Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another Nazi Scheme

Apparently starting World War II and the Holocaust wasn't enough for the Nazis...

This article describes a lesser known project of the Nazis to expand their 'superior race'. This program was called 'Lebensborn' or 'Spring of Life'. Supposedly, the program was developed to halt the high rate of abortions occurring during the inter-war years. More importantly, the program wanted to create 'racially and genetically valuable' families. It took in orphaned children with Aryan qualities and gave them to high ranking SS officials. The program also encouraged 'blond, blue-eyed' men and women to mate and increase the master race.

Recently, children from the Lebensborn program who are now around 60 years old are stepping forward and confronting their dark past. Many of them are unsure of their past and do not know who their real parents are. And then there is always the fear of finding out if their fathers were war criminals.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Big Verdict!

Well, I will be the first to post on this breaking news that I am sure you have all been hearing about. Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging. Many Iraqis are celebrating this verdict, feeling that in this way justice has been served regarding the many human rights abuses committed under Hussein's regime. This is such a huge development- with all of our discussions about punishment for powerful leaders who have orchestrated campaigns of violence, this certainly provides an example of the most extreme form of punishment. As a strong believer in the need for harsh punishments for leaders guilty of human rights abuses, I surprised myself by feeling slightly bad for Hussein as I watched the video of his reaction while his death sentence was delivered. But it only takes a tiny reminder that we are looking at the face of evil. President Bush, as expected, is extremely pleased with this verdict and sees it as a symbol for the promising future of Iraq. Personally, my views on the death penalty are not firmly formulated- but whether you support it or not, we can perhaps agree that if death as a punishment should ever be enforced this instance might be it. Is this the best way justice can be delivered to the Iraqi people? Should this set precedent as punishment of other guilty world leaders?

Jesus Camp

In class it seems we’re always asking, “how could that happen?” and “how could someone bring themselves to commit crimes of hate against someone else?”
We wonder how the Nazis were able to massacre Jews, how some Islamic extremists wanted so desperately to destroy us, and the list (unfortunately) goes on.
This trailer shows just how easy it is. These camps focus on the manipulation of innocent minds and the creation of a generation of children who want nothing more than to die for Jesus. They are teaching blatant religious stereotypes and we’ve seen the devastation that springs from that.

These young children are learning that “there are two types of people in this world, people who love Jesus and people who don’t.” They are learning separation from those who don’t is the right thing to do and even separate themselves from other schoolmates, neighbors, etc. by pledging allegiance to the Christian flag. They are learning to alienate those who think differently, instead of learning cooperation

Every conflict we’ve studied starts this way: with one group declaring to be the chosen ones- the ones who are right while everyone else’s beliefs are wrong. These divisions are obviously not just a thing of the past or something occurring somewhere else across the ocean. Intolerance is being taught right here in the United States, right now.

Guard our secrets: Deny you a lawyer

Majid Khan, 26 immigrated from Pakistan and graduated form Owing Mills High School, Maryland. He was arrested in 2003 while in Pakistan and spent more than three years in a CIA prison. Defense attorneys say that his treatment in the prison amounted to torture. Being labeled a "suspected terrorist," Khan has been denied access to a defense lawyer and in September of this year, he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. This is the Military Commissions Act in practice. Even worse is the reason that is being given to deny this man a lawyer: according to the government,the CIA's network of prisons, are among the nation's most sensitive secrets. Prisoners who spent time in those prisons should not be allowed to disclose that information, even to a lawyer.

I'm just wondering what prisoners can do then? They can't get a lawyer. If by some stroke of luck, they are somehow given access to a lawyer, they cannot give them information about their treatment while in prison. So basically, this situation implies that prisoners who are in all probability being tortured have been abandoned not only by the government, but also that people who could help them cannot because it is necessary to guard the secrets of this nation.