MADRE joins the many who mourn the tragic events in Tucson, Arizona just days ago, when a gunman opened fire on a crowd that had gathered to participate in a discussion with Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Six people lost their lives, and 14 were injured. These events have left many reeling in the attempt to understand how this could have happened.
Last night, President Obama addressed a memorial service in Arizona, his comments broadcast through the nation. He called for civility in the national political discourse. While many have warned that an increasingly venomous and hateful political climate contributed to this attack, he distanced himself from the charge that thinly-veiled calls to violence made by far-right groups and echoed by their mainstream counterparts contributed to this attack.
Yet, the call for civility sets a low bar. Rep. Giffords and her constituents were brutally attacked as they exercised human rights codified in the US and internationally, such as the right of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression. Their intent was to engage in an act of participatory democracy, and they were violently cut down.
In the face of seemingly senseless violence, we must do more than just be civil to one another. We must come together to condemn any act that violates basic human rights and commit yet again to uphold them.