Rights & Responsibilities

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

There are way too many people, in Britain, and I am sure elsewhere, who know all about their “rights”; their rights of this and their rights of that and they will tell you that they have the right to do this and that and that they have the right to do as they like in a publicly-owned park, for instance.

Those very same people, on the other hand, have no ideas that with those selfsame rights also come responsibilities and duties. As far as they are concerned they have to do nothing and obey no rules. They just have all those rights and that's it.

Well, that is plain wrong and needs to be stated as such as well. But, unless people actually do understand that with their rights as citizens, or as it is in the UK, as Subjects of the Britannic Majesty, there come also a real great number of duties and responsibilities, the Big Society idea of Prime Minister David Cameron will never ever really take off.

The idea is, in my opinion, a good one but needs to go further still and incorporate more, including an aspect of required to do, as it is in some parts of the European mainland where people have the responsibility to keep the sidewalks in front of their homes litter free and swept and also maintain the grassed areas thereabouts.

People need to take ownership, in a proper and positive way, of their lives, of their neighborhoods, and everything, and look after it all as if it were their own property and garden.

Only when people come to the realization that it boils down to what they do and that they cannot wait for someone else to do what they want to have done then we may be, and the stress is on “may be”, getting somewhere in the not too distant future.

It is not someone else's job to keep the streets clean. It is everyone's job. And this applies for more or less everything else as well.

There is a great list called the “Bill of No Rights” that puts pay to the believe that you have the right to this or that and that you have, for instance the right not to be offended. While you have the right that your are not being discriminated against on grounds of race, faith and belief, sex, sexual orientation, etc., it does not mean that you must not be exposed to another race or religion. If Christmas offends you, you don't have to celebrate it, but do not force a change of the name because you don't like it. If the call of the Muezzin offends you, you do not have to bow to Mecca, but do not tell them they cannot worship their god in their way. At the same time you also do not have the right to ram either religion down someone else's throat, as so many people are ever so fond of doing, especially people of some particular quarters.

While people, and that includes you, have rights of various kinds, all of us have responsibilities and duties too, and amongst those are to obey the laws – as long as they are just laws (I add this caveat) – of the country in which we live, regardless of whether we are native born, naturalized or just a resident or visitor.

This means that, if you are a visitor in a Muslim country where it is illegal to consume alcohol you do refrain from such substances. If you do not and fall therefore foul of the laws of the country then you should not come crawling to your country's representatives asking them to call foul on the laws by which you are judged. If in Rome... you know the rest.

On the other hand, if you are a Muslim in a Christian country (not that there really is such a thing as a Christian country) you cannot demand Sharia Law to be implemented just because you think that it should and because you want to live under that kind of religious law.

If you want to live under Sharia Law then you have the option to move to a country that has that law. No one is forcing you to live in, say, Britain, the USA, Canada or Australia, for example.

There is more to being a citizen of a country than just having rights, including the “Human Rights”. There are also many responsibilities and duties attached to this; a truth that way too many would like to forget.

The above are just a few examples that may get the message across; I hope so, at least.

© 2011