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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Human Rights Day and reflections on Song “¿Qué Pasaría?”

Human Rights Day, Moving Towards a Perspective of Love in Development, Humanitarian, and Social Justice Work, and Reflections on Song “¿Qué Pasaría?”

Article by Jane M. Kellum - Program Director, Partners for Learning/Education, CARE International in Haiti Lead singer/songwriter of JKDC
Originally published on: Dec 10, 2013 :: 12:36 AM

Today marks the end of the UNITE 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. It is also sixty-three years ago today that the UN General Assembly declared December 10 as Human Rights Days to bring awareness to our inalienable, universal, indivisible, and interdependent human rights. The rights are outlined in the preamble and thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/). Over the years, I have researched and developed a concept that I call the perspective of love in human rights, humanitarian, development, and social justice work. Its development first took place in a paper I submitted to the Inter-American Colloquium on Education and Human Rights in 2011-- Human Rights Education as an Effective Prevention Strategy against Human Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation (original work in Spanish). For me, this “new perspective” is a necessary approach if we ever intend to collectively experience the enjoyment of human rights.

In her article entitled “Human Rights Education: The Construction of a Rights-bearing Person,” (original work in Spanish), María Luisa González (2004) explores the concept of basing an education system on love as opposed to fear. According to González (2004), the opposite of love is fear, and fear understood as "a foundational emotion of human and social life" is the basis for all forms of violence including those non-physical manifestations such as stereotyping, discrimination and all forms of gender inequality. If we take this statement as true, then necessarily any intervention that seeks to avoid reproducing these attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of oppression must originate from what I will call a perspective of love.

In the humanitarian and development world, we hear a great deal about the human rights perspective and the gender perspective—two approaches that I actively employ and to which I adhere in work at CARE in Haiti. However, I believe there is something still very missing in the way we do our work in this field (and most others as well) if we want to actually see change. At the end of the day, a " human rights approach " or a " gender perspective" can only be genuine from a place of love. Although fear is a "foundational human emotion" which acts as a life support for all types of inequality and violations of human rights, as González (2010) astutely points out, our very essence is love which is " the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence" (Fromm 1956).

I define perspective of love as:

· Approaching development, humanitarian, and social justice work as a humanistic responsibility and obligation based on the premise that humans are inherently beings of love.

· Being coherent in all our dealings within these fields of work. It means approaching all aspects of planning, design, development, monitoring, evaluation, partnerships with other organizations, including service contracts, transactions, interactions, and negotiations from a place of love and not one of fear.

· Experiencing and giving love as an action based on four basic elements as defined by Fromm (1956): care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge and that is simultaneously authentic, sincere, and honest.

The perspective of love complements the human rights approach and gender perspective by delving into the base substance of humanity. Love is a not a domain reserved exclusively for religious, moral, and affective spheres. It has just as much a place in the professional sphere as in any other.

With all this said, I would like to share a song I wrote while still a Rotary Peace Fellow in Argentina, “¿Qué Pasaría?” (“What would happen?”) found on our first album Living: Two Sides of the Same Story Chapter I. I believe it is the embodiment of this perspective of love and one I turn back to when I lose my way (which unfortunately can happen on a daily basis at times). On this day of commemoration, I invite you to reflect on this song, human rights, and the change we could see if we were all to adopt the perspective of love in our work and daily lives in general
.
¿Qué Pasaría? | Album: Living: Two Sides of the Same Story Chapter I | Artist: JKDC |
Lyrics: Jane M. Kellum | Music: Jane M. Kellum & Andrés H. P. Casalaspro
©℗2013

English Spanish
Abuse and corruption
Excess in this world
No lack of egoism
By our leaders.

[Bridge]

At first thought
I become indignant
Throwing condemnation
But, do I ask myself?
Do I ask myself?
Do I ask myself?

 [Chorus 1]

What would happen
If we decided
To break, break, break
With hypocrisy
And all the incoherence

That surrounds us
And surrounds us
And surrounds us

And deceives us
Stagnates us
Entraps us
And in the end, kills us?
Conflict exists
And poverty grows
Money not lacking
For only an embarrassingly small part of people

[Bridge]

[Chorus 2]

What would happen
If we decided
To open, open, open
The space for
Grace and humanity
That is genuine
That is genuine
That is genuine

That at times confounds us
Eludes us
But defines us
And in the end, saves us?

Violence explodes
More and more frequently
Life has no value
Resulting in proliferation of death

[Bridge]

[CHORUS 3]

What would happen
If we decided
To demand, demand, demand
That life
Was consider irrefutable
Irrefutable
Irrefutable
Irrefutable

And invaluable
Precious
Appreciate
And even sacred?

What would happen
If we decided this?
What would happen
If we decided this?
Sobran el abuso
Y corrupción en el mundo
De egoísmo no carecen
Tantos de nuestros líderes.

[Puente]

A primera vista
Me indigna
Y echo la crítica
Pero, realmente, ¿me pregunto?
¿Me pregunto?
¿Me pregunto?:

[Estribillo 1]

¿Qué pasaría
Si decidiésemos
Romper, romper, romper
Con la hipocresía
Y toda la incoherencia

Que nos envuelven
Nos envuelven
Nos envuelven

Y que nos engañan
Que nos estancan
Que nos atrapan
Y al final, nos matan?
Conflicto existe
Y pobreza crece
De plata no carece
Sólo una pequeña parte, vergonzosa de gente

[Puente]

[Estribillo 2]

¿Qué pasaría
Si decidiésemos
Abrir, abrir, abrir
El espacio para
La gracia y la humanidad
Genuina
Genuina
Genuina

Que a veces nos confunden
O aun nos eluden
Pero que nos definen
Y al final, nos salvan?

Violencia brote
Cada vez más frecuentemente
La vida ya no vale
Resultando en proliferación de muertes

[Puente]

[ESTRIBILLO 3]

¿Qué pasaría
Si decidiésemos
Exigir, exigir, exigir
Que la vida fuese
Considerada innegable
Innegable
Innegable
Innegable

Y valiosa
Preciosa
Apreciada
Hasta sagrada?

¿Qué pasaría
Si decidiésemos?
¿Qué pasaría
Si decidiésemos?



Originally published on: Dec 10, 2013 :: 12:36 AM

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