Human Dignity: Documentary Analysis

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Human dignity refers to the right to be respected, valued and treated in an ethical manner. Human dignity can also be defined as a state of integrity, righteousness, and virtue in human beings (Kateb, 2011). Dignity is determined as a state of being respected or worthy of honor. All human beings have some intrinsic worthiness and deserve respect regardless of race, ethnicity, social status, sexual orientation, and gender. If an individual is not respected or valued, such actions are determined to be discriminatory and an affront to the well-being of the affected person. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established (United Nations). The charter came up with certain principles and norms that would ensure the freedom, rights, and dignity of the people were secured. For example, in Article one, the charter states that human beings are born free, and they have equal rights and dignity (United Nations). Consequently, the article states that human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should interact with one another in the spirit of brotherhood. Article Two states that human beings’ freedoms and rights that must be exercised irrespective of sex, gender, race, religion or political affiliation (United Nations). Human dignity deals with the idea of respecting people and what they do irrespective of their status or background.

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Human beings in every society have the freedoms and rights that can allow them to live in dignity. For example, humans should have the right to interact and communicate with people within the society. Moreover, human beings must have a right to life. The sanctity of life must be guaranteed in whatever place an individual resides. People should not be treated as slaves in the sense that the labor rules should be designed in a manner that human dignity is preserved. For example, good working conditions, better wages, and flexible working conditions should be critical in this endeavor. Harsh or cruel treatment of the people should be discarded. Certain societies have no regard for dissenting opinions (United Nations). Those who hold contrary opinions are often tortured and even condemned to the periphery. These rights are critical for the welfare of the human beings. Denying people these rights is an affront to human dignity. Governments must guarantee the protection of the people’s rights and freedoms. Additionally, the basic human rights must be provided for and established in laws to ensure that any violation is dealt with as appropriate.

Issues in the Documentary

The documentary provides a broad basis of which several issues can be addressed. Most of the countries featured in the documentary have come up with measures and approaches aimed at dealing with the economic as well as the social challenges manifest in those jurisdictions. Some of the ills in the United States manifest in other countries such as Germany, Italy, France, and Portugal among other jurisdictions. However, these countries have come up with methods aimed at dealing with the emerging challenges.

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In Italy, the treatment of workers is far much better than what happens in the US. For example, the workers are remunerated well to the extent that they are paid thirteenth salary, honeymoon allowance, and also have a paid holiday. Moreover, the workers have a two-hour break during lunch and are also guaranteed parental leave (Moore, 2015). The workers in Italy are properly treated well and with dignity. The treatment of workers in Italy is different from what is manifest in the US. For instance, even the minimum wage bill is still a problem in the US. There are certain allowances that workers in the US do not get because such benefits are not covered by the employers. Ideally, the documentary is explicit in better treatment of the workers in Italy as opposed to the US.

In Finland, the education is more proactive and designed to meet the needs and expectations of the learners. For example, a collective majority of the schools does not use standardized testing, and there are no homework given to the students. The Finish schools emphasize the learning of poetry and music. Better education policies are the reason why the schools focus on the areas that have critical relevance to the learners. In the documentary, Moore decries the elimination of music and poetry in the American education system (Moore, 2015). Essentially, the education system has condemned the arts, and that is a retrogressive policy. Art plays a vital role in the society, and its elimination in the K-12 education system is something that needs to be re-examined.

Finally, the documentary focuses on Iceland with a focus on the women in power. Iceland has the first world female president elected through a democratic process. The documentary also focuses on the financial crisis in Iceland in 2008, and the prosecution of the bankers found culpable of financial malpractices. The documentary paints a picture of a society where women empowerment is an essential component. Unlike other societies where women are undermined to the extent that they are denied leadership opportunities, in the case of Iceland the case is different. The prosecution of the bankers points to zero tolerance for corruption and curtailing impunity (Moore, 2015).

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  1. Kateb, G. (2011). Human dignity. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  2. Moore, M. (2015). Where to Invade Next. Film.
  3. United Nations. (n.d). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.
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