guise of social or economic superiority, share bonds of common humanity with their neighbors, with their oppressors, share bonds with each and all of us. Crimes, violence, depredations and wars against individuals, communities, cultures or nations affect each, and all of us, and each and all of our fellow earth species. The cycles of depletion, destruction, obliteration must cease, while we, as humans upon this interdependent planet, have time to alter, repair, and improve our course of development, as individuals, as societies, as a species. Our capabilities, our arts, our cultures, our brains, our choices distinguish each and every one of us—yet our common humanity, our composition as organic beings, can be reduced, inexorably, to the same components of carbons, hydrogens, and other base materials when life ends. We are equal in death, in decomposition—but is this all that can be attained? The ultimate leveling of us all, when life has ceased?

We live in a world of great resources, arable land, flowing waters, adequate air, sunshine, and modernizing transport, exchange, and communications. People can share information almost as immediately as perceiving (and digitally recording) and transmitting it. While the wheels of change travel as slowly as the minds and hearts of the least connected among us, we are capable of seeing our history, both in perspective long-past, and as it unfolds “real-time.” We are capable of deciding to make changes to the course of our growth, interactions, and evolution as humans. Our decisions, our choices and actions impact our individual, societal, and global development—and our actions affect every other species sharing our habitation spaces. We are responsible for our choices, and we are not alone in bearing the repercussions, or, in a possible, kinder realm, the benefits, of them.

There are seven continents, hundreds of nations, thousands of cultures of humanity living on our interdependent Earth. One central concept, upheld by the U.N. and other governing bodies, by nations, and by individuals, is that there are “universal” human rights. That is, every human being is entitled to safe, secure, and sustainable life. The issues involved include: food, water, energy, environment, even habitat/living space. Beyond this concept of universal human rights are social justice considerations such as equality (gender, cultural, racial, educational, religious, etc), freedom (access to- , use of- , communication/exchange of- information, resources and assets), and the oft-alluded-to “pursuit of happiness.” The right not only to survive, but to thrive. Balanced with these is one central ecological and ethical reality. Out of about 25 million or so species, all are Earthlings. One is human. Ethical priorities must move beyond concepts of safety, security, sustainability and social justice, to concepts of inclusive/ecolo-centric ethics, which value diversity of ecosystems and cultures, and are grounded in an awareness of the relative position of human kind within the ecosystems of the Earth.

The exclusion, violence, extermination and extinction of earth species, of individuals of any species, must cease. We, humans, can be, must be, responsible for our choices and actions, and find sustainable solutions to our life challenges. Short-term acts of control and violence, such as those exacted against the Rohingyans in Burma, permanently alter the evolution of our individuality, of our humanity, of human kind upon this planet.

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