In Between: a look at the forgotten humans

This gallery explores the idea of statelessness. The following are pieces of art that illustrate the common concept of not belonging to any one nation in the world or being so deprived that you might as well not belong to a nation. While the images come from different time periods, showcase many different styles, and involve unique scenarios, they all highlight the perpetuance of statelessness, as well as look at the many ways in which basic human rights are deprived. 

Aredndt said, "our political life rests on the assumption that we can produce equality through organization, because man can act in and change and build a common world, together with his equals and only with his equals. In this image of a Nazi rally, perhaps that was the goal. The goal may have been equality, but equality did not include everyone. Perhaps it was the ability to see Jews and others that Nazis considered undesirable as less than equal that made it so easy to get rid of them. It is less difficult to deprive someone of their rights when they are not seen as an equal. You cannot feel as empathetic for someone that you consider to be below you.
This image, displaying the horrors of the holocaust, brings back one of the more recent, significant incidents involving statelessness. This tragic event was ignored by most of the world because the people it affected were not a major priority to protect. As Arendt said, "the rights of man, after all, had been defined as "inalienable" because they were supposed to be independent of all governments; but it turned out that the moment human beings lacked their own government and had to fall back upon their minimum rights, no authority was left to protect them and no institution was willing to guarantee them." Based on history, government and rights do go hand in hand and a government should never be given the opportunity to deprive people of their rights.
From the modern perspective, it is hard to comprehend that people could support the argument that a person could be considered a material object and not a person at all. One way to deprive a person of a nationality and an identity is to find a way of seeing them as less than human. This was the case of slavery in America. People who had done nothing wrong and could have lived free, independent lives were kept as human property. Turning again to Arendt's comments, "it seems to be easier to deprive a completely innocent person of legality than someone who has committed an offense." How was it that regular people were deprived of their rights for so long despite being innocent in all ways. When viewing basic human rights, there is no justification for slavery. It was as Arendt said, "an institution in which some men were born free and others slave, when it was forgotten that it was man who deprived his fellow men of freedom." Never should society forget what a person is so that one cannot be considered property.
The four words, I am a man are perhaps the most powerful part of this photograph. Sometimes society needs to be reminded of that fact. While the last image focused on slavery, the aftermath of that practice would demonstrate that as a society, we had not learned what the real issue was. Once again, the belief that one person can be below another came into play with the issue of segregation. The concept of separate but equal was a myth, meaning that being separate certainly did not make people equal. Despite not physically being possessed by other humans, African Americans were not represented in the same way as other Americans, being put in a position where they could not receive the same opportunities as everyone else.
Although not directly seen as stateless, considering that immigrants were often unable to return to where they had left from, as well as not accepted in the place they were going to, they took on some of the qualities of a stateless person. Especially when thinking about some of the current attitudes on immigration, it is important to remember that most immigrants are just regular people looking to improve their lives, feeling they have something to offer to society. I applaud many immigrants who despite being treated unequally and not given all the rights given to others in society, many still thrive and succeed. Perhaps they followed the teachings of Epictetus, which state, "if you decide to do something, don't shrink from being seen doing it, even if the majority of people disapprove." Although immigration was widely hated by many in society, immigrants were able to live their lives and make the most of them. Moving forward, society needs to reflect more on the positive achievements made by immigrants instead of turning to fear them.
One of the great ongoing, global crises revolves around the lack of basic necessities for people, especially children. Lack of clean water, shelter, and even food in the underdeveloped world highlight a tremendous failure for the collective global community to be unable to feed everyone. Despite a growing population, there is more that enough food to go around for everyone on the earth, yet a large proportion of people are starving. The starving people of the earth are stateless, not because they don't reside in a country or are specifically deprived of rights, but because no one cares enough to ensure that they receive the basic essentials to survive. Why doesn't the world recognize how deprived these people are and not do more about it?
The contrast between the elaborate, colorful art scene on the ground next to the destroyed community and clearly troubled people makes a very large statement. Perhaps it stands as proof that people are able to survive. Despite their evidently difficult lives, the people in this image are still able to go on living. This image makes me wonder exactly what they are thinking seeing something like this when on a regular basis they likely get little joy out of the world around them. I consider these people to be included in the scope of statelessness, as they cannot be afforded the basic comforts and protections that should be present in one's own home. No government is looking out for their interest and internationally they are just viewed as having tragic lives. No one cares, so they have been deprived of human rights. Turning again to Arendt, it is stated, "the right to have rights, or the right of every individual to belong to humanity, should be guaranteed by humanity itself. It is by no means certain whether this is possible." It may not be possible, because based on the living conditions of these unfortunate people, they are not guaranteed humanity.
This image appears to be a United Nations Peacekeeper coming to the aid of a Rwandan child either during or immediately after the Rwandan Genocide. Despite that it had occurred on multiple occasions throughout history, it was not until after World War II that the term genocide was first coined. Like the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide was recent, and totally unnecessary. When people are discriminated based on physical differences, it can become a dangerous thing. The Rwandan Tutsis were systematically killed off by extremists while the rest of the world did virtually nothing to intervene. Only a small, defense oriented peace keeping force was used to protect those targeted. Arendt stated, "the more the number of rightless people increased, the greater became the temptation to pay less attention to the deeds of the persecuting governments than to the status of the persecuted." Despite the fact that over a million people were effected by the event, the world tried to ignore it and make excuses not to get involved.
Credits: All media
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