The human life is above everything and everyone. According to the development of the conscience of humankind today, no argument can justify the injury, the loss or the interruption of the full life of every woman and man.
In the present world, every normal and decent person strongly rejects the aggressions to human life wherever they come from or whatever justification is used manipulating the most elaborated arguments. Nothing justifies inflicted or allowed death, directly or indirectly, to one person, not even the violation to only one of the physical, moral or spiritual dimensions of the most humble or unknown human person.
The human person is the centre and the priority above every institution, ideology, religion, political power or economic interest; that is why the Human Rights are at present, the ethical measurement of the legitimacy and kindness of governments and the international relations.
No State can decide which rights are the ones because this act contradicts the search for the common good, which is what the State exists for. Much less can the State choose which rights are correct and which rights are not, or separate some rights from other rights or give priority to some rights at the cost of violating other rights; and much less justify the violation of some rights because in other countries or entire regions such rights or other rights are being violated. If others are thieves it doesn’t mean that to steal is good or allowed; it doesn’t mean that we may neglect the moral seriousness of the act of stealing. All of us know, in the second decade of the 20th century that the Human Rights are indivisible, universal and inalienable.
There is already a consciousness, a set state of opinion though not yet consolidated, that every violation to the Human Person’s Rights should be denounced, condemned and diligently prevented. That is the cause and the reason why when there is a flagrant act of violation to those Universal Rights, a concert of denounces and demands is achieved and this should not be amazing to anyone and should be a reason for us to be glad because it shows the mature ness achieved by humankind.
We cannot blame the mass media for the invention of one death or any discrimination or one death penalty or an unfair imprisonment. The duty of the mass media is to reach the public opinion and its right is to observe, to investigate and denounce the abuse by any power whether it is a left-wing or a right-wing power, from the first world or the last world. The only way to make the Mass Media say the truth is to make the expected truth and the experienced truth coincide. That is, the only efficient way to get a good opinion about one action is to act well. We cannot do ethically wrong and expect the media to speak well. One thing is defamation and lie; another thing is to try not to magnify what is of itself big.
How is it possible that we hear some intellectual saying that the fact of denouncing the death of only one human being is to magnify it and justifies this by using the incoherent statement that thousands of persons in the world die or are executed? As if life was worth depending on the accumulated and mathematical amount of deaths. Only one life is worth the same as the whole human life is worth. To play down the importance of the death of only one person or disregarding it can open the door to the justification of what is worse: to kill or let die thousands or millions of persons for any reason of State or politics or religion, or economics. All genocides start with one person and if there is not a strong rejection, the moral relativism of the quantity will justify the exponential growth of death. It’s worse to condemn the magnification of the death of one person than letting him die.
To neglect the death of one person or disqualifying his acts in order to minimize the importance of his death is more serious when the event is in front of our faces and our consciences and we have time and information that allow us to discern. Every neglecting of the death of one person is ethically unacceptable and there is justification to condemn it. Whenever someone becomes an accomplice to death of a defender of life, above every political or social argument he is clearly defining his own moral height.
If it is the case of one person who values and supports violence and death, it’s very regrettable and worrying, but if it is the case of one religious group, an organized mafia or even a modern State, it is even more serious and then the duty of denouncing, of finding solutions and creating states of opinion which lead to disallowing such excesses should be a responsibility of all of us, shared by every honest citizen, by every social group, by every institution which respects itself. This responsibility also includes the entire international community which should make a commitment.
So states the Pope Benedict XVI before the General Assembly of the United Nations:
“The acknowledgement of the unity of the human family and the attention to the innate dignity of every man and woman acquires today a new emphasis due to the principle of the responsibility to protect. This principle has been defined recently but it was already present in an implicit way, when the United Nations were founded and now it has turned more and more into a characteristic of the activities of the Organization. Every State has the primary duty of protecting its population from the serious and continuous violations of the human rights, as well as from the consequences of the humanitarian crisis provoked either by nature or by men”. (Benedict XVI in the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, Friday 18th April 2008. This text was entirely published in “Convivencia” magazine Nº 3, May-June 2008, www.convivenciacuba.es).
