What are the core concepts related to human rights? What did you learn about the background of human rights in modern history that has shifted your perspective or that has surprised you in some way?
There are three specific characteristics of human rights that is considered to be its core concepts. One is that it is inalienable, which means that being alive is one proof that no one can ever take over one’s own personal rights as a person. It is invisible which insists on the fact that it cannot be seen and yet it should not be reprimanded as nonexistent, instead, it is untouchable making it unchangeable by any other individual except for the law itself. It is interdependent which imposes that its implication is based on how one person respects the other. Learning these matters about human rights specifically allowed me to see more than what I have noted of the value of human rights. It should be considered more of a lifestyle than simple a set of legal sanctions that could protect or limit a person. Its application could only be satisfied if a person learns how to accept the fact that to be able to live, he should be able to let live of the others.
How would you characterize the mission of Pen America? Which Pen initiatives or programs did you find most promising or interesting and why?
The mission of Pen America to protect the rights of the writers to express themselves and expose particular anomalies in the society, both in the elite and the political side of human history, echoes the right of the people to know as the receivers of the news. The information that the writers sent out creates a more balanced condition of knowing the truth and deciphering for the people themselves on what to actually believe in. Among the programs that personally spoke to me is that of the ‘reckoning with torture’ which specifically features how detainees in America are treated by the American patrols. This basically shows how America, the supposed epitome of democracy and human rights campaign, actually treats people who they have detained in prison cells and specifically consider as people who are against the law.
Both Philip Gourevitch and Toni Morrison discuss the challenges and responsibilities faced by writers when attempting to depict human rights crises and the human experience of human rights issues. What were the key issues faced by writers? What did you find particularly compelling in their talks? Why?
The release of what is true against the need to fabricate facts to be able to protect the rights of the people who they are trying to present to the public [e.g political icons] often becomes a huge dilemma for writers. Nevertheless, weighing the impact of the information they are to share to their readers is a crucial aspect of their responsibility. This is the reason why writers are expected to have a keen understanding of their role and their responsibility to their readers as they have the power to shape the people and create a community even only through the use of their words.