Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Westboro Baptist Church Strikes Again

The tragic murder of UNC-Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson has not only upset the UNC community, but the entire college community as a whole. It has also affected the Westboro Baptist Church, but not in a heartfelt way. On the WBC website they have posted a flier stating that they will be picketing at the memorial service for Eve Carson at UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday, March 18th. In the flier it is written, "God Hates American Colleges. They are filthy, anti-God, arrogant, debauched, decadent & depraved. This victim was student body pres." It also says, "God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers. Ergo, God hates N. Carolina Univ. It is a cesspool of iniquity - throughout: top to bottom - staff, administration, faculty, alumni, student body." The flier goes on to say that anyone associated with a college or university is doomed and that American Universities are "God-defying, Satanic, and vile." Eve Carson had the potential to be a great figure in American society, and now she is being mocked and disrespected by the WBC in the name of God. The Westboro Baptist Church is saying that her cold-blooded murder was as a result of how American universities accept and promote what they deem to be "vile and satanic" behavior. In addition, the WBC in their flier emphasizes AMERICAN universities. American universities are something cherished and important to American society. If the WBC really disagrees with American education then why don't they just leave? It makes no sense for them to stay in the US if they hate something that America prides itself on. I feel that the WBC is becoming more and more extreme.. and now they are picketing at an innocent girl's memorial service. From originally picketing outside of military funerals to now picketing outside of a school leaders memorial service it leads one to believe that the Westboro Baptist Church will picket and protest at any tragedy that occurs to anyone besides those within their small, extreme, and obviously ignorant community.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Using the Olympic Games as a Platform

A few weeks ago Steven Spielberg pulled out as an artistic advisor to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Spielberg said that China has not put enough pressure on the Sudanese government to end the conflict in Darfur and that he could not continue to play a role in the 2008 Olympics with a clean conscience. The Chinese government responded by saying Spielberg's decision was unfortunate and that politicizing the games is out of synch with the Olympic spirit.

Chinese citizens are also challenging the domestic human rights record of the Chinese government. A social activist was recently arrested for distributing a petition titled "We Don't Want the Olympic Games, We Want Human Rights." This "crime" could carry a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for Mr. Wang.

Do you think a country with a record of human rights violations should be allowed to host the Olympic games? Are the games an appropriate platform to campaign for political change and human rights?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Human Trafficking: Fighting Losing Battle?

A recent article about human trafficking concerns in China suggests law enforcement officials are not doing their part to fight this growing crime. Published statics would indicate that the country is making a substantial effort to combat human trafficking and that reported incidents have decreased over the last several years. However, these numbers are a result of "China's narrow definition of human trafficking, which only covers the kidnapping, purchase, or sale of women and children younger than 14." In many instances young adults are caught up in his dangerous cycle as well because of pressures to find work and assist in supporting their families. Cases of forced labor and sexual exploitation are on the rise, and the Chinese government has been apathetic in responding to this issue; it has even, in some instances, ignored known illegal exploitation of women and children in factories. The government has announced several anti-trafficking initiatives, but they do not appearing to be working. Moreover, because of the migration tendencies inherent in China's framework, trafficking offenses are difficult to prosecute. In a country where everything seems to be working against the safety of its citizenry, can there be any hope?

Is The United States Shirking its human rights obligations?

A United Nations human rights expert, Jorge A. Bustamante has criticized the United States government for the "mandatory detention of illegal immigrants", claiming that the "overuse of immigration detention in the US violates the spirit of international laws and conventions, and in many cases, also violates the actual letter of those instruments".
Do you agree?