We should say clearly and precisely that every nation should respect the sovereignty, the independence and the self determination of the peoples. This is a fundamental principle of the international relations and the dignity and respect that all peoples deserve as well as every group or group of nations. The empires, colonialism and neo colonialism are equally reprehensible by the universal conscience. Nobody wants any nation to intervene in the internal affairs of another nation. But no matter how important this principle is, it’s not more important than the human life. If we accept that the primary, supreme and main value is the lives of persons, then we can understand the fact that a religious leader, that is, the Pope, or the most representative international organization have clarified that the ones who do not respect the human life, even if it is one only person, are the first ones who lead to and provoke the reaction of the international community:
“If the State is not capable of guaranteeing this protection, the international community has to intervene by means of the legal resorts established by the United Nations Chart and by other international instruments. The action of the international community and its institutions, taking for granted the respect for the principles that lie in the base of the international order, never has to be interpreted as an unjustified imposition and a limitation to the sovereignty. On the contrary, the indifference or the lack of intervention is what causes a real harm. What is needed is a deeper search for the means to prevent and control the conflicts, by exploring any possible diplomatic via and by paying attention and also stimulating the slightest signs of dialogue or desire for reconciliation”. (Benedict XVI in the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, Friday 18th April 2008).
It is clear that it is about the intervention of the international organizations and under the United Nations Chart and through the international legal instruments. The real damage, says the Pope, is the indifference and the lack of international intervention when the principle of protecting the citizens without distinction is violated. A government that respects the sacred duty of taking care of the human life of all has nothing to fear. The life of honest citizens and the life of criminals, of political and ordinary prisoners; life from its conception to its natural end, the life of one only person and the life of millions of persons, the life of the peoples of the North or the South, the life in Abu Graib or in Guantánamo and the life in the Cuban prisons or hospitals. Nothing justifies that one only life may be lost. It is regrettable that there may be a neglecting of the seriousness of life loss by considering the number of persons that lost their lives or by considering the immense number of persons that are taken care of inside the country or abroad while they exercise solidarity. Only one Haitian has the same value compared to the ones who died squashed by the collapse. Our humanism would reject the fact of not paying attention to one person because millions died. Why does this principle work there and we neglect it here?
The life of a psychological sane person has the same value than the life of one patient in a psychiatric hospital. Why do they create a commission to investigate the death in one of our hospitals and they do not create another commission to investigate who let die only one person in another hospital? It is a duty of the rulers and a right of the ones under a government. And this is not an invention by present media campaigns or by a right-wing ideological trend. It is a patrimony of our legal and ethical culture throughout centuries, codified in the well known People Right which was founded and elaborated in the Salamanca University in the 16th century with the contribution of the Dominican Fathers, especially with our close Father Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas. So states the Pope in his well known speech in the United Nations:
“The principle of the “responsibility to protect” was considered by the ancient ius gentium as the foundations of all the acts by the rulers towards the persons under their government: in times when the concept of national sovereign States was being developed, the Dominican friar Francisco de Victoria, who was rightly considered to be the precursor of the idea of founding the United Nations, described such responsibility as an aspect of the natural reason shared by all Nations and as the result of one international order whose task was to regulate the relations among peoples. Today, like then, this principle has to make reference to the idea of the person as image of the Creator, to the desire of an absolute and essential freedom” ( Benedict XVI in the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, Friday 18th April 2008).
The essence is the freedom of each human person which is not granted by any State or by any law but by his Creator. It is freedom which makes us free, as Jesus said. The freedom about the women and men, the truth about the mission of the State; the truth about the human rights and duties; the truth about the sacred and inviolable condition of every human life and every dimension and stage of life.
“The only way to be free”, as Martí said, is the cultivation of the truth culture about the human dignity. Martí’s postulate, which is fortunately in force in the present Constitution of Cuba, summarizes our political culture, our humanism: it ratifies the value of life and the human rights; invites us to put this ethical criterion as the supreme law of our Republic and even more: it urges us to turn the absolute respect of the human life into a cult that we all can offer at the altar of the Fatherland.
“I wish the first law of our Republic be the cult of Cubans to the full dignity of men”.
Pinar del Río, April 10th 2010