Open Mind

“Human rights” is a concept promoted for a long time in many international documents. The national and international conflicts, political attitudes and human behaviors are drawing a tough reality for us to realize that we respect human rights only on paper. Theoretically speaking we all seem to know and to talk about human rights. We even feel offended by certain remarks regarding our questionable behavior.

The humanity is stepping into a ridiculous circle by talking with an incredible credibility about respecting human rights to cover the reality behind it:

  • intolerance regarding human diversity;
  • cognitive stereotypes and social labels used to appreciate a person;
  • discriminative behavior;

Taking into account the difference between reality (who we are) and appearance (how we present ourselves), I ask a few minutes of your spare time to think about the case called “European Train”.

“You took the train Dear Valley Express for a hall trip from Lisbon to Moscow. You are traveling in a couchette that you must share with three other persons. With whom would you prefer to share it from the next passengers?”

1. a Serbian solder from Bosnia;
2. a Swiss overweight broker;
3. a D.J. that seems to have a lot of money;
4. a young artist with AIDS;
5. a gipsy from Hungary recently released from jail;
6. a Basque nationalist constantly traveling in Russia;
7. an Ukrainian student who doesn’t want to go home;
8. a blind accordionist from Austria;
9. a 40 years old Romanian woman with no visa and carrying a 1 year child;
10. an impulsive and misogynist German;
11. a bald-headed Swede apparently drunk;
12. a professional fighter from Belfast which goes to a football game;
13. a Polish prostitute from Berlin;
14. a French farmer speaking only French and with a basket full of cheese;
15. a Kurd refugee living in Germany and going back in Libya;

This conscience exercise must be seriously approach by choosing three desirable persons and three undesirable ones to travel with. It’s a hard thing to do when the persons on the list are extremely different and they could have a hidden agenda considering their description. Every choice has to be explained so you can become aware of the reasons behind your decisions.

The paradox is that no matter who we choose, we’ll still discriminate someone. So you’ll wonder what’s the point if there will be at least one person discriminated. The purpose is to determine more people to realize we are the “slaves” of an intolerant attitude and a stereotypical thinking. Further more everyone could and must learn from this situation that we must have and keep an open mind. – Psychologist, Nicoleta Cramaruc