What exactly is dignity? How do you define it for yourself? Here’s what the official Oxford dictionary says:
The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
A composed or serious manner or style.
A sense of pride in oneself; self-respect.
Here we are, in the Middle East, surrounded by wars and occupation and every atrocity that comes with both. Diasporas, ever expanding refugee camps, people drowning in the Mediterranean and these questions which continuously come to the surface:
Who owns your dignity?
If you had a job, a home, a social status from which you derived your dignity and this was taken away as a result of war, and you become a refugee, do you still own your dignity? Or if you are in a small strip of land under siege for years and your life is reduced to basic needs and survival, can you still live with dignity? If your life reduced to begging, stealing or breaking the law to feed yourself or your family, have you lost your dignity?
Is dignity the way others judge your decisions though they cannot conceive what it was like to be in your shoes when you made that decision? Is your dignity influenced by the whims of social rules and standards?
Is dignity related to your priorities at that precise point in time in which you make a decision that may later on put your dignity under “question”?
If a woman is raped, does she lose her dignity?
Is dignity a luxury afforded only by those with enough money to support their living? Thus making dignity a very capitalist concept?
If the government provides you with free education, healthcare and social security, are you leading a dignified life? What if the government can no longer provide these services, do you lose your sense of dignity? And so begging the question is socialism really the answer?
Is dignity about how you see, feel and treat yourself or how other see, feel and treat you? Is teaching mutual dignity and respect beyond social status enough? Or is dignity an attitude you can learn to carry no matter what circumstances you find yourself in? Can dignity be taught? Is it easier to teach dignity than to create circumstances where this question would not arise?
Dignity another loaded word. The only conclusion I can think of right now is that we are too quick to judge and blame, and to say things like :
“Oh my God! I would never do that.”
Do you have any thoughts on dignity? Any answers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Hunna Blog, a peek into the pages of our notebooks and our minds. Not a literacy area rather a jungle of thoughts.