Why What’s Happening in Venezuela Matters

I don’t like throwing around the terms “human rights”, and I don’t like the idea of governments (such as Canadian, US, UK) going into other countries and telling them what’s what and how to do things.

I don’t like using the term “human rights” because it seems to assume that rights are a commodity. That rights are something that are being infringed upon and that we will never see a full-scale acceptance of inalienable “rights”. It shouldn’t have to be a right to feel safe, protected, and secure in your own home, and country. It is more than that. It is your life. It is your every-day, it is what makes us human, and it’s more than a right – it’s more than a privilege.

Imagine this:  You’re sitting in a cafe downtown. It’s a sunny day. The television is playing a news broadcast. There’s a protest going on four blocks from you. You sip your coffee and continue to scroll through twitter, facebook, and other multi-media on your mobile device. You have work, or maybe class, in an hour. It’s a normal day. Before your facebook can blow up you hear shots fired. You hear screaming. A few minutes later – your twitter feed is being blown up. Your mother, father, and aunts are texting you, “are you okay?”. You reply back in confusion. What’s happening? A Facebook picture is uploaded of a man being shot at the protest. More come. You hear more screaming – and then suddenly, the TV goes dark. The network has been shut off. Twitter stops working. You’re isolated. You’re afraid. Your country is not yours.

Obviously these events don’t always correlate perfectly. There’s days of waiting – and stretches of time that connect atrocities. The point is that the people of Venezuela are not some distant-culture. Yes, they have a unique sense of being but who doesn’t? The people of Venezuela are people. They are our next-door neighbours, friends, and family members.

I don’t know what to suggest to help. I don’t have the answers. Read twitter. Read Facebook. Use the tools available in your country to find out what’s happening – raise awareness. Most importantly – be compassionate. Remember that human borders are merely constructed. We are all people.

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