I was recently in Seoul, Korea attending a peace conference. The Koreans, being a divided country, have strong feelings for peace. They also have strong feelings for rights. Anyone who says that free speech is not part of “Asian values” ought to spend some time in Seoul where they exercise their right to free speech regularly.
I also saw something that captures the determination of Unite to draft and circulate a Global Bill of Rights. It is this:
A train station — only no trains come here. It is right on the border with North Korea and has been built for the day when trains will pass through coming and going within one country. That’s determination — building a station for the day a train will come.
So it is with Unite for Rights. Unite is building a Global Bill of Rights for the day it will be put to use. For the day when, as with the two Koreas, rights will be recognized among all countries.
Of course it won’t happen overnight. But both will happen: trains will arrive at that station, and there will be a Global Bill of Rights. Why? because human rights are irrepressible; they may be restrained, but they cannot be contained.
Vaclav Havel understood this when he wrote shortly after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Many people thought opposition was futile. He didn’t; he wrote “Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.” After being jailed for this, and other moral acts, he went on to become President of Czechoslovakia.
Help Unite create rights for all people, a moral act, and that day too will come.