African human rights vs.Western human rights


By Thomas C. Mountain

If you ask those of us living in Africa, almost all of us will
tell you that the “human rights” that matter most are those that are basic to the right to life: food, water, shelter, medical care and education for our children.

If you and your family are cold, hungry, sick and illiterate do you
think “freedom of the press” has any connection to your daily reality?

If your children are dying of water-borne dysentery or malaria
exacerbated by malnutrition, do “free and fair elections” matter at all to you?

In the West, “human rights” exist in an upside down reality where your problem with food is not about having enough but having too much.

When it comes to drinking water your choice is not whether you can find any but whether you will choose generic or designer brand bottled water.

You in the West live in a dwelling with central heat and a/c, running hot and cold water, dishwashers, garbage disposals, giant
refrigerators, washer/dryers (you have never washed you clothes by hand in your life) and all sorts of “modern conveniences” that we in the third world have never even dreamed of.

The very poorest people, those on welfare/income support would refuse to live somewhere without running hot water, something 95% of the people in Africa can only dream of.

When it comes to medical care, your medical plan, if you work for
Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, may include such
necessities as breast reduction surgery or even liposuction. You don’t have to worry about being able to find a doctor let alone being able to afford medical treatment.

So doesn’t it make sense that those sitting in the offices of what I
call the “human rights mob” in London, Paris and New York don’t even consider having food, water, shelter, basic medical care and education for your children to be “human rights”?

No, “freedom of the press” (which of course apples only to those that own the presses), “free and fair elections” among multiple other “freedoms” are what really matter. The human rights mob don’t bother to even list the basics making up the right to life, our very survival, in their catalog of “human rights”.

When a society doesn’t provide the basics to the right to life then it
is violating its peoples’ human rights in a fundamental, undeniable

Not only are these countries that fail in this massively
violating their peoples’ human rights, they are really just failed
states, unable to provide even the minimum basics to their people.

But hey, if they have “free and fair elections” then they are
“democracies,” never mind trucks driving around picking up dead bodies in the streets. Even Seattle, USA, home to some of the richest
corporations in the world, has to pick up a dead body of a homeless
person almost everyday.

In the Western countries you find widespread homelessness, hunger, medical neglect and even poisonous drinking water, for example in Flint, Michigan, the USA. Yet these massive violations of human rights are almost ignored because what matters is “freedom of the press”, “freedom of speech” and “democracy” as in “free and fair elections.” never mind the hundreds of millions spent in winning such.

In Africa where I live, like in Cuba in the western hemisphere, we
value real human rights, what I call African human rights: food,
water, shelter, medical care and education for our children. Once we have these human rights completely and irrevocably secured then we will start to worry about “Western human rights”.

Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist living and reporting
from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at or see thomascmountain on twitter or