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NONKILLING Related Concepts: DIGNITY

by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist and human rights educator from Recife, Brazil

Written for the book (in progress): Nonkilling for Teens
People hear or read about HUMAN RIGHTS more and more, especially in the media, but do they also hear-read about DIGNITY? This is a very important, foundational concept:it underlies HUMAN RIGHTS. DIGNITY is related to NONKILLING, too, because it has to do with Living respectfully, dignifyingly, peacefully, nonviolently, NONKILLINGLY.
DIGNITY is so crucial in human life and so relevant for interdisciplinary work that there is an international website devoted to it: www.humiliationstudies.org Do acess that site and learn about what DIGNIFIERS do, what they research, etc
The activity below is aimed at contributing to an awareness of one of the most important RESPONSIBILITIES of all human beings: regarding and treating others with DIGNITY. Note that a key verb will be used in the activity: To respect.
To get you started, react to each statement by checking YES / NO and by jusifying your decision. Then exchange your reaction with friends or classmates and try to reach consensus, if possible. Some statements are meant to be more thought-provoking.
THE KEY TO DIGNITY: RESPECTING PEOPLE, ANIMALS, ORGANIZATIONS…

  1. All human beings should treat one another with DIGNITY
  2. All beings in Nature should be respected
  3. DIGNITY calls for a permanent commitment to respecting oneself and  respecting others
  4. As a teenager, I am expected to respect my family, my parents, my friends, my classmates, authorities in the community I live
  5. Adults are often treated disrespectfully by teenagers
  6. Among Teenagers` Responsibilities, being respectful of others should be prioritized
  7. When we treat someone with contempt, we violate that person´s  right to Dignity
  8. Our school education could be centered on DIGNITY, by linking it to ways of respecting and of being respected economically, educationally, socially, culturally, politically,  spiritually
  9. Respect for LIFE , human and animal, should be a universally shared principle
  10. One day, there will be less killing, less murders in the world partly as a result of EDUCATION for NONKILLING AND DIGNITY being offered in all school curricula, across languages and cultures.

The above activity might also be experienced selectively, that is, you and your friends/classmates would choose half of the statements rather than the whole set.
Another activity: finding and sharing inspiring quotations on DIGNITY from published or online sources. Relating them to NONKILLING.

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