Although we cannot guess what will be in the time that is to come, we do, at least, have the right to imagine what we wish that time to be like.
In 1948 and 1976 the United Nations proclaimed long lists of human rights, but the immense majority of humanity enjoys only the rights to see, hear and remain silent.
What if we begin by exercising the never-proclaimed right to dream?
How about if we hallucinate for a while?
Let us stare beyond infamy, to imagine another possible world:
the air shall be cleansed of all poisons except those
born of human fears and human passions;
in the streets, cars shall be run over by dogs;
people shall not be driven by cars, nor programmed by computers, nor bought by supermarkets, nor watched by televisons;
the tv set shall no longer be the most important member of the family and shall be treated like an iron or a washing machine;
people shall work for a living instead of living for work;
written into law shall be the crime of stupidity, committed by those who live to have or to win, instead of living just to live like the bird that sings without knowing it and the child who plays unaware he or she is playing;
in no country shall young men who refuse to go to war go to jail, rather only those who wish to make war;
economists shall not call "standard of living" what is really standard of consumption, nor will they call "quality of life" what is really quantity of things;
cooks shall not believe that lobsters love to be boiled alive;
historians shall not believe that countries love to be invaded;
politicians shall not believe that the poor love to eat promises;
earnestness shall no longer be a virtue, and no one shall be taken seriously if he can't make fun of himself;
death and money shall lose their magical powers, and neither demise nor fortune shall make a virtuous gentleman of a scoundrel;
no one shall be considered a hero or a fool for doing what she believes is right instead of what will serve her best;
the world shall not wage war on the poor, but rather on poverty, and the arms industry shall have no alternative but to declare bankruptcy;
food shall not be a commodity, nor shall communications be a business, because food and communication are human rights;
no one shall die of hunger because no one shall die of overeating;
street children shall not be treated like garbage because there shall be no street children;
rich kids shall not be treated like gold because there shall be no rich kids;
education shall not be the privilege of those who can pay;
the police shall not be the curse of those who cannot pay;
justice and liberty, those siamese twins condemned to live apart, shall meet again and be reunited, back to back;
a woman, a black woman, shall be president of Brazil, and another black woman shall be president of the United States;
an Indian woman shall govern Guatemala and another Peru;
in Argentina, the crazy women of the Plaza de Mayo shall be held up as examples of mental health, because they refused to forget in a time of obligatory amnesia;
the Church, holy mother, shall correct the typos on the tablets of Moses and the sixth commandment shall mandate the celebration of the body;
the Church shall also proclaim another commandment, the one God forgot: "You shall love nature, of which you are part";
the deserts of the world and of the soul shall be reforested;
the desperate shall be welcomed and the lost shall be found, for they are the ones who despaired of so much waiting and lost their way from so much searching;
we shall be compatriots and contemporaries of all who have a yearning for justice and beauty, no matter where they were born or when they lived, because the borders of geography and time shall cease to exist;
perfection shall remain the boring privilege of the
- from Remembering, by Eduardo Galeano
This excerpt was written by Eduardo Galeano shortly before the turn of the millenium. It suits a day when the one thing to be desired is the power to imagine the world differently. The translation is rather poorly cobbled together from several different ones and includes some liberties of my own, since I couldn't find my original copy of the poem. It has also gone through several edits since I posted it. For those who would like to read it in Spanish, it is here in its entirety.