Wednesday 21 January 2009

The New Ten Commandments and the Carnival of Liberty

Just been to Eden Court Theatre in Inverness to see The New Ten Commandments.

If you've never heard of this film before, it's got a slightly misleading title, as it would have been more accurate to call it 10 Short Films About Freedom. Inspired by the 60th anniversary of the passing of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, 10 Scottish film-makers have produced segments focusing on particular rights guaranteed by the Declaration.

The film, and the brief discussion hosted by Amnesty International afterwards, made a few things abundantly clear. Firstly, each one of us depends on the rights contained within the Universal Declaration in ways we very often fail to realise. Human rights and liberty are not some arty-farty job creation scheme for overpaid lawyers; they are the vital lifeblood of our everyday lives.

Secondly, and just as importantly, the responsibility for defending those rights rests with each and every one of us. What was striking about the film was that people very often fail to realise how human rights affect them - until they have an asylum-seeking neighbour removed by the authorities in a dawn raid or have a daughter who takes a flight which comes to an abrupt end over Lockerbie, or have a brother jailed just for looking at extremist Islamic sites on the internet. All of these people suddenly realised that fighting for freedom is something they have to do themselves, not rely on others to do for them.

And that brings me to the Carnival of Liberty. This is a fantastic idea from James Graham. Basically, to coincide with the Convention on Modern Liberty, the idea is to get as many people as possible talking about what liberty means to them and the action we can all take to protect it. To that end, James suggests tagging five people and getting them to blog on the subject.

The five I nominate to make their contribution to the Carnival are:
Iain Rubie Dale.
Willie Rennie MP.
Bill Cameron.
Sara Bedford.
Ed Fordham.

But more important than all this is actually to take some action to uphold human rights, both in this country and across the world. You (yes, you) can do that by joining or donating to a group such as Amnesty, Liberty, Human Rights Watch or NO2ID. Or by organising an event to coincide with the Convention. Or by showing your support for Universal Declaration. Or by writing to the papers or by organising a petition or by... well, you get the picture.

If freedom's important to you, then do something about it.

No comments:

Liberal Democrat Blogs