Just over 64% of eligible voters voted in the 2008 US Presidential election. Though that was one of the highest turnouts in decades, that’s not even three-quarters of the electorate.
For most US citizens, the risk of voting today is potentially a long wait in line.
Sunday I learned about a woman whose conviction to participate in electoral politics is so strong that she is facing life in prison.
What seems so far away and removed from our lives came to us up close Sunday when Congolese refugee Albert Mulenda Rajabu spoke about his experiences in the DRC at the Write-a-Thon for Human Rights sponsored by Group 49 of Amnesty International USA.
Mr. Rajabu, a former teacher, stoically shared his own story of surviving two civil wars despite arrest and jailing for his human rights work in the DRC. But he wept when he reported incidences of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls. He shared with the room the following story of a survivor’s account of the sexual violence.
Unfortunately, our world leaders are examples of the difference between what organizational theorists Chris Argyris and Donald A. Schön described as our espoused theory, or what we tell ourselves we believe, and our theory-in-use, or what we actually do.
While the leaders of the world say they believe in the principles of the Universal Declaration, unfortunately, they routinely violate those very principles.
In many organizations, our leaders may sincerely be unaware of how their theory-in-use differs from their espoused theory. In the case of human rights, however, it takes a pretty serious mental pretzle for a leader to believe that extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual assault and imprisonment without charge could possibly uphold the human rights principles set out in the Universal Declaration.
That’s why it is so important for each of us to hold governments worldwide accountable for bringing their practices into agreement with their expressed values.
A Sri Lanka friend of ours has asked that we add our voices to the outcry against the carnage that is taking place today in Sri Lanka and that we not allow the world to continue to stand by.