On June 8th Richard Falk, United Nations rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, spoke to a (mostly) grey-haired audience. My superficial and insufficient demographic poll only demonstrates the relative absence of my generation in the crowd. Why is it that one of the most prominent human rights figures of the Israel-Palestine conflict doesn’t draw a more diverse crowd? Is it because he’s grey-haired, too?
Possible answers include: the ambivalent character of Seattle culture or an under-appreciation for the seriousness of protecting and preserving human rights. Increased political activism, particularly among the youth, can certainly shift Seattle’s a-political trend away from apathy. However, I want to discuss the human rights lens – it’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, I agree with Richard Falk in prioritizing the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over other values such as state-sovereignty, religious mandates or ethno-cultural tribalism, e.g. the worldview expressed in Samuel Hutington’s The Clash of Civilizations.
Posted By Thayer Hastings
Posted Jun 14th, 2012