The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Americans should not forget the suffering of other cultures in world today

By Brandon Mcglone

Not everyone is able to pursue education, not everyone is able to drink clean water, and not everyone can sleep safely at night. Here at SMU, it can be easy to forget the inequalities that abound across the globe for those less fortunate than us. As a student of Human Rights, I awoke to this unsettling revelation abruptly, and have never been able to view the world in the same way.

Every human has inalienable rights, and though the Founding Fathers of the United States documented this truth hundreds of years ago, it is a concept that has yet to pervade throughout humanity. Stubborn cultural barriers inhibit the propagation of human rights, and as a society with something invariably good to offer, it presents a difficult challenge: to spread human rights without belittling others’ different cultures.

Relative to other nations, the United States is young. We are a democratic-republic because prior to 1776, there was no established precedence determining social order. It was a group of rebels who rejected British rule and began to think independently, and it was this sense of freedom that provided the environment for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be created. We must consider this in the application of human rights globally, because the thing we take most for granted here – liberty – literally could be a foreign concept to others.

Women, for example, are one the world’s largest untapped sources of unscripted potential. Societies tend to create oppressive social structures that make it grueling and potentially dangerous for women to stand up for themselves. Here in the United States, it was only under the Civil Rights Movement that women found a way to voice their grievances within the misogynistic system they faced. The reason women have to fight to be heard in many places is because of outdated social and cultural traditions that serve more harm than good (e.g. Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM is one of the horrific traditions causing innumerable suffering to over a hundred million women worldwide). Unfortunately, in places where FGM is prevalent, many girls and women are too inebriated by fear and obedience to make a stand for justice.

Despite that such oppressive practices seem obviously flawed to many of us, for others it is a deeply engrained aspect of their society, and very much so a way of life. How to introduce human rights into such places is a problem that the world has not yet faced head-on. What we must understand is the longer this suffering continues unaddressed, the roots of such harmful traditions grow stronger.

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