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Human Rights

The inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Preamble, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

“Rediscovery of the Ordinary”: Ethics, Media, and Violence

By Babli Sinha

This year, we have been awash in images of violence committed by states, by domestic partners and parents, and by organizations and individuals. The images of children’s bodies on the beach in Gaza and of Tamir Rice being shot by Cleveland police officers, to name but two examples, are presented by the media as evidence of an extreme level of brutality, even though the kinds of violence on display are hardly unusual. For some, the presentation of the events as extraordinary spectacles has a very undesirable impact in which they stop engaging with the suffering of others altogether. If the violence is exceptional rather than systemic, why witness it? Why traumatize ourselves by encountering the suffering?

Susan Sontag, in her book, Regarding the Pain of Others, answers these objections by reflecting on the ethics of viewing in connection with memory:

“Remembering is an ethical act, has ethical value in and of itself. Memory is, achingly, the only relation we can have with the dead.”

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Lampedusa boat tragedy: a survivor’s story

Repost from the Guardian. Last October a boat went down off the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 366 migrants on board. What happened next? This is the story of Fanus, a survivor and one of thousands of people who flee Eritrea every year … Continue reading

The Evolution of American Revolutionary

By Grace Lee I first met Grace Lee Boggs in 2000 while filming The Grace Lee Project, a personal documentary that took me on a journey to unpack the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans. I interviewed dozens of women … Continue reading

A Heathen Learning

By Dr. Adriana Garriga-López * These remarks were delivered at the Kalamazoo College 2014 Baccalaureate Service earlier this June. I’ve been asked to meditate on the theme of light for this event, and as I discussed this invitation with my … Continue reading

In search of the activist academic

By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights When people ask me “what do you do?” meaning “what do you do for a living?” I find I have two options for how to respond. One is to look proudly in their … Continue reading