Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Eurovision and Human Rights

I swear, those two are unrelated. They just happen to be what I'm thinking about right now.

I spent the morning listening to this year's Eurovision soundtrack, having finally amended the iTunes listings to tell me which country each song was from. I tell you there's just no point to listening to those collections as an accumulation of music. You have to actually listen to them as representatives of a certain country. For the most part, I understand why certain songs did not make it out of the semi-finals. Although, Ireland's song wasn't really as bad as some of the things that it wound up finishing behind. I'm really likeing Latvia's ska/reggae beat and Ukraine's song that's sort of a hip-hop anthem from the Orange Revolution. The UK's song sucked, but France's wasn't so bad as it ended up being. I think last year's contest had better music, frankly. Here's to still hoping that Juliana will download the video for me! And please know that I'm not really this weird, I just think Eurovision's great. Probably comes from being a model UN kid.

Oooooh and thanks to the French, both the euro and the pound are depreciating against the dollar! Not much, mind you, but enough to get excited!

Finally, I've started reading my books for LSE (at least the ones that I know will be assigned) and one made me think. Should we be thinking about human rights as things that the world owes to us, as things that we are entitled to "by right," or as obligations that we owe to other people? i.e., "I have an obligation to treat you with respect because you are a human being," rather than "I am entitled to be treated with respect because I am a human being." Seeing them in terms of obligations makes the pursuit of human rights a far more active mission because it endows each of us with a responsibility, rather than a sense of entitlement. Does that make violations easier to punish? I hope some of this makes sense to people who aren't me.


Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Maybe both right and obligation?
Obligation goes along with an idea that many people of many faiths can relate to, the golden rule one... Maybe that's a way to talk about human rights and the UN to Americans who would dismiss them.