Saturday, September 30, 2006

UN 'must drop' Darfur peace force

I'm an F&M alumnus who used to be part of this class last year.
The link above refers to an article about UN top officials claiming that a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan is not the best solution to the genocide taking place there. "Outgoing deputy secretary general Mark Malloch Brown has meanwhile said the US and UK's use of "megaphone diplomacy" is almost "counterproductive" in Sudan."
There is a bigger push for funds directed towards the African Union Force--a peacekeeping body in Africa. Considering that the UN is promoting this solution over their own peacekeeping force, maybe we ought to raise awareness (and money) towards the AU Force, instead to writing letters to US senators. Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Who Directs Our Moral Compass?

Does understanding good and evil mean we must first understand what is right and wrong? Or do they all come hand in hand? If we try to understand right and wrong, who has the authority to impose their moral beliefs and claim that certain things are right, while others are wrong? Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa believes we have moral compasses that guide us away from what is wrong. He states the people of South Africa have lost their sense of right and wrong because they lost their morals compasses. How does one lose that sense and how does one get it back? Tutu is trying to shed light on the growing problems within South Africa (an increasing crime rate, the killing of innocent people, raping children, etc.). Can one man bring others to realize their “wrong” behavior? Unlike many others who sit and watch while evil overcomes, Tutu, a Nobel Prize winner, is taking an initiative to illustrate how one might become evil and must change to do what is right. Will it help?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Israel Sets Goal of Pulling Troops Out of Lebanon by Sunday

I was talking to a friend about our class and he asked me if all we focused on was evil. This moved me to show that sometimes there is good arises in times of evil.
This article talks about how Israel has plans to pull back there soldiers to help bring peace back to the area. This gesture will hopefully act as a catalyst to cool down heated groups who are looking to violence as the answer to their problems.
I think that by being as the first to advocate peace by action rather then by making promises and proposing peace, that others will soon fall in suit and the high tensions will be addressed diplomatically.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Root of Evil?

Last Monday, to kick off the University at Buffalo's Day of Education, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, gave a short speech at the conclusion of an interfaith service. After listening to various priors from several faiths, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and a Native American welcoming chant, the His Holiness finally took the podium to give a small welcoming speech. In this speech, He politely thanked all for coming, and than proceeded to talk about a recurring theme in his two lectures, the importance of having a warm heart, and being compassionate towards all. His Holiness stated the point of all religion was this, to help to foster a warm heart. His country's struggle against Red China is an excellent example of how faith can help to prevent death. Starting in 1950, the PLA attacked Tibet, and began slaughtering and torturing innocent Tibetan citizens and monks. The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, instead of encouraging violent rebellion, recommended that his people pray for their enemies. Instead of declaring a holy war against the PLA and China, His Holiness tries to educate people worldwide of his culture. If religion really is the source of evil and violence as people on this blog have claimed, and Dawkins claimed in his "Root of Evil" clip, than how can you explain the passive resistance of the Tibetan Buddhists?

Anti-Semite at the age of 3??

After our interaction with Mr. Schulz last week, I really wanted to examine how early can hatred really start in people? Well, apparently, very. In this interview a 3 year old Saudi girl, talks about why she hates the Jews who she refers to as "pigs and apes." At the age of three, I don't think I even knew the difference between Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and so on. I knew that there was someone we prayed to who I called "God." I knew that God was supposed to protect us from evil, but beyond that I was completely unaware of much else.

Relating this to the Holocaust, can we truly say that that was a tragedy of the past and that it will never happen again? Can we really claim that Hitler was the only person who was charismatic enough to indoctrinate the young Germans to hate? Can we propose that today people are much more rational about what they teach their children? If we do believe that the events such as the Holocaust can never take place again, then what is to be said of a 3 year old Muslim girl who has been taught to hate the Jews?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Answering Questions asked in Class 9/25

I wanted to post about the discussion questions in class today. I believe in Browning's theory that ordinary men can kill under social pressure. I think the environment and our surroundings can influence a person's actions as well as social pressures, thus forcing people to commit evil actions or giving them a choice to do so. In our readings we read about how the internet influences people to take actions, by becoming a member in a sort of community online. People need to feel as if they belong somewhere, and exist for some purpose, and such hate groups attract the people that need that feeling in their life. Cults can do the same thing, they're breeding grounds for hate and violence. Ordinary people can be influenced to kill under social pressure ... and we all admitted that today, when some people said they would kill the innocent civilians to save their own life ... we were all asked if we would shoot the 100 or 50 people for injuring just one German life ... and people came up with scenarios, like if they had families to think of, but no matter what other circumstance, I believe to kill the 100 or 50 people just because one German was killed or was wounded is going along with the actions of 'evil' ... I would rather die than 'go along with' the command or keep living knowing what I had done was wrong. It's not even about being a martyr, it's about not following the evil actions of others, and standing up for what one believes in, since I know we all think killing and murdering innocent civilians is wrong. I think it's easier for youth to be brainwashed, since children look up to adults and mimic their actions. Children need to be taught the ways of the world, and once they get old enough can decide for themselves, but take the Hitler Youth for example, Mr. Schulz was 10 years old when he joined, innocent and naive. He said that his older brothers did not believe in what Hitler preached, because they were older, but he did because he was young. Children still have so much room to acquire knowledge, whereas adults take more time to learn new things or break/change old habits, in general. I think it's a sad fact of life thus far in the world that people turn their heads and pretend the bad things of the world don't affect them. Just because a situation may not directly affect a person, a state or a country doesn't mean it's not their duty to intervene. Instead of thinking about us vs. them, it should be all of humanity, as one, working to protect and help one another. As far as getting rid of the Holocaust Memorial Day and desinating a Genocide Memorial Day, I think any genocide should be remembered, separately. Each deserves a day of rememberance, and because the Holocaust was such a horrible event, the day should not be taken away. I can only hope that the people who need to find a place of belonging do so in a way that actually helps them, and can only hope that people start to see that we are all connected, because we are all people.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The American Muslim Dilemma

“Richard A. Falkenrath, New York City’s deputy police commissioner for the counterterrorism, recently warned Congress, ‘The possibility of a ‘homegrown’ terrorist attack against New York City or any other American city is real and is worsening with time’.” In Richard Falkenrath’s testimony list 18 events from the “recent past” (found as a pfd file in the article) that point out that terrorism is not an “abstraction” to New York City.
Eben Kaplan, the author of the article, states that “Richard Falkenrath is just one of the many experts in the recent months to warn about the danger of ‘homegrown’ terrorism and that the next attackers will likely be ‘a lot closer to the Columbine killers, then traditional jihadis. Eben Kaplan goes further to talk about the American Muslim community and their “great assets for foiling homegrown Islamist terrorist.” Yet also states that CFR Senior Fellow Steven Simon warns that an “increase of alienation among American Muslims could produce a rejectionist generation.”
To sum up Eben Kaplan’s article, he reports about the growing fear of terrorism in the US and that the American Muslim community is working to stop terrorism but also is being isolated and targeted as threats.
This article coincides with a previous blog titled “U.S. Practice of Renditions” for it talks about how American Muslims are being look at and how the US is responding to terrorism. The article reminds me of the Japanese internment camps during WWII for now American Muslims suspected of terrorism are not sent to camps but placed in jail till the war on terror ends. The questions I have is, “how can we, as Americans, remove the fear we have for American Muslims?” and “How can we get Congress to see past these terrorist reports and believe in the prevention of social segregation instead of trying to enhance our fears and funnel our energy and thoughts to fighting terrorism?”