Do you know your rights?

           author: Angela Maddalena


My advice as an author is to put on your compilation from “The Clash” (you can not be without, can you?) while reading.

1.From rock to social life

There is a song, by The Clash, starting with this line: “this is a public service announcement, with guitars: know your rights”.

Being a sixteen years old girl, this punk song was my first meeting with the topic.

Isn’t it strange? I’m pretty sure I should have had classes about social right before this song, but I remember none.

So, basically, I never thought about such a thing as “rights” before Joe Strummer’ intervention in my life.

2.Living (leaving) Europe

And me, I’m one of the lucky ones: living in Europe, I had the luxury to be ignorant. Because nobody was trying in any way to strip me from my position as a free and rightful human being… But is it so? When we think about human rights and about violations to the same rights, we commonly have this mind picture of Islamic countries or very poor and disadvantaged 3rd world places. But is it so? In Bulgaria, during my EVS, I come to know that is very normal nowadays, inside the Roma people communities (from where does it come, this word “Roma”, anyway? It’s the name of my city and I find it confusing…Why is it perceived like a bad thing to call those communities “Gipsy”?), to “steal” girls from the street, forcing them to unwanted husband, or even to sell them in bride markets.

3.What is happening, that you don’t know?

Bulgaria is Europe. You may answer to me that this happens inside very close and separated communities, and it’s true, but still it happens in our Country, in Europe, and nobody does nothing to stop it. Why? Bulgarians I spoke to, they told me it’s both about politics and law: there is not a law against those practices, because no political party wants to make one. Way? Because, as I come to understand, political parties count on the votes coming from the Roma community. In my Country, Italy, this is what the Mafia system does and it is nothing surprising to me. The surprising thing, on the other hand, is the lack of information that we have about this.


4.Did they ever told you that...

Did you know about teenage brides for selling? Right now I’m speaking to a well educated college of mine and she never have heard about this.

Did you know about a proposal for a new law in the field of domestic violence usually referred to with the name of “Istanbul Convention”? because I didn’t. Did you know how many young girls know nothing about their rights as human beings in this evoluted European society we seem to be so proud of? It’s astonishing how many of US don’t.

I’m a woman, well raised and educated, and I always thought that I know and respect myself, my rights, my possibilities in life, courage and skills, still I knew nothing. And I did nothing to know more and to help who is in need to find out what those rights are and fight to have them recognized in the society they are living into.


5.(no) Future?

But, for the daughter that I may have, for all the new generations of girls in this Country, I feel now the need to say this: there is a big, fat gap in the educational system that you have to fill alone. You need to know. To never ever give up in searching for more information, more questions, more answers. You may not like them and, if it happens, you must fight for a change. Not only as women: we need to do this as humans. All together. Before ignorance, filled with the fake perception we have of this big sunny and lawful Country we live into, streaps us of the ability to see what is right to fight for.


6.In Rock I trust

If not for Joe Strummer (and the consequent long long speech with my mother) maybe I would have been blind to the matter of human rights too. But we can not take all the information we need from rock music. I’m a fan of punk rock music, of course, but also I used to be a “fan” of our educational system until I eventually found out that once again music was right and schools seem to be just empty boxes where to park children during working hours. Because almost nothing that I’ve learn there was a useful preparation for a life as an individual and a proud human. For that, I need to thank guitars.



The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Maddalena (Italy)

and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“.
It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.

National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development