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Panagiotis Karafotias
28 May, 2024

        By way of introduction, before developing our topic, it would be useful to make an epigrammatic reference to the history of Human Rights for those who are not familiar with it. The first time in history that human rights are mentioned is when the Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC and freed the slaves! This act is the first, as far as I know, landmark in the history of human rights. He himself wrote a declaration stating that all people have rights and established racial equality. The declaration was recorded on a clay scroll and is considered the first Charter of Human Rights!

          Then, human rights, as a social concept, developed hundreds of years BC in China, India and Greece, where for the first time we find the search by philosophers, as a right, of the concepts of freedom, truth, absence fear etc. A characteristic landmark is the speech of Alexander the Great in Opi in 324 BC (the text as it is is disputed and considered a compilation of ideas of M. Alexander, but anyway he proved these ideas in practice) where he refers to unprecedented for that time concepts such as world peace and brotherhood, the abolition of racial discrimination, meritocracy, etc., and which make it a forerunner of Christianity and the principles of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights {UDHA}. Also in China, the philosopher Mencius, about two thousand three hundred years ago, referred to human rights, saying characteristically: "When a leader treats his subjects like grass and trash, then his subjects must also treat him like a robber and an enemy."

           Also, in ancient Greece, India and Rome, "Natural Law" was developed. Then we have the Magna Charta in 1215 and the Petition of Right in England in 1628, the American Revolution in 1776 and the US Constitution in 1787, as well as the French Revolution in 1789 with the famous Liberty triptych, Equality, Fraternity (Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite), the US Declaration in 1791 (Bill of Rights- which included the Virginia Declaration, the British Bill of Rights to 1869), the philosophical theories of the French Voltaire, Rousseau , Diderot, as well as the Englishmen Locke and Hume. And, of course, we have the Charter of Riga Velestinlis, inspired by the French National Assemblies, which we will develop right after, and also the philosophical theories of Tolstoy and Gandhi. At the same time, Christian and socialist worldviews completed the picture.

            As far as international organizations are concerned, only the UN dealt systematically with human rights. The SC was limited to a few sectors of the A.D. The world community had not yet matured when it came to human rights. Colonialism held well, as well as racism, et al. inhumane practices. The tragedy of World War II as well as the progress of democracy contributed to the promotion of human rights. And we reach the most important historical milestone: On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was characterized "model of achievement for all peoples" and where in its 30 articles it covers the widest possible range of human rights. The protagonist was the French jurist René Cassin, who had been influenced by ancient Greek philosophers. Eleanor, the wife of the late American President Franklin Roosevelt, also played an important role.   

           It must be pointed out that an NGO took the lead in achieving the Declaration and this highlights the value and importance of the initiatives of active and responsible citizens. Also, that since the 1945 St. Francis Conference on the UN Charter, about 40 NGOs have been lobbying for human rights to be included in the Charter. The fact is that the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a modern universal social "Gospel", which inspires and charts the right course for civilized humanity.

      And now, to our topic. The rebirth of the Greek state did not take place with the striking of the magic rod of the goddess Athena on the Holy Rock of the Acropolis, where she planted the universal symbol of peace, but with the conception in the sacred womb of the Greek national consciousness and tradition, of the supreme duty to freedom and independence and the means used by the protagonist heroes, the ethnomartyrs and the actively participating Greek people for its fulfillment.

        The Greek Revolution and Ethnogenesis after four hundred or so years of harsh and unrelenting slavery was truly an uncle in its transcendence, a miracle, from a conqueror with barbaric origins and genocidal ambitions, having to his credit genocides, plunders, unspeakable misery and destruction of great civilizations with tolerance but also synergy of other crypto-barbaric powerful circles that envied the Greek cultural supremacy and free, beyond any kind of racism and social exclusion, with a pan-human universal spirit, a Greek worldview. Of course, they also existed for interests.

         And it was a real miracle, after that of the Renaissance, which was created and flourished with the life-giving Greek spirit, that a free and independent Greek State was reborn through rivers of blood and other countless sacrifices, but also with the happy timing of international support.

