Why Did You Do That?is an autobiography of David Matas, an international human rights advocate. The book sets out his human rights activities and then attempts to explain why he did them.People are focused on their immediate environment, their family, their friends, their work or their neighbourhood. Why should they go to the bother of trying to address a seemingly intractWhy Did You Do That?is an autobiography of David Matas, an international human rights advocate. The book sets out his human rights activities and then attempts to explain why he did them.People are focused on their immediate environment, their family, their friends, their work or their neighbourhood. Why should they go to the bother of trying to address a seemingly intractable situation in order to try help those with whom superficially they have nothing in common, who may be living in a country far away to which they have never been, speaking in a language they do not understand and part of a culture which is both foreign and strange?The reason for the autobiography is an attempt to answer that question. By trying to explain why he did what he did, the author hopes to mobilize others, not to do what he did or is now doing, but rather just to do something, to shed feelings of indifference and impotence, to join the international human rights cause....
|Title||:||Why Did You Do That?: The Autobiography of a Human Rights Advocate|
|Number of Pages||:||302 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Why Did You Do That?: The Autobiography of a Human Rights Advocate Reviews
I ran into David Matas recently at the Rady Centre. I have known him for a long time, since the late seventies. I campaigned with him during one of his runs for federal office. He is a unique and admirable person. I asked him if he could recommend a book or a source on human rights education and he replied "Why don't you read my book on human rights?" So down I went to the River Heights library. His book is presented on its cover as an autobiography but I wouldn't say it reads or feels in any sense like an autobiography. It has a personal approach to the extent that each chapter generally starts with a line like "In 1989 I was engaged by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to investigate persecution of ethnic ...." David then goes on to provide a background on the particular case and draw out key principles and the specific issues of the human rights violations of the case. The number and range of international crises David has been involved in is astonishing all while maintaining a private practice in immigration, refugee and human rights law in Winnipeg, writing many books and lecturing at various law schools. The man must never sleep! The book contains a comprehensive description of sources and types of discrimination and persecution. It ably illustrates the principles of human rights in concrete cases. At times, for me it felt like heavy work to plow through the theory and the case studies. But I did emerge with a better appreciation of human rights investigation, the application of law to specific instances. It may be possible to be discouraged by the sheer number of situations covered and the ferocity of some of the persecutions described. But it is also good to know that at this point in human history there are so many people and organizations working to develop and elevate the principles of human rights. At this stage in my life I seem to need optimism derived from people who do inspiring things that contribute to making the world better. David quotes the rabbi-scholar Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be? But if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?" David Matas is not only for himself. No doubt he has saved lives and eased the suffering of many people through his work. A good man.
All the social justice work David Matas does is very impressive, but I found his book too focused on the legal aspects, with no personal stories.