Do you know that Major Maxwell Mahama (the soldier killed by mob attack) had the power and means to defend himself but chose not to just to preserve human lives? For me, it is beyond my limited human understanding. He had a gun on him but he didn’t use it on his attackers because he valued the dignity and sanctity of human life, no matter whose it was! What a sacrifice!! May his soul rest in perfect peace!!!
Now, following the burial of our hero, Capt. now Major Maxwell Mahama earlier today, we must begin to learn the key lessons his sacrificial death was meant to teach us as a people. So then, “Never again” must not just become mere words that will vanish in few days.
It’s time to know that we are all born to be each other’s keeper – to defender and protector each other. It’s time to know we are obligated to respect and ensure the realization of the dignity and worth of others for our own peace and security.
The very first paragraph of the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) made this quite clear. It states, the “RECOGNITION of the inherent DIGNITY and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.
All of us humans are “born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” – so says article #1 of the UDHR.
All the legal provisions on human rights, such as: right to life, no torture, no discrimination, no slavery, no unfair detainment, right to trial, always innocent till proven guilty and others, all exist to give true meaning to the dignity and worth of each member of the human family, be it young or old, black or white, rich or poor, weak or strong.
Indeed one of the first human rights principles we teach young people in our human rights education programmes is the principle of Individual Responsibility in the defence and protection of the dignity and worth of every other person. We all have a duty to other people both individually and collectively. We have a duty to protect the rights and freedoms of other people wherever and whenever the need arises, and we should always do so.
The good book, the Bible commands us to treat others as we would want to be treated. To do for others as we would want them to do for us (see Mathew 7:12). How can you look on while your fellow human being is being attacked without feeling the need to help in anyway? He who witnesses wrong doing and does nothing about it perhaps due to fear, is equally guilty of wrong doing.
So my humble advice to you is: don’t engage in acts of mob justice and lawlessness. Don’t incite mob justice against anyone. Don’t take the law into your own hands – you never know where it will land you. And above all, don’t be unconcerned about the suffering and plights of others. Always try to do something no matter how small, to stop injustice and wrong doing wherever it is taking place if it’s in your power to do so.
Let’s all decide to be there for each other and defend and protect the dignity and worth of human life wherever we find ourselves.
Post written by: Rosemary Kayi