Before answering the question “What is – as a schoolboy – my role in protecting one’s rights?”, I had to ask myself: about what kind of role should I write? About that I can, should or actually have? We all know that, in theory, every idea can sound better than it is practice. So, should I limit to “smart-talking” about what I can / must do OR write about what I actually DO? The thing is that protecting one’s rights isn’t always an explicit action. Also, it depends on context: you have no rights to defend if none are threatened. Lastly, the one whose rights you are protecting must also want to have his rights defended. All summed up, I considered best writing about what I could and will do, in a suitable context.
The first right I would defend is that to knowledge. But how, if it involves a voluntary action, since anyone wanting to possess more knowledge can do this any time, as he has unlimited access to it? Well, the huge amount of information available is as useful as it is problematic: because there’s so much information, not everyone would read all of it available on a certain subject. In this situation, I could spread knowledge in a synthesized way, like a “walking encyclopedia” would do. By this, if not protect, I could ensure a better exercise of this right – of course, only when asked; as said above, one must want his rights ensured.
Second, I can protect the freedom of speech and thought. But how? Nowadays, everyone can think anything about everything and say whatever they please. True, but why does a person say his thoughts? Because he wants to spread them! In this case, I should listen to anyone who shares his ideas, even if I don’t agree with them. Maybe his argumentation will change my mind. This may prove to be the best way to protect the liberty of expressing ideas: by listening to them.
Third but not last, a right imperative to be defended is that against discrimination of any kind. Fortunately, in the modern civilizations, discrimination upon gender is less and less frequent, as females are starting to be treated equally with men (I do not refer here to sexual orientation – which I shall not treat since it is a too complex subject). Still, discrimination by prejudices based on ethnical reasons exists. What could I do, in this case? Of course, combat such conceptions with rational arguments: hating an entire people for any reasons cannot be but just wrong.
Lastly, I encourage a tolerance through a balanced attitude. What does that mean? Accepting that some are different: even there are things that we don’t agree, those represent realities which, even if we consider undesirable, are an objective aspect of our world that we can’t change rejection, but through other, superior ways (like education). You can always criticise things you don’t agree with, as long as you respect one’s dignity and see not only what departs but unites you with him: we’re all human and live on the same planet.
To conclude, the role I – as a schoolboy – can have in defending human rights is to facilitate their exertion (by spreading knowledge, listening to one’s ideas) or argue their necessity (differences that do not treat other’s normality must be accepted by attitude, in order to be able to live peacefully together; because compromise doesn’t mean weakness: it means life).