“Why did you put rice into soup? I don’t like it, I don’t like it. Please ask me when you put rice into soup. Promise me.” Isn’t this song so cute? A child who is angry with her meal protests to her parents. Some may think that the lyrics are just humorous and witty. If you think so, read the lyrics once more. She didn’t say that she wouldn’t eat the meal which mixed rice with soup. Instead, she wants her parents to ‘ask’ her before they put rice into soup as they please. This song shows not only children’s candid mind but also how people’s arbitrariness can wound someone’s heart.
Let’s think about other examples. Children raised by grandparents are used to being considered as being in poor and pitiful conditions. Thus, people say that they must help and care about those children. However, those children might be loved more than when they lived with their parents. Likewise, runaway teenagers are regarded as a serious social problem. Most adults admonish them to go back to their home by saying, “There is no place better than home.” But, to them, home is a worse place than hell.
In Korea, the public is accustomed to calling the disabled ‘disabled friends’. Ironically, this term was made by non-disabled people, and they argue that it made the public feel more familiarity with the disabled through calling them ‘friends’. In fact, the disabled oppose being called by that title. The followings are reasons: First, the expression can be used only by others. That is, the disabled can’t introduce themselves disabled ‘friends’. Also, the appellation makes the disabled exist only as a friend of the non-disabled, not an independent being. Then, for whom is the term made?
Perhaps, most of us regard these examples as a matter of course and can’t recognize what is wrong. Because of our inclination to think egocentrically, we often forget to be in others’ shoes. Therefore, we behave and speak so easily without consideration of other people’s circumstances. Imagine the feeling by considering that you are a little child and your mother gives you rice mixed with soup that you do not request. Suppose how you would feel if you heard “go back to your home!” even though you fled away from violent parents. How would you react if you were the disabled and people called you ‘disabled friend’ without your consent? You may feel disrespected from those situations. Worse, you could be driven over the edge as your feelings and thoughts are ignored. Love, affection and concern become violence when communication is not made.
To protect human rights is not a daunting thing. It is so easy to do. First, stop the self-centered decisions. Then, talk with others and empathize with them. Get to know what they really want to hear from you, substituting their situations for yours. It would be the first step to respect them as one of the human beings.