Freedom

18 Feb

AFTER CHARLIE HEBDO

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack one of our James Wolfe class in Greenwich looked at the concept of freedom (or not) in the world today.

In groups we discussed and made notes on the lack freedom in the world today as it actually appears to us personally. Then we considered the freedom in the world – as it should be.

We discovered that we are not equally free in the world today:

  • in some countries women are not allowed to drive or choose their own clothes
  • people may not be allowed to speak out against politicians
  • others have to follow strict food or drink limitations
  • parents may choose your partner for you
  • women and children are punished
  • visa restrictions may not allow you to work and travel
  • some women are not free in marriage

In the world as it should be the class believed that the overriding factor was respect for each other and that men and women should be equal.

Following on from this the class looked at the question of human rights and the question ‘Why should you care about human rights?’ This led to a language focus on new lexis:  defend your rights/oppose the government/speak out against the government/speak your mind/take action/ break the law/ stand up for your rights/ discriminate against someone ….

We then had a look at current or recent examples where human rights are challenged:

Raif Badawi, the Mansoura women in Egypt and the arrests of many during the mass protests in Brazil in 2013.

During one of the lessons there was a rather heated discussion about whether people living in some counties, especially North Korea, could actually be happy in the light of the political regime which exists there. If this is all you know, why should you necessarily be unhappy?

It is great to see that some students took the North Korean case outside the classroom and a few weeks after the discussion one of our students send this video – proving clearly that life there is not happy

and brings us full circle back to the topic of freedom.

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