Wednesday, 22 January 2014

GINS #6 - Our Idea of a Global Charter

            Today in class we once again returned to our study of our Global Issues Novel Study. The people who were in my group for discussions not only had different novels, but each of our novels explored a different global issue that plagues our world today. The issues that were brought together by our particular bunch of novels were, Communism (explored in Paradise of the Blind), Women's Rights/Freedoms (My Forbidden Face), Dictatorship/War (The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles) and Illiteracy and Equality (Leaving Microsoft To Change the World). As a group, instead of trying to solve all of the problems that we had learned about through our novels, we tried to find a way to create a charter that would help establish peace in all cultures and societies.
            By trying to bring together all the countries of our world, we realized that it would be impossible to make everyone happy. Everyone has different ideas as to what a Utopian society should look like, and everyone's ideas are incredibly vast. Also, if we were to incorporate our idea of a perfect world into the real world, wouldn't it become a form of ethnocentrism? By making it law, we would be forcing our perspectives onto those who don't wish to see that reality. Even when we think about all the problems that plague our world, and think to ourselves how can someone possibly want to live in such a situation, in many cases that is what they have grown up to believe. In the minds of those individuals, they could very well feel hatred towards those who are merely trying to help. After all, isn't that exactly what happened in our (Canadian) history?
            We finally decided that though this may be the case, the only way to reach the Utopia everyone is seeking for is by trying to here everyone's voice... and that includes our own. This is when we finally sat down and began our Charter. We began to model our Charter by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, beginning with the basic rights and freedoms. Our first discussion, was about the concept of rights and freedoms. In Canada, the rights that are enlisted (mostly) are meant to be directly for citizens of Canada. The freedoms however are fundamental to our country. They are the root of our values and as such, they are meant for everyone. Now if we were to enforce that difference into the world... well every single person that lives on planet Earth would be considered a citizen. Who is there to say who is and who isn't? So how could we possibly use rights and freedoms if one is meant to be entitled to a specific group of people? After much discussion, we finally decided that we wouldn't have any freedoms, because we believed that freedoms should be enforced just as much as rights, and since there are no guidelines to say who is/isn't a citizen of the world, there is no need for a second category.
          Coming up with the individual rights wasn't at all difficult, but trying to decide what should be the collective rights of the world was close to impossible. The point of our Charter was to equalize everyone in the world and not give a higher standard to certain individuals. How would we be doing that if we were to designate rights to specified groups of people? On top of that, the reason for the collective rights in Canada are due to our country's history. The fact is, that around the globe, every country has their own story to tell. Every single nation of our planet has its very own unique history that cannot be deemed more important than another's. So we decided that we would just do some simple rights. For languages, we decided that in order for governments to cooperate they would need a way to communicate. With a world filled with millions of different languages, there is no way that this could happen without a central language. After some discussion, we realized that English is spoken almost everywhere in the globe. Many countries offer English as part of their learning program, even developing ones. Hence, our first portions of collective rights.
            Now we faced the problem of who would enforce this charter. In Canada, the government enforces our charter and it is a democracy, but who would choose the government of the world. There is absolutely no way that everyone's voice could be heard through a government for the globe. Any piece of legislation is merely a document with a few words on it if it is not properly enforced. So we decided that our charter should be more of a global constitution instead of charter. That's when we realized, all of the countries and problems that we explored in our novels have their own constitution. Each country has its own set of rules that are actually almost identical to those of Canada. The only difference would be that the rules of those countries are never enforced. This of course merely brought us back to square one, and that got me thinking. Is there really a way for there ever to be peace on Earth... and even if there was, would we accept it?

Here is a link to our charter, please feel free to check it out!: 

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