Genocide © Ed Zerne

Eleanor Roosevelt was supposed to have had a hand in writing the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the United Nations.  The United States of America is a signatory to this Declaration and yet there are many areas where we fall far short of the goals set forth in it.  Here is a link to it with illustrations by Ralph Steadman.  Mr. Steadman makes such a good point in his writing about the document and I quote him here:

“‘I have the right to hold an opinion, express it, celebrate it, broadcast it, live by it, and travel with it anywhere I so desire and what’s more convince others, by peaceful means, that they should hold that opinion too’.

That in essence is Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and entombed within it is the right of any artist of any faith, impulse or inclination to express him/herself with unbridled passion and conviction sufficient to bestow up the world a Pandora’s box of riches or curses we could probaby live without.

Now why was I not told that, or given the little booklet itself back in 1948 when I had just won a scholarship to Abergele Grammar School in North Wales? Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, in an introduction to this little gem states that the UN General Assembly at the time called upon all Member countries to publicise the text of the Declaration and ‘to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries of territories’.

Now where was I when these member countries did exactly that? Was I playing truant? Off sick? Drunk?! Not then, not any of that. I was an obedient child of eleven and perfectly capable of digesting the clarity of such proposals, even in the playground. ”

– Ralph Steadman

Child Soldier, dreams of a lost youth, © 2006 Ed Zerne 

Who among you has read this Declaration?

2 Responses to “Human Rights”


  1. 1 Michael Grove September 2, 2015 at 3:01 am

    OurWorld 2.0 – provides a VISION of TRANSITION for the future sustainable survival of ALL LIFE on y[our] pale blue dot – never forgetting of course that there are always ‘self-serving forces’ at bay which mitigate the establishment of that transition. No better perspective of these ‘self-serving forces’, has been created in his mind, than that proffered by Ralph Steadman in his Art Work; and most particularly his own very particular ‘take on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. As most of you are already aware Leonardo da Vinci provided an early influence, in regard to my study of Art at Grammar School, which has subsequently been very much enforced by Steadman’s own life long appreciation of Leonardo da Vinci, in his book I Leonardo.


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