        And as in 324 BC Alexander the Great, an inspired student of the inimitable global Rector of Philosophy Aristotle, in his speech at OPI, inaugurated a world of peace, brotherhood, meritocracy (aristocracy), without racial etc. discrimination etc., and was the forerunner of Christianity, the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), thus, in modern times, Rigas Velestinlis, also inspired by the French Revolution and the texts of the French National Assemblies about human rights, but with his personally inspired changes and additions, adapted to local but also wider imperatives, he prints "The Rights of Man" (1797 - a year later, on 24/6/1798 he was assassinated) which are also a forerunner of ODDA. If someone studies this important text as well as the ODDA, he will find the truth of the matter. One is really shocked by the brilliant and wise ideas of Rigas about the Rights of Man 156 years ago from the ODDA, full of universal humanitarianism and democracy. This text shows their pioneering nature with regard to the articles of the Universal Declaration and here lies the genius of Rigas Velestinlis:   

      Selectively, Article 1 of the Rights of Man of Riga states that the purpose of people is to "help each other" and live happily and not to "destroy each other". Specifically, Rigas mentions in his original language: "The purpose for which, from the beginning of the world, people gathered from the forests for the first time, to live together, building countries and cities, is to help each other and live happily, and not to eat together or to drink their blood... and to be sure of the enjoyment of natural rights, which no one on Earth has the permission to take away from them".

      Article 2 states characteristically: "These Natural Rights are: first, that we are all equal and not one superior to another. Second, to be free and not the one slave of another. Thirdly, let us be sure of our life, and let no one be able to take it from us unjustly and by imagination. And fourthly, the estates where we have no one can touch us, but they belong to us and our heirs".

       Article 3 states that "all men, Christians and Turks, are naturally equal. When there is a fault in any situation, the Law is the fault and unchangeable. It used to be that the rich is not punished less and the poor more because of the error, but equally".

       Article 4 states that the Law is a free decision and whatever it commands is just and beneficial.in the communication of our lives and to prevent that which harms us". And really the term "communication" expresses more genuinely and more wisely what we today call relationships.

       Article 6 states: "H freedom it is that power which man has in doing all that, where he does not harm the rights of his neighbors. This is based on nature, because of course we love to be free. It has justice as its rule, because just freedom is good. He has the Law as his guardian, because he determines how long we should be free. The moral border of Freedom" is this saying (the quintessence of Christianity as well): "don't do to others what you don't want to be done to you".

        Article 7 states that "the right to express our opinion and reasoning, both in print and in any other way. The right to assemble peacefully. The freedom of any kind of religion, Christianity, Turkism, Judaism and the rest, are not hindered in the present administration. When these rights are obstructed, it is obvious that this comes from Tyranny, or that it is still a memory of the ostracized Despotism, where we expelled".

       Article 10 states that "no person shall be given up in prison, shall not be imprisoned in any other way, than as appointed by the Law and not according to the imagination and will of the judge". Article 16 mentions the right "to rule peacefully over his subjects". Article 34 states "the Bulgarian must move, when the Greek suffers, but the latter again for him, and both for the Albanian and Vlach". Also, the most radical article 35 (last) states that: "When the administration rushes, disobeys, despises the rights of the people and does not listen to their complaints, then the people, or any part of the people, should make a revolution, seize the chariots and to punish his tyrants, is the most sacred of all his rights and the most necessary of all his duties". Notably, something similar was established by the UN General Assembly in the 1980s!

       It is indeed amazing the semantic affinity of these articles with those of the ODDA, which, as is known, have received the influence of the ancient and also the modern Greek spirit.

       Article 1 of the UDHR (total 30) states that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights and must treat each other in a spirit of brotherhood.

       Article 2 of the UDHR states that all human beings are equal without discrimination based on sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, etc. 

       Article 3 enshrines the right to life, liberty and security of person. Article 4 prohibits the status of slavery and the slave trade.

       Article 7 enshrines equality and protection by the Law without any discrimination. Article 18 enshrines freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

       Article 22 states that every person, as a member of society, has the right to social protection.

