I thought I should share some of the more amusing efforts at promoting public awareness (in America) about human rights issues. This was sparked by the ‘Save Darfur petfood bowl’ which has the slogan, ‘If we don’t speak up we become accomplices.’ Are dogs and cats part of the caring public? And what, one wonders, will they have to say about human rights — and will we understand it when they do?
But at least this awareness raising — while crossing the species barrier — remains earthbound. A couple of years ago Burma was threatened with an onslaught of Star Trek fans (we should be grateful that Angelina Jolie has campaigned as herself and not as a video-game animated character). But the best of all was last month, when the UN hosted an event with the stars of Battleship Galactica to promote understanding of human rights and armed conflict. Does this mean that the United Nations is proposing to extend membership beyond this planet? And do rights extend to extraterrestrial species as well?
Alex de Waal is the director of Justice Africa. This article was first published in Making Sense of Darfur on 27 April 2009, and it is reproduced here for educational purposes.