New Internationalist

The Right To Rave

Issue 342

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Another world is possible / HUMAN RIGHTS

The Right to Rave
by Eduardo Galeano, illustrations by Sara Fanelli

In 1948 and again in 1976, the United Nations proclaimed long lists of human rights, but the immense majority of humanity enjoys only the rights to see, hear and remain silent. Suppose we start by exercising the never-proclaimed right to dream? Suppose we rave a bit? Let's set our sights beyond the abominations of today to divine another possible world:

[image, unknown] the air shall be cleansed of all poisons except those born of human fears and human passions;

in the streets, cars shall be run over by dogs;

people shall not be driven by cars, or programmed by computers, or bought by supermarkets, or watched by televisions;

the TV set shall no longer be the most important member of the family and shall be treated like an iron or a washing machine;

people shall work for a living instead of living for work;

written into law shall be the crime of stupidity, committed by those who live to have or to win, instead of living just to live like the bird that sings without knowing it and the child who plays unaware that he or she is playing;

in no country shall young men who refuse to go to war go to jail, rather only those who want to make war;

[image, unknown] economists shall not measure living standards by consumption levels or the quality of life by the quantity of things;

cooks shall not believe that lobsters love to be boiled alive;

historians shall not believe that countries love to be invaded;

politicians shall not believe that the poor love to eat promises;

earnestness shall no longer be a virtue, and no-one shall be taken seriously who can’t make fun of himself;

death and money shall lose their magical powers, and neither demise nor fortune shall make a virtuous gentleman of a rat;

no-one shall be considered a hero or a fool for doing what he believes is right instead of what serves him best;

the world shall wage war not on the poor but rather on poverty, and the arms industry shall have no alternative but to declare bankruptcy;

[image, unknown]

food shall not be a commodity nor shall communications be a business, because food and communication are human rights;

no-one shall die of hunger, because no-one shall die of overeating;

street children shall not be treated like garbage, because there shall be no street children;

[image, unknown] rich kids shall not be treated like gold, because there shall be no rich kids;

education shall not be the privilege of those who can pay;

the police shall not be the curse of those who cannot pay;

justice and liberty, Siamese twins condemned to live apart, shall meet again and be reunited, back to back;

a woman, a black woman, shall be president of Brazil, and another black woman shall be president of the United States; an Indian woman shall govern Guatemala and another Peru;

in Argentina, the crazy women of the Plaza de Mayo shall be held up as examples of mental health because they refused to forget in a time of obligatory amnesia;

the Church, holy mother, shall correct the typos on the tablet of Moses and the Sixth Commandment shall dictate the celebration of the body;

[image, unknown] the Church shall also proclaim another commandment, the one God forgot: You shall love nature, to which you belong;

clothed with forests shall be the deserts of the world and of the soul;

the despairing shall be paired and the lost shall be found, for they are the ones who despaired and lost their way from so much lonely seeking;

we shall be compatriots and contemporaries for all who have a yearning for justice and beauty, no matter where they were born or where they lived, because the borders of geography and time shall cease to exist;

perfection shall remain the boring privilege of the gods, while in our bungling, messy world every night shall be lived as if it were the last and every day as if it were the first.

from Upside Down, Metropolitan Books.


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