by Earlie Doriman
My good friend Jay Pabualan, who is currently working in
, invited me to his facebook page called F.A.C.E.R an acronym for FIGHT AGAINST CRUELTY, EXPLOITATION, and RACISM. Without doubt, I supported his page and readily connected to its growing members whose primary aim is to promote deeper social awareness and understanding about some of the major concerns of human rights as well as animal rights. Recently, he asked me to be an administrator of the same page, and again with no shadow of hesitation, I accepted it with genuine faith to gaining more supporters committed to similar advocacy. Thailand
So how much do we know about cruelty, exploitation, and racism. We should understand that the three terms are relatively parallel, but each has a respective political, cultural, economic, social, and sociological denotation. Having emphasized that, they need to be properly described and distinguished. In many cases, the use of these terms is not interchangeable although overlapping somehow happens in few cases; like exploitation and animal cruelty are related to some extent. However, there is a universal meaning to these that our understanding must be anchored at. Since this is my first attempt to share the heart why F.A.C.E.R came about, I would rather start providing the accepted intrinsic meanings of CRUELTY, EXPLOITATION, and RACISM based on established literatures by trusted authors, renowned theorist, and by some globally recognised organisations.
What is RACISM? According to the Oxford Dictionary, racism is the belief or ideology that all members of each racial group possesses characteristics or abilities specific to that race, in particular to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or groups. But most often than not, this term has a negative meaning as it is associated with race-based prejudice, aggression, abhorrence, and/or oppression. If we seriously subscribe to this definition, any issue concerning racial superiority or inferiority could be swiftly classified as racial discrimination. Being racist is to discriminate against another on the basis of ethnicity, colour and race.
In fact, the United Nation does not use racism as a subject, in its program to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Instead, it defines racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that does the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. It emphasizes in its introductory provision that the Charter of the United Nations is based on the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings. That all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
|(photo from yahoo images)|
Around the world, racial discrimination is prevalent. There is no cultural guarantee that one stranger becomes readily acceptable in an environment unknown to him-the language, the colour, the religion, and etc. That is certainly the reason why a person visiting another place or country is called a foreigner, because he is different amongst the people around. And probably, the term ‘foreigner’ has an inherent racist undertone. There is a higher tendency for most people to be racist to a tourist, albeit some racist remarks are harmless and superficial but clearly unpleasant to culture and sensibilities to a visiting stranger. Even with zero tolerance implemented in many countries, racial discrimination is an experience that one could certainly expect.
I have been to other countries, and honestly have experienced being embarrassed or appalled by flying racist remarks indirectly or directly thrown at me. You could not just be hostile and overly reactive in a crowd where you know you do not belong, otherwise, a band of perpetrators could easily turn around the story and make you at fault. I am sure I am not alone, there are thousands or even millions of people who confronted the same predicament. Verbal racist attacks are certainly serious and demeaning, these are instances that one would wonder what’s wrong with his own race and colour. Whilst most countries have organisations authorise to monitor and implement policies against racial discrimination, the brutal lessons of racism in history remained a nightmare, and this continues to exist as worldwide malady.
Most of these important facts of historical trauma about racism are presented at this link
but the main thing is, if his/her human dignity and welfare are abused, and one person is taking advantage of the other, that amounts to exploitation. Whilst sexual exploitation is the most popular issue around the world, there are dozens more that also require awareness and understanding.
As abovementioned, exploitation comes in many forms and it may be in any one of these common instances: when someone takes something off from another person or a group of people and the latter rightfully owns it, then exploitation is committed; forcing somebody to work against his will (directly or indirectly) even if it promises reasonable compensation, short-changing people in trade, using somebody without his consent or knowledge; taking advantage of others by reason of their sex, age, and economic status; using others to buy or provide things and failed to pay them exactly and promptly. There are many other faces of exploitation which include amongst others: child sexual exploitation; forced labour; child and human trafficking; prostitution, child labour and sweatshops, corporate abuse; slavery; under-compensation; and globalisation.
