Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.
Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skits, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for?The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them. How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
The difference between the past and the present is that individual freedom and security no longer fall to be protected solely through the D vehicle of common-law maxims and presumptions which may be altered or repealed by statute, but are now protected by entrenched constitutional provisions which neither the Legislature nor the Executive may abridge. It would accordingly be improper for us to hold constitutional a system which, as Sachs J has noted, confers on creditors the power to consign the person of an impecunious debtor to prison at will and without the interposition at the crucial time of a judicial officer.
My conclusions, on this point, are as follows: when the Law Commission says committal of judgment debtors is an anomaly that cannot be justified and should be abolished; when it is common cause that there is a general international move away from imprisonment for civil debt, of which the present committal proceedings are an adapted relic; when such imprisonment has been abolished in South Africa, save for its contested form as contempt of court in the magistrate's court; when the clauses concerned have already been interpreted by the Courts as restrictively as possible, without their constitutionally offensive core being eviscerated; when other tried and tested methods exist for recovery of debt from those in a position to pay; when the violation of the fundamental right to personal freedom is manifest, and the procedures used must inevitably possess a summary character if they are to be economically worthwhile to the creditor, then the very institution of civil imprisonment, however it may be described and however well directed its procedures might be, in itself must be regarded as highly questionable and not a compelling claimant for survival.
Human rights' are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in..A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice.
Whatever happened in those more than one hundred years, from the time my great-great-great grandfather studied law to the time when my own father took his bar exam in 1989, I may never know. Perhaps it was just greed and the good, old-fashion corruption that comes with power. The Drexlers have moved from the fight for human rights to the fight for corporations and wealthy individuals. We file their taxes, write their contracts, clean up their messes. As I see it, we have become little more than glorified Public Relations reps