What is a Visionist?

"A visionist is an artist, a creator or an individual that sees beyond what is visible to the eyes and brains of human beings. Visionists are thinkers, they are the recognisable brains in soociety, but most times they are seen as absurd, "nerds" and misfits – they just don't fit into the societies. They are people with great dreams and minds."

The English Wikipedia

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Eleanor's War

I have commented in past blogs about how the President and the Secretary of State have persistenty referred to "universal human rights" as a basis for our policies abroad, from China to Libya.   Hillary again refered to it on today's "Meet the Press," where she was unusually inteviewed side-by-side with Defense Secretary Robert Gates about our i ntervention in Libya.  

It occurs to me that our country has entered into a new foreign policy, that of "the defense of universal human rights."   Very few people seem to know the origins of this phrase.  However, as the former Executive Director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK), Mrs. Roosevelt's former home, I am deeply aware that this is a reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was the main accomplishment of Mrs Roosevelt's career.   In 1998, ERVK ran a multi-part program to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the  UDHR.  It included a town hall meeting on the day of the anniversary, December 9, at Marist College, in the Roosevelt's home of Dutchess County; a 7 part college lecture series around the country on human rights that included then First Lady Hillary Clinton, former Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias; Gloria Steinem and others. We also sponsored several teacher training courses on human rights and a local Welfare Reform Monitoring Program that used the UDHR as the standard for evaluating the results of Welfare Reform.  It was an ambitious program for a small organization.

Few people understand that the UDHR is contained in a UN General Assembly Resolution, at the time adoped by all the members of the UN (with some abstantions).    To read the relatively short text and background, I would recommend the website set up in 1998 by a coaliton of non-governmental organizations that banded together to promote the UDHR's 50th anniversary, of which ERVK was only one:  http://www.udhr.org/index.htm.  (Do not access the Declaration from the left hand column of the site, which is a dead link, but yes from the first line of the main page where it is hyperlinked.)

I beleive that a good argument can be made that we went into Libya because the current administration believes deeply in the UDHR.    Therefore, I am not ashamed to say that Libya could be called "Eleanor's War."

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