       But it is worth paying special attention to article 5 of the Laws of Riga, which states: "The free peoples do not know any value of preference in their elections, despite the judgment and preference, they were, each one, when he is worthy and chosen for a public work , can the acquisition. On the other hand, not being worthy, but vulgar, it should not be given to him, because, not knowing how to execute it, he offends and damages the public with his ignorance and incompetence".

       Article 21 of the UDHR, paragraph 2, states that "everyone has the right to be admitted, on equal terms, to the public services of his country".

      This article by Rigas is of particular importance because it points out the importance of meritocracy, something that the ODDA does not include with the same emphasis and which, moreover, is absent from many societies and, unfortunately, especially in ours and when and where meritocracy suffers, democracy also suffers. 

       Also, Article 8 of Riga states: "Security is that trust, where it is given by the whole nation and the people to each person for the protection of his subject, his rights and his subordinates, were when damage shakes one only a man, or unjustly taken from him, the whole people must rise up against that dynast and expel him".

           Article 23 states "the common affirmation and certainty of every citizen consists in the action of all citizens. They said, let us reflect on how, when one suffers something bad, everyone is affected, and for this reason we must assure everyone of the treatment and protection of his rights. This certainty is founded on the self-sovereignty of the nation, they said. the whole nation is wronged when a single citizen is wronged. I do not think that something similar, such as articles 5, 8 and 23 with their original democratic, but also universal meaning and dimension, are included in another relevant international text and, taking into account the analogies, they are incomparable and insurmountable and are genuine Greek and original, sculpted in the genius, thoughtful and visionary mind of Rigas! And, also, what is of particular value and importance is that while similar declarations by international organizations are limited to the theoretical framework, Rigas incorporated his own into the Constitution so that they could be implemented! Also, that Riga's rights had an international character because they concerned the Balkans and Europe, but, as an extension, the world as well. Therefore, he was not only a pioneer in Greece and the Balkans, but also in Europe and the world!

          In any case, one must consider that Rigas lived and worked revolutionary in a revolutionary era and that is why we distinguish the radicalism and revolutionaryness of his ideas and words. However, what should not escape us is that with the passage of time and the supposed stabilization of freedom and democracy in the world, revolutionary ideas like those of Rigas were somewhere forgotten and forgotten. In fact, some have left them to be forgotten and tarnished intentionally because they were disturbing and dangerous for the often undemocratic power and its dubious privileges. Another tragic aspect is that Rigas was also a victim of party robbery in his own homeland.

           However, with the political maturity that the people acquire, unfortunately many times after national dramas and tragedies, the purification comes not from a machine god, but from the people themselves, who can often be "gullible and betrayed", but which meets, recognizes, admits and honors what is nationally "worthy", what is nationally "must". And here lies the importance and value of responsible spiritual orders. Thus, slowly but surely, the pioneering, heroic, revolutionary, nation-building and cosmogonic, inspiring and inspiring thought of Rigas, has been established in the national consciousness and is a valuable and sacred legacy for the present and future generations.     

         Today all humanity faces a more dangerous kind of enslavement, from an enemy who is faceless, hidden, insidious, unconscious, ruthless, merciless, inhuman and dehumanizing. And this enemy is not faced on the battlefields because it does not have a regular army or conventional etc. known weapons. Nor is it faced in the streets and city blocks because it does not have armed groups. Nor, finally, in the air and at sea because it does not have planes and ships.

         This new, nightmarish, enemy, which is already inside the walls, slowly, methodically and crucially threatening social cohesion and solidarity, with countless human centubes already, is a product of the intention "over" and its by-product: the SUPERMAN, a modern tragic symbol of amorality, subculture, atheism and materialistic insanity, devaluation of human ideals, downward leveling of people, deification of power, arrogance, cutthroat competition, profiteering, division, violence, social exclusion .

