Tuesday, 19 January 2016

It boils down to this.

In the end you have to consider the rights of the individual.

Yes, it is possible to identify antisocial behavioural trends in different groups of people and cautiousness is a perfectly acceptable response - provided it does not come with crass generalizations.

Yes, decisive action must be taken to ensure that the perpetrators of heinous acts are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice. Failure to do so will only cause further damage to the victims and inevitably lead the gullible and fearful to the extremes of the political spectrum.

Yes, our borders need better monitoring; not through raising fences, but by ensuring that there is a system in place to identify the people who are most in need of asylum and guarantee that they are the first to get it - as required by Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Safe passages need to be established.  More needs to be done by governments and local communities to facilitate the process of integration. This is what sowing the seeds of positive change involves.

All the while we witness a counter current of growing xenophobia and bigotry gradually paving the way for institutionalized group discrimination. Loud and vulgar voices evoke the spectre of oppressive regimes whose memories still linger in the scar tissue of our body politic.

Our modern secular societies are founded on the ideas of liberty and equality before the law. We must take heed and not fall into the trap of thinking it is okay to sacrifice some of our rights to gain some temporary safety; or we risk eroding the very fabric of our civilization.

And we must not forget that rights exist precisely to protect minorities from the whims of majorities; the smallest minority being the individual.