Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Worldwide Charter: The Clauses and The Issues

Here is our brainstorming google doc. If you would like to see our thoughts, please check this out!

Hello Everybody!

My classmates and I, have been working on a new inquiry based challenge. Recently, we've been learning about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the individual and collective rights that it gives to all Canadian citizens. The assignment challenged us to make a world Charter, something where individuals of all nations could access and depend on.

While reading my novel, Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong, I was able to gather a fresh new mind set on global issues and the needs that vary from each civilization. In fact, a lot of the concepts that we discussed were based off of the novels we studied. The other 3 books were, My Forbidden Face, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, and The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles. The main issues included communism, women's rights (voicing opinions), illiteracy, and dictatorship. As you can tell, the concerns and interest that we showed was clearly swayed from the knowledge we gained from our own novels.

During this discussion we really focused on these key topics, which were the differences between rights and freedoms, the religions that each country may have, the right to expression, the difficulties with language and communication barriers, and the access to education.

When we were discussing all of these factors, we brought up this idea of separating the world into 4 central areas; the western, eastern, northern, and southern hemispheres. Part of this idea, was introduced through the thought that central religions were spread out around the world. As we can tell when looking at a globe, countries in the same area generally have a similar foundation when it comes to language, culture, and traditions. A great example would be Asia. Although Asia is so widespread, and holds many countries, we see that the civilizations and the traditions that each country share is very similar. This concept was introduced to help meet the needs of collective groups; we believed that it would be easier to group countries with similar traditions so that each individual's identities could be connected and built upon.

One of the heated discussions that we had revolved around the concept of rights vs. freedoms. At the end, our group decided that the main differentiating factor between the two lay in the severity of the legal issues if not abided. When we have a freedom, there is no one enforcing it. We also have the option and ability to choose whether or not we want to express ourselves. Rights are enforced and are protected through legal actions. Ex. mobility, legal, ect. From this information that we had introduced, we started to rethink our clause on the "freedom" to express ourselves. The largest concern with this phrasing was the issues with certain groups such as the Taliban. Who's to say that they won't harm someone for what they express? Will anyone even be brave enough to do so? These questions came up and we decided to change the wording to rights instead of freedoms, due to the fact that it is and would be enforced.

As for concerns with language barriers, our group decided to address the issue by taking the language most widely-spoken. English. Although all countries are able to speak their mother-tongue, the language used on an international and government scale would be English. This is due to the fact that it is already so well-known globally. It also ties back to this idea that Britain conquered the most land during the Exploration times.

I believe that the largest connection that I pulled from this assignment and my GINS novel study, would be the troubles of satisfying each country. As Duong, explains in her novel, she emphasizes the hardships in the lives of an average Vietnamese citizen. Specifically, revolving around the troubles of a communism society. Putting this into perspective with Canada's democratic society, our group tried to discuss the differences and the happy mediums that could be achieved through a global charter, therefore resulting in the clauses on the right of expression. Afterwards, we also discussed the troubles with a global charter. Would we be able to satisfy everyone? How is it possible to get past the cultural gaps internationally? I believe that my novel helped open my eyes to the differences globally and also enlightened my knowledge on the types of hardships that may be experienced in different regions of the world.

Overall our group was able to seek and explore new topics and ideas that has developed ourselves to think on larger horizons. The one question that I have for you is, if you had to create you own World Charter, what would you include? :)

Happy Brainstorming!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

GINS: The Constitution of the Socialists Republic of Vietnam

Hello everybody!

It has been a while since I've created my last post but this one is revolved specifically around the Constitution of the Socialists Republic of Vietnam and the the way that it pertains to Vietnamese citizens.

The first ideas of a constitution in Vietnam (The Constitution of the Socialists Republic of Vietnam) developed in the year of 1946, introducing the initial concepts of every Vietnamese citizen having a right to be equal. Although the general conception of this idea sounds appealing, Duong specifically mentions the technicalities of a communist society and the restrictions that are forced upon individuals hoping to strive during her novel, Paradise of the Blind. More specifically on this proposal of everyone being equal, we are confronted with the extermination of social classes and the possessions of excess land and divine material goods. Each citizen is given the same amount of terrain in order to do basic work such as cultivating and maintaing a suitable lifestyle; Duong mentions this through her hard-hitting descriptors of the land reform on pgs. 23-34. Unlike Canada, whose citizens are able to strive and become successful without getting judged or denounced, the Vietnamese government holds a stern, steady reign on these decisions. If Vietnam were to take on our use of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there would be much confusion and exploitation within the system. From my understanding, I believe that there are few but existing citizens in Canada who are already starting to corrupt the charter for their own benefits. Some case studies are specifically directed towards the "legal rights" clause and others and directed in more general terms. One of the examples to share, would be the inabilities of banning junk food advertisements for children. Because of our fundamental freedoms clause, companies are able to support their cases by saying that they have the ability to express their own opinions freely.

When we have a Charter that is open to all Canadian citizens, we are giving each individual rights, but we are also giving them loopholes  that can be manipulated to their own interests. With rights come responsibilities, unfortunately not everyone can embrace this fact. Taking these things into consideration, I believe that having this type of system in Vietnam would only spur on these concerns and problems. In fact, these types of clauses are already present in their society. When we start introducing official documents and clauses, that's when some individuals are able to manipulate them and make them benefit for their own interests.