I N T R O D U C T I O N
Society changed over time. We either help people or we don’t. Obligations. What should we do? How do people interact with others? People have their own ways of showing their obligations towards others, but people shouldn’t be treated with disrespect. Every human being in the world is the same. We went through obstacles to get where we are today.
E S S A Y
“What kills us isn’t one big thing, but thousands of tiny obligations we can’t turn down for fear of disappointing others,” Alain de Botton, a swiss-born British philosopher and author stated. In today’s society, what even is obligations? Do we even have any? No one doesn’t have any obligations, they don’t know how to leave someone alone. As reported by OpenBoarders, “part of the case for open borders is that at very minimum, our obligations to strangers is to leave them alone. Immigrations restrictions, by denying strangers the freedom to move to another country, violates this basic obligation.” This indicates that “strangers” don’t have the respect, or should I say obligations towards others. Everybody is human, no one is different. We all went through petrified phases of our lives and manage to deal with all the negativity, but yet manage to not let those things affect us.
Enrique’s Journey, a story about a boy, Enrique, who travels to the U.S., taking El Tren de la Muerte to reunite with his mother, but there are situations that occur throughout his journey with “truckers,” known as guards. As illustrated in Enrique’s Journey, “one after another, they turn him down. Many, having made the lonely haul from Mexico City, would welcome company for the remaining 380 miles to the border. Still, at least nine in ten truckers here, one trucker at the stop says, refuse migrants. If they said yes, police might accuse them of smuggling. Drivers say it is enough to worry about officers planting drugs on their trucks and demanding bribes. Moreover, some of the truckers fear that migrants might assault them.”(133) This indicates that a lot of guards play a role in the story, in which they are not the definition of obligation because they treat immigrants with disrespect, like garbage, and use them in any way that they can help themselves. For example, they rob immigrants (strangers), they rape them, and they abusive them. As stated in the book, a guard said, “if you can’t pay with cash,” one said, “you know how women pay.”(145) This proves that this is an ongoing situation that is not being brought to their attention that this isn’t how “strangers” should be treated. Another quote states, “her mother was terrified that Gabi would make the trip alone and be raped. She asked Gabi’s aunt Lourdes, twenty-six, to go with her. A smuggler promised to deliver them for $2,000 up front, but he robbed and abandoned them in Tapachula, just inside the southern border of Mexico. They were deported to Guatemala.”(145) This indicates that guards will do anything for themselves and that they have no obligations towards “strangers.” They have no respect for anything nor anyone, but if the roles were switched as them being strangers and strangers being guards then they would know how it feels to be put in an uncomfortable and dangerous situation.
“When I die, the scientist of the future would all know, there was a hushpuppy who lived with her daddy in the bathtub.” Beast of the Southern Wild, a film about a six-year-old Hushpuppy, who lives with her father, Wink, in a remote Delta community, known as “The Bathtub.” Wink is an independent man who is preparing his daughter for “the end of the world.” The Bathtub, in Louisiana, is located in an unsafe environment. Homes, food sources, transportation are all on the ground, which water almost sometimes rises to touch each thing. Every dark storm is a warning for them to know that they are probably not going to survive. Shelter services saw that there were people located at the Bathtub and came back for them to put them in shelters. Wink, the father of Hushpuppy, refuses to leave to be put in a safer environment for him and his daughter, so then they were dragged from there rotten, dirty, and destroyed homes and were sent to the shelter. Doctors ran tests on the people who lived in the Bathtub, without their consent and drugged them, giving them medicine that they are not telling what it is for, and basically doing surgery when they don’t want anything to be done, even though they are going to die.
Obligation; “the social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force.” In today’s society, we have our ways of obligations. Do we have respect? Yes. Do we treat people the way we want to be treated? Yes. Do we live from the past? Who knows. Laws, policies, rules, changes over time. We have new things every day, every second, every hour. Obligations from the past are different from today because we don’t live with a harsh, threatening, and abusive past. We’ve outgrown from situations. For example, the LGBTQ community. People would disrespect them in any way, either if the same sex is holding hands, kissing, or just minding their own business. They still manage to face those obstacles. I remember when I was a little younger, I saw two girls kissing each other and two guys kissing each other, who had more disrespect? The guys. But people don’t realize that everyone is the same, we have feelings just like everyone else. We faced obstacles to get where we are today, even if they are obligations or not. People will still manage to bring you down.
In conclusion, obligations aren’t just something that everyone has. We all have our version of obligations, even if it’s in a good or bad situation. My version of obligations would be “treat people the way you want to be treated because we are all human.” People don’t realize how difficult things that people go through. People get treated with disrespect for the things they do, where they live, what they wear, or what they look like. Why cant everyone be treated the same? In 2020 and in the future, we need to learn the respectful way to use obligations. How can you change your obligations?
C I T A T I O N S
“Obligations to Strangers.” Open Borders: The Case, 10 Mar. 2012, https://openborders.info/obligations-to-strangers/.
“Obligation.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/obligation.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild.”