The wolf in these woods: a human rights tale


author: taylor madarash | contributor

Credit: Amy Zirkle via Flickr

“The relentless cry for “never again” is now an ennui memory forgotten the same way Trudeau “forgot” about how Canadians want voting reform.”

I remember a time when I would laugh at the idea of “history repeating itself.” I couldn’t imagine a world where people would reflect on a drastic mistake and consider making it all over again. To a child like me, war was another fairy tale where the heroes prevailed and humankind lived happily ever after. Slavery was abolished, Hitler was defeated, and the Ukrainian famine ending. We said “never again” like it was a mantra expressing our kind and resilient human nature should evil ever walk the woods again. I was once fortunate in my naivety, but thankfully education has shattered any chance for complacency within me. Never before has there been a more deplorable plague set upon human rights.

Amnesty International describes the year of 2016 as the refining of the “Us vs. Them” rhetoric, with politics as polarized as they have ever been, and politicians dehumanizing minorities to pander to fear. It’s almost no surprise that people were killed for peacefully advocating for human rights in 22 different countries in 2016.

The relentless cry for “never again” is now an ennui memory forgotten the same way Trudeau “forgot” about how Canadians want voting reform.

Today, we live in a world where up to 70,000 people are exploited by human trafficking every year; 13,000 people have been in the Saydnaya Prison of Syria, since the dawn of the government’s war against human rights while refugees are still turned away from countless borders; and 3.1 million, the number of children dying from starvation, increases annually.

The wolf in these woods is Apathy; no one is screaming.

This, I implore you, is why pursuing sustainable development has never been as important as it is today.

In 2015, 193 United Nation member states unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which cover issues ranging everywhere from fair economics, equality in all forms, and the social determinants of health to climate action, peace, and justice.

Now, as history has proven to us time and again in circles we walk through these woods, we cannot rely on policy makers to be held accountable to their promises. But, we can damn well be the generation that stands unquieted to say “enough.”

Never again.

I stand in solidarity with human rights, and that is why I support the SDGs.

UR Amnesty International on campus is bringing the SDGs to the University of Regina on March 18 along with Bruce Knotts, Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nation Office for diversity and social justice and Steve Lee, Director of the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship to train attendees on the goals and how to get involved locally in ways that can make a global difference.

Evil has always walked these woods, and it’s up to us to forge this path to sustainability. There’s a goal for everyone to support, and even the smallest of contributions can light candles in our wake.

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