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The question to ask!

Oct 28,2023 - Last updated at Oct 28,2023

Matthew Arnold distinguishes in several of his prose works between “facts” and “truths”. Facts, in his view, are subject to change; truths, by contrast, are not; they are constant.

There is, we believe, a lot of “truth” in what Arnold is saying.

As experts in nearly all disciplines, including science, well know, there are “constants” in all fields, and there are variables and “changeables”. Knowledge itself, in fact, is subject to change.

A lot of things we “knew” a few years, a few decades, and a few centuries ago, which were considered “facts” then, are no longer so now due to “new” discoveries and new knowledge that showed them not to be correct.

We also well know that what one person considers a “fact” may be held as the opposite by another. And this is why people, including scholars and scientists, differ on so many matters.

At the same time, since the dawn of humanity, there are constants or truths that have not been subject to change, or subject to difference or disagreement.

These constants, these truths, are universally and unequivocally acceptable by all and applicable to all.

It is these principles that enable humanity to survive, develop, progress and prosper.

Humanity has fought hard for these principles and truths to materialise. And it should fight hard to uphold and protect them.

We have them enshrined in many of our sayings, in many of our disciplines, in much of our literature, in our laws and legislations, and in the universal declarations and principles we human beings live by and cherish, both within our own individual nations and across nations.

What are some of these principles or truths?

One principle is that human life is sacred regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, sex, age, nationality, geography, faith, level of education, social and economic status, etc.

Another principle is that human beings should be free no matter who they are or where they are. Human beings cannot and should not be enslaved, oppressed, repressed, occupied, colonised, silenced, besieged, confined, harassed, etc.

A third is that human beings are entitled to decent living circumstances in which they freely pursue access to water, food, education, health services, communication, and work; and in which they enjoy safety, normalcy, pleasure, love, etc.

It is important, in this very context, to remind of what the American Declaration of Independence asserted in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The use of the word “truths” is crucial here! And crucial is the use of “all men,” which means all people.

A fourth is that laws ensure justice and order, and that laws should not be broken. Otherwise, injustice will be the result, and disorder and chaos will prevail. And the principle here applies to both individuals and states, with no exception.

A fifth is that violence and war do not solve problems. They only result in human suffering and in tragedies and, ironically, they escalate problems and cause more violence and wars.

A sixth is that the only guarantee of all of the rights mentioned above and of true security, safety and dignified life is peace.

Peace is the stepping stone, as well as the only insurance, for people’s survival, security, and happiness.

There are many other fundamental human principles or truths.

The question to ask here is:

Where are today’s politicians and media in America from the principles declared by America’s “founding fathers” and enshrined in the American Constitution??

And where are today’s politicians and media in Europe and other regions in the globe from the universal human principles and truths which they ceaselessly speak of?

Do human liberty and human rights concern only some nations, some peoples, and not others?? Do we seek liberty and rights for ourselves and deny them to others?

Liberty and rights are universal, whole, and undivided; they apply to all, and they should be enjoyed by all. And those who want them only for themselves and deny them to others are chauvinistic, selfish, colonialist, and racist; and they stand on the wrong side of history.

Standards are standards that apply to all, and double standards are wrong and shameful. This is why we should seek standards no matter what, and not double standards.

If we accept for others what we accept for ourselves, our small globe will be a lot safer, a lot more secure, a lot more equitable and fair, and a lot more prosperous; not for one nation or a handful of nations, but for all.

Our globe will not be honest, and it will not be safe as long as there is tension and conflict in Palestine.

Those who want peace in Palestine, who have been wanting it for the past century, want peace for all: Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people of all faiths. And they want peace for the whole globe.

Those who stand for peace in Palestine want Palestine to be an oasis of peace, and not a conflict-torn or war-torn zone, as it has been so for more than a century now.

The bit of good news coming from the globe is that a rising number of people has proven to be more informed about issues, and more caring about peace and equitable rights for all, than many of their politicians.

And this is why many of the globe’s politicians, especially in the West, need to reconsider their own skewed and hypocritical positions, heed the calls for justice and peace, including those by their own people, abandon agendas dictated by narrow interests and double-dealing, and start standing for justice and peace.

Fundamental human principles and truths dwarf all other considerations; let’s cling unto them not just for the sake of some, but for the sake of all.

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