HARMONY COMMENTS ON WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
Dear Rene and Norman,
I appreciate your efforts towards harmony on World Day of Social Justice.
Harmony is the most embracing, inclusive, all encompassing and universal common value of mankind. I suggest that we propose Harmony Day, as many will concur, to United Nations to add to World Peace, World Tolerance and Social Justice Day etc. Peace cannot last without harmony. Harmony belongs to the Universe. No one culture can claim harmony as its own. Without harmony the universe will not be eternal.
Social justice in a broader sense can also mean social rights along with human rights. Social rights and human rights are insufficient when mankind has no harmony. Social rights can mean the right to health care, livelihood and society security and so on for the developing world. To the developed capitalist world these are assumed as opportunities rather than rights. In the West we have taken upon ourselves to criticize the developing world for lack of demo0cracy and human rights that we hold dear, such as rights to legal and political representation and rights to freedom of speech. We maintain that the developing world must practice what we value now and forgetting that our democracy and human rights were also hard earned in the past.
The truth is that all cultures of developing world must go through their stage of development at their own pace and in concert with cultural heritage. For the developing nations the most appropriate system is more likely their appropriate harmonious systems. To the developing world during their rise in the 21st Century, social rights may be more relevant and pressing than the Western version of democracy and human rights. Notwithstanding, “We are the best because we have democracy” is the end all statement to end all value debates by Americans.
From a broad human prospective, the three main pillars of human civilization, that are highly valued, are harmony, world major religions and democracy in that order. Harmony as the most ancient culture as well as the most universal common value is priceless. Confucius, Laotzi and other world like minded philosophers predate Christ, Buddha and Mohamed. Harmony between the government and the governed is more desirable and stable than any brand of democracy and likely will include grass root representation. Harmony with nature as taught by the ancients mean mankind is part of nature as in Laotzi’s “Tien Ren Ha Yi”.
The fact that China as an ancient culture did not create a national religion of her own but adopted Buddhism from India and accepted Christianity and Islam demonstrates that she is practicing harmony. In her practice of religion freedom because of Western domination of the past 150 years, one cannot blame China for sensitive to Western interference.
A world in harmony with one self, within all nations, and among the nations and with nature will be most precious. The coming of Harmony Renaissance and Harmony Civilization are inevitable. They are the next wave of creative energy that mankind is waiting for to unshackle us from religious and ideological strife. Harmony Faith is the ultimate self salvation and the resurrection of mankind from global destruction from war and unsustainable development.
Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.
World Harmony Organization
San Francisco, CA
Dear Francis, Thanks for the nice photos of the Chinese New Year Celebration. We have to hope that the Year of the Tiger will be one of harmony.
I am sending you here and as an attachment a short article on the 20 Feb World Day of Social Justice. Harmony is one of the goals set out in the UN General Assembly's designation of the World Day of Social Justice. Thus for our efforts for a harmony renaissance, we can use this World Day as an opportunity for reflection and planning.
I thought that you might be able to write a little introduction putting "Harmony" in the first line as I did above and send it to the bbc site where you had posted the review. It looks like an interesting site but it is not clear how one posts things. All best wishes, Rene
World Day of Social Justice: A Sense of Direction
On a proposal of the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstzan, the United Nations General Assembly has set 20 February as the World Day of Social Justice. It was observed for the first time in 2009, but is not widely known. As with other UN-designated “Days”, the World Day of Social Justice gives us an opportunity to take stock of how we can work together at the local, national and global level on policy and action to achieve the goals set out in the resolution designating the Day of “solidarity, harmony and equality within and among states.”
As the resolution states “Social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The Preamble to the UN Charter makes social justice one of the chief aims of the organization, using the more common expression of that time “social progress”. The Preamble calls for efforts “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”. However, in the preparation of the Charter during the last days of the Second World War, there was no definition given of “social progress”. There was agreement that social justice was definitely more than law courts plus a social policy. It was easier to recognize social injustice than to define social justice.
The societies created by Nazi Germany and the military in Japan with slave labor and the abolition of workers’ rights were the models of social injustice that the drafters of the UN Charter had in mind along with the consequences in North America and Western Europe of the 1930s depression.
Ideas concerning international efforts for social progress were drawn largely from the experience of the League of Nations and especially the International Labour Organization (ILO), which had been created in 1919. The representatives from the USA and Great Britain were most influential in the preliminary work on the UN Charter, other European states being occupied by Germany or still in the middle of fighting. Thus US representatives were strongly influenced in their views of social progress by the “New Deal” legislation of President Roosevelt and the British by the outlines of the 1942 Beveridge Plan, named after its main author, Lord Beveridge, which led to the setting up of the first unified social security system. By 1944, with the tide of war turning, the ILO met in Philadelphia, USA, and set out its aims of post-war world employment policies, freedom of association for workers and the extension of social security measures.
Thus from the start in 1945, the emphasis in the UN system had been on social justice as related to conditions of employment and the right to organize which was made manifest in the 1948 ILO Convention number 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize. Progressively, education was included as an aspect of social justice, in part because education is closely linked to employment. Later, health was added as an element, again because of a close link to employment.
It took much longer but ultimately, gender equality has been included in the aims of social justice as fair employment practices, good education, and adequate health services could often still overlook the existence of women. Even today, can education be the only measure of women’s empowerment? Does reproductive health and rights come under adequate health care?
It is likely that employment, education, health with equality between women and men is as far as government representatives are willing to go collectively in discussing policies and programs of social justice. Further advances will have to come from the non-governmental sector, though representatives from some governments at times can take a lead. Today, we can still see injustices due to social class, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, age, sexual orientation and disabilities. There is a reluctance on the part of governments to deal with these issues nationally and an even greater reluctance to deal with them collectively within the UN system.
However, it is too easy to throw back on others responsibilities for injustices, if at the same time one does not realize how each of us shares personally in the benefits of injustice. Thus, we can use the World Day of Social Justice not only to celebrate the advances made but to get a sense of direction for the road to be yet taken.
* Rene Wadlow, Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association of World Citizens
Dear Leo, Rene, and Francis,I salute each of you in our common quest for harmony and peace for all global citizens as we approach the second UN World Day of Social Justice.Is Social Justice critical to our common goals? What is "Social Justice"? In the year 2000 our Center for Economic and Social Justice participated in a conference at the UN at which we presented a "Declaration of Social Development through Personal Empowerment," a document we prepared together with the Population Research Institute. http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/paradigmpapers/socialdevelopment-un-ppr.htmYou'll see in paragraphs 20-42 a discussion of fundamental human rights centering around the dignity of every human person to which all social technologies, including every nation-state and the UN itself should be subordinate. In these paragraphs we discuss "Social Justice" not in terms of social problems but as a set of social virtues essential for transforming unjust social structures, laws and constitutions, which in the final analysis lie at the root of most human conflicts and wars. We have re-published a pamphlet of Rev. William Ferree, one of our co-founders, that deepened my understanding of the nature of "Social Justice." http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/socialjustice/introtosocialjustice.pdf While written from a Catholic perspective, I think you, just as non-Christians like me, will appreciate the universal moral power of this expansion of moral philosophy.Your comments would be greatly appreciated as we celebrate this World Day of Social Justice.In Peace, Prosperity and Freedom for every world citizen, only through Harmony and Justice,Norman KurlandCenter for Economic and Social Justicehttp://www.cesj.org