Humanity, is it just a word we find in the dictionary?

Last Tuesday, I went to Kashida, the DAH Graphic Design graduates exhibition. Partly because one of my closest friends was a graduate that I was really excited to see it. The other part was that I had not been to an Arts exhibition in a long time, not being very fond of any of the Arts. I have to say though, I was impressed.

It came to me how important Graphic and Design was to our lives, and yet I couldn’t help but stand in admiration for the time and effort these students had obviously put in thinking of great concepts for Design, and even better execution.

Many of the graduates had created new fonts as their senior projects. As I flipped through their projects, I realized that the amount of work and effort put in creating a single font was immense compared to how easy it was for us simpletons to just choose a font from the list and start typing. It was outstanding work.

A few other graduates had created board games; one which I liked particularly was a Monopoly-derived game where players had to “rebuild” Palestinian cities to win. Rebuilding a city included building houses, planting olive and orange trees and raising the Palestinian flag. It was so innovative yet original, that everyone was asking the graduate to think of commercializing her project.

The project that seemed to have got to me so deeply and got me into writing this post was one conducted by my close friend and sister, Rawaa Bakhsh, entitled Humanity.

There was a simple black curtain, and hung in front of it were 13 rows of black and white portraits of men, women and children, in each row was 4 pictures.. each of whom had at least one of the 30 human rights deprived from them (see image below).

Rawaa Bakhsh's project "Humanity"

One really touching story was an old woman, who had one blind eye. She actually told Rawaa that living off the streets was less degrading than the humiliation of living in an old people’s home. Another man had a boat as his home. Also, there was a portrait of a man who had pancreatic cancer and was waiting for his death as he had no health care available for him.

There were some children whom had lost their homes after the flooding events of Jeddah, other orphaned children living in Egypt. There were old men and women who were alone and homeless.

On the other wall, she hung a large poster of declaration. I’m sure everyone has heard of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but have you ever thought about the Declaration of Lost Human Rights?

Well, Rawaa had. She hung a large creamy poster in which she had typed the Declaration of Lost Human Rights, in Arabic (see image below).

Rawaa Bakhsh: Declaration of Lost Human Rights

I’ll attempt to roughly translate it for those who don’t know how to read Arabic.

The Declaration of Lost Human Rights

I was born a free person thus granted the right to live. I maybe from a different race, shape, color, gender, language, religion, habitat, ideology, belief, heritage and wealth, but it doesn’t mean we are different for you, me, him and her are all humans. We say what we want, feel what we want, see what we want, be what we want. I was created a free being so don’t enslave me and healthy being so don’t torture me. I have my rights wherever I may be, and if I am not granted them, then someone will take them for me. If I commit a crime, then sentence me, and if I am innocent, let me be. Not every accused person is a criminal, but every accused person has the right to defend himself. You can accuse me of crime, but you will never have the right to deprive me of the right of defending myself. I have freedom of ideology, so respect it, and rights so don’t violate them. Let me travel wherever I want, express however I want, grow up when I want. Let me convert my views, derive my news, do not limit me with imaginary or geographical borders. Empower me in decision making; do not make them for me. Help me if I fail, encourage me if I succeed, teach me if I am ignorant, as when I was born into this world, I was not born a scientist… I was born a human.

To be honest, just reading the declaration and looking at the pictures was enough to make me understand the concept, no other display was needed. How many human beings around the world shared this declaration as opposed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

So, is humanity just a word we find in the dictionary?

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
~ Albert Einstein


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