As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace, and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect.
I'm not sure what to say, or maybe I am. It's probably more of a matter of grounding my thoughts. The recent events in Charlottesville surrounding how matters were handled is not only devastating, but also because lives were lost. This continued violence, rallies etc, are not only severing a nation, but also a cause for emotional and psychological trauma. Can we ignore the histories of the past? Can we ignore slavery, can we ignore atrocities that were committed? I don't think we can ignore them, but we have to move from a point of dwelling upon the past within these contexts.
This thought can be related to that of past personal experiences. If there are unpleasant, or experiences that were forced beyond control, for example: rape, sexual harassment, trauma, violent abuse and so one. Does anyone want to remember these atrocities everyday? A person can acknowledge that these experiences did happen by working through the emotions, but individuals must also find ways of moving forward. Moving forward to a place where healthy emotions, a healthy life can begin, and also be able to deal with the harsh histories in a way that is not destructive to the self.
We could say that we are at a turning point in society, or even in America. Is there a place for poisonous racism? Whilst I did mention in my previous thoughts that everyone has the right, or freedom to express their own opinions / ideas, because this is called Freedom of Speech. However, if this speech violates the rights of others then can we really say that this is freedom of speech? In actual fact rights have been violated.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression, this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideals of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, I the form of Art, or through any media of his choice." However in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 is later amended to state that: These rights carry "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions ... and whenever necessary must respect the rights of others."
Here we can see that there is freedom of expression, but these rights are also restricted. We live in a world where we exist with others, this interdependency has to be considered especially when we think about how freedom of speech is manoeuvred in public spaces.
We can also think about freedom of speech in institutions, especially where there are critical discussions. These spaces must be open enough for the allowance of diverse perspectives, whilst they should not violate, or impinge upon personal rights. These spaces are crucial for the purposes of creating new knowledge, futuristic thinking, and policy making. Ultimately knowledge creation is diffused into communities for the public good.
So we can see how freedom of speech can be utilized and restricted in various contexts and settings. For the purposes of bringing the discussion back to the current events taking place in Charlottesville, we can think about the after math, which involves taking down of the Confederate monuments. What are these monuments? And why are they being taken down? Most of these were erected 35 - 50 years after the war. Records show that they were mean't to legitimize and dignify the White Supremacist regime that had taken hold of Virginia. So here we have direct evidence of what took place historically. Maybe what is happening in Charlottesville is actually a wake - up call.
Should the monuments be destroyed, or should they be kept. This is a current question because we stand to witness the current destruction of these. Could they be used as teachable moments, to understand history? Or maybe it is time to actually confront and deal with the racist past? These thoughts can also be transferred to any event or harsh history that took place. Another example could be that of the India and Pakistan partition, should this be a time of celebration, or not? Many do celebrate, many don't because it was also at this time families, friends, and loved ones were torn apart because of the divisions of land.
Whatever the answer to the Monument question, we cannot ignore what took place in Charlottesville, the deaths and now the aftermath. This actually should be a call to action. The rights of others have been violated. Instead of accepting accountability, or responsibility, we once again see how core issues become blurred, because conversations are becoming more about: who said this, or he / she said it better, or this response was better than that response and so on. The real issues have been covered and ignored because of all of the above.
Thoughts to consider: It is time to confront racist ideologies? Maybe it is time to re - name or re - invent? We must think critically about what these monuments signify. Yes that are a part of history, but, we cannot ignore the contexts that surround them? The discussion should really be brought back to the organizers of the rallies, because they are the ones creating the racial tension at this present moment, not the monument.