Generally, exploitation has been around even before the birth of Jesus Christ and so it is an established historical fact. Many theorists provide their own interpretation and thoughtful attempts to explain its causes. The Marxist theory considers the cause of exploitation to the disparity in the socio-economic structure. The proletariats work for the capitalists for a lesser compensation against the actual work done – which means that the working class is forced to sell his labour power in order to survive, whilst the business owners exploits the works performed by the workers to collect too much surplus of the underpaid labour. In other words, the capitalists make their living by generating higher profits but exploiting the ordinary workers. This is so prevalent in a capitalistic society where our present world tends to embrace.
Che Guevara, a famous Marxist advocate said: "The world is hungry but lacks the money to buy food; and paradoxically, in the underdeveloped world, in the world of the hungry, possible ways of expanding food production are discouraged in order to keep prices up, in order to be able to eat. This is the inexorable law of the philosophy of plunder, which must cease to be the rule in relations between peoples”. Marxist structural theory explained exploitation brought about by a whole segment of society to another which, indicated that most developed countries are basically guilty of exploiting poor countries and this defect is an inherent characteristic of capitalism and free market.
The exploitation in developing countries calls the world to ponder. When you buy a pair of NIKE shoes, do you realise how much exploitation has managed to profit? Many other multi-national companies selling signature apparels have contracts in many developing countries for manufacturing. There should be nothing wrong with that, but to know that child labour is rampant and the compensation is far too below than its prevailing prices in the market, is a mockery of human welfare. And this is one of the effects of globalisation – global exploitation targeting the poor nations. This is both socio-economic and political exploitation. So what would happen to many poor people working in factories if the
and other multi-national capitalists pull out all their companies operating in many underdeveloped countries. How could unemployment alleviate living condition? If exploitation is the main concern, is there is any option to put both sides on even grounds. There is no excuse to disguise exploitation, and that is basically the meaning of the word. When one entity is taking advantage of the other because it is vulnerable, exploitation builds its form and poison. United States
Exploitation happens anywhere and it can happen to anyone. Even in homes, exploitation exists. Although there are not many cases being reported, as victims and culprits are just family members, abuse and maltreatment are also home-based. Particularly in developing countries, where child labour is widespread. House maids are susceptible targets of exploitation too, and nations are not naïve to this fact.
|neglect to providing food constitutes |
What is CRUELTY? Right away, you will associate this term to ‘animal cruelty’ or animal abuse. But what constitute cruelty to animals? Accordingly, cruelty to animals is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defence. Infliction of harm could include killing animals for food or for their fur. However, the description to infliction of harm solicits diverging arguments particularly on points about using animals for food. The ASPCA or American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, considers acts of violence or neglect perpetrated to animals as animal cruelty, and this covers overt animal abuse such as dog, horse, and cockfighting; and gross disregard of providing animals their basic care like potable water, food, and shelter. Many countries around the world have laws to protect animals from maltreatment and abuse.
|horse-fighting is animal cruelty|
Although some nations do not strictly implement their laws on animal cruelty, there is a growing number of advocacy from government and non-charitable institutions worldwide; which raise awareness and educate people to fight against animal abuse. These collective campaigns develop deeper consciousness and that people nowadays are more concern to animal welfare than any other time in history.
According to ASPCA, there are two distinguishing character of animal cruelty. One is neglect and the other is intentional cruelty. Neglect is characterised by the failure to provide an animal the necessities to live like food, water, shelter, and health care. Ignorance on the part of the owner on how to properly attend to the needs of his pet constitute neglect. On the other hand, intentional cruelty happens when an individual inflicts physical harm or injury on an animal. In different countries and laws, physical harm or injury has a spectrum of description and definition. Conflicting viewpoints between animal welfare and animal rights left the debate at stalemate. In the
, cruelty to animals is a criminal offence that is punishable by law and the Royal Society for Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) makes sure that abusers are immediately reprimanded . Whilst United Kingdom has the most strict and comprehensive legislation against animal cruelty, Switzerland does not have any statute as of the moment to punish people inflicting harm on animals. China
More articles to come about F.A.C.E.R