         Its area of ​​action: where there are people. And its weapons: violence, crime, drugs, terrorism, immorality, etc. His enemy: man and his ideals: freedom, peace, justice, virtue, morality, harmony, beauty. Its ultimate goal: the predominance of the "New Order" by any means, which in the context of the infamous globalization and with a new crutch, international terrorism, attempts to subjugate global society and turn it into an immense HUMAN RESOURCE, where some antisocial privileged people, according to Demosthenes the "perversely happy", exploit people and exploit them inhumanely.

          And for the sake of it, let me read you some official (former) UN data on the human rights picture in the world:

  • The combined wealth of the three richest people in the world exceeds the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries.
  • The wealth of the 32 richest people in the world exceeds the combined GDP of South Africa.
  • The wealth of the 84 richest people in the world exceeds the GDP of China.
  • The wealth of the 225 richest people in the world exceeds 1 trillion dollars. But less than 4ο/o of this amount is enough to provide basic social services to all the people of the Earth.
  • About 200-250 million minor children are forced to work, victims of severe exploitation. In Brazil it is estimated to be about 45 million and in the USA about 5,5 million.
  • Regarding the inhumane "underground industry" of sexual exploitation of minor children, in India it is estimated that there are more than 450 thousand children, while in the USA it is 100 thousand.
  • As for the most inhumane, barbaric and horrific crime of organ trafficking, there is no evidence...
  • Annual global advertising spending has increased by 700% since 1950, outpacing the growth of the global economy.

     These relentless numbers, which sound like the outbursts of an invisible executive squad against the articles of the ODDA, continue:

For basic education worldwide is spent annually (billion dollars) – 6

 For cosmetics in USA only – 8     

For healthy irrigation in the world – 9

For ice creams only in Europe – 11  

For gynecological hygiene – 12

For perfumes in Europe and USA – 12  

For basic health care – 13

For pet food Europe and USA- 17   

For professional entertainment, Japan – 35

For alcoholic beverages worldwide – 105

For drugs – 400       

For military expenses – 780


      It should be noted that while the turnover of the arms trade is constantly increasing alarmingly, approximately ten million children die every year from hunger! What can we say about the endless tragedy of refugees (more than 30 million), that our country in particular has been dramatically affected by the refugee tsunami, as well as the multiple violations of the human rights of national and religious minorities in various countries such as, in particular, in the neighboring Turkey, which, while being criticized by the UNHCR, aspires to become a new Ottoman Empire and continues to threaten Greece in violation of the UN Charter and International Law. And, unfortunately, while the UN, but also the EU and NATO, should have intervened forcefully, they keep a fishy silence! Fortunately, however, finally, a few days ago the European Commission (Commission) reacted and drew attention to Turkey for the violations of the Greek air and sea space! Whether he will respect the Commission, we will see. Also, what can we say about new genocides committed especially by Jihadists et al. under the dispassionate gaze of the powerful! Obviously, some people invest in such tragedies! The list of blatant overt or overt violation of human rights is endless, which creates a horrible picture reminiscent of the portrait of the tragic Dorian Gray, and if it is not dealt with immediately and effectively it will lead to a new Armageddon and we will no longer talk about human, but about inhumane rights! 

       Of course, it is not directly relevant to our topic, but two key problems related to human rights, and which do not seem to be of particular concern to the leaders of the world who worry about much, are the demographic problem and that of social exclusion, for which we will it would be nice if someone more expert than me dealt with them.

        Today, therefore, as perhaps never before, our Motherland - which some people want to turn into a museum and recreation area, having bled out everything that is most precious and valuable, continuously violating many human rights - but also humanity - from pure , genuine, free, radical, sparkling, humanitarian, universal, democratic ideas like these, the pioneering and precursors of the ODDA of the great National Hero and National Martyr Rigas Velestinlis. And if the ODDA of 1948 constitutes a great and valuable global chapter throughout time, the relevant ideas of Rigas are deservedly its best modern forerunner. And it would be a welcome project if some responsible and competent Greek or other body proposed to erect a bust of Riga at the Headquarters of the UN or UNESCO. It would be the least tribute to this Ecumenical Greek -Human -Democrat!-



 photo https://umano.gr 

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