“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” ― Aung San Suu Kyi
Ask anyone about human rights and you will likely get different answers. Some people who have a better grasp of it may give you a more informative answer. But you might be surprised just how many lack the depth of knowledge and understanding on something as critical as the rights that should be inherent to everyone. One of the best ways to learn more about it is to do short or long term volunteer work in places with human rights issues that can be a source of real-life insights and experiences. There are also great fiction and non-fiction books you can read to get a broader perspective. And here are just some of them.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Life for women in Afghanistan has its unique share of challenges that other women from across the globe may not be able to experience or understand. And under Taliban rule, the conditions can be even harsher and oppressive. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes a raw and heartbreaking look into the stories of its female characters woven around tales of friendship, physical and mental abuse, and more.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai
I Am Malala is an inspiring memoir written by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-joint winner Malala Yousafzai. She was shot point-blank in the head by the Taliban when she was 15 years old. Her crime? Speaking up to fight for her right to education.