It might be because deep down we are all hypocrites, or it might be the fact that we tend to prefer sweet lies to the ugly reality of truth, but one thing is certain: as much as we like to believe we live in a civilized and moral society, gruesome acts of violence happen all around us, every day. And they happen because, one way or another, they can be justified.
A widespread and little thought about example is torture. Frowned upon as it may be, it still goes on almost everywhere, despite being a violation of basic human rights. Just think of the most notorious cases, those of the American-controlled prisons, such as Guantanamo. If the “war on terror” is a legitimate thing, does it justify applying torture methods to convicted felons (who have tried and maybe succeeded in harming others), if there is a chance of getting vital information from them, which might help protect innocents in the future? Or are human rights inviolable, no matter the circumstances?
In the Western, democratic world, we all agree that the acts of torture committed during the reigns of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya were horrendous and unacceptable. That was part of the reason why we “brought” democracy to their countries, right? But what about the torture of women in developed countries like The United Arab Emirates, or the mutilation of children by rebel forces in many African states? Are these any less infringing on our basic ideals, or is it just not worth the risk of jeopardizing economic interests by interfering to protect the innocent from torture? Apparently the end justifies the means and few feel the need to justify the end.
And speaking of the two bloodthirsty dictators (who happened to thirst for blood long before the USA and its allies finally “noticed”), many common people in their countries still hold them in high regards, despite what the propaganda might have us believe. Why? Because through their acts of torture they became feared, and through this fear, managed to maintain decades of political stability. So does this mean torture CAN be justified? Or does committing these acts alone earn them their fates?
In the end, each person sets their own moral values. What do yours say?
In the last couple of days one video has gone massively viral, having its own #tag on Twitter and dozen of articles written about it. A video that has shocked the world, ”My Tram Experience”.
The woman in the video was later identified as being Emma West and it was these racist comments that have led to her incarceration when she was accused of Racial Harassment.
This video has gotten thousands of responses on Twitter and some of them said she should be arrested and prosecuted, deported or that her child should be removed from her care. But doesn’t she have the right to certain freedoms like freedom of speech? Or doesn’t this speech qualify as it can be considered racially abusive?
Earlier this week, in our ethics class, we were discussing on a related topic; should one maintain their own culture when going to a new place or adapt? In other words, when in Rome should you do as the Romans do?
There is no doubt that moving to a different country is hard, even if we are talking about democratic countries which uphold personal freedoms and condemn discrimination allowing everyone to maintain their own cultural values.
One of the main key aspects of any culture is language, and in Britain, like most of the countries around the world, a resident doesn’t necessarily need to know English. This makes it easier for immigrants to reside within the country speaking only their language, sometimes living in closed communities of the same minority, educating their children in the same culture, with the same values and not conforming or adapting to the British culture. And in this case should people be allowed to immigrate to if they have no intention of adapting to it?
Another important side of a culture is religion. If we were to take the example of France, which is also a democratic country, we will see that in 2004 the parliament passed a law which forbade the wearing of all religious symbols in schools. Even though ALL religious items were banned, even crosses, the law became known as the headscarf ban.
While the 2004 law banned all religious symbols, be they Christian, Muslim or Buddhist or any other, earlier this year France also banned the use of niqabs and burkas in public. Anyone violating this law will be fined or given lessons in french citizenship. Do you believe that it has gone to a point where the republic is denying the rights and liberties of its citizens or is it simply a practical matter of public safety?
But coming back to Britain; by seeing this video and the immigrant woman replying to Emma West, defending her right to be here, to work and still being verbally abused by her makes me wonder is it even enough to adapt?