Thursday, March 27, 2008

Freedom of Religion or Neglect?

An 11-year-old girl dies of diabetes after parents prayed for healing instead of seeking medical care. She died of a common treatable form, but her parents refused to get medical care. Government officials are investigating the case, and family claims that if charges are filed they will claim freedom of religion under the first amendment. Is this pure parental neglect and abuse against this child? Or another case of cultural relativism, in which we should respect an individual’s beliefs?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

US Ignoring the Needs of Displaced Iraqis

Its bad enough when people are forced to leave their homes in order for their survival.. it's even worse when those people are ignored by the other nations of the world. The situation in Iraq is devastating, and we started it. One would think that because we devastated the lives of so many civilians that we would be sure to take care of their needs and allow them to seek refuge here. well.. thats not the case. A CNN reporter said, "We believe the United States has a special responsibility to Iraqi refugees, if only to restore its credibility. The violence they flee is an unplanned-for byproduct of the American invasion of Iraq, and its chaotic aftermath." Unfortunately, the United States has ignored the crisis that it had started and is responsible for. The displacement of the Iraqis since the US invasion in 2003 is seen as one of the "most significant population displacement in the Middle East since Israel was established in 1948." Its difficult enough to leave your home, but to be ignored makes the situation worse. Luckily Syria and Jordan have been helpful for the displaced Iraqis, but that it not enough. For the US to have initiated the conflict that led to the displacement of 2 million people, we should be providing aid.. and that fact that we're not only contributes more to the already terrible reputation of the US in the Middle East.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Police Ask for African Refugees to be Put Out of the City

Police officials in Australia advised Immigration officials that it would be better to settle African Refugees outside of the city. In the past police officials have had crime-related problems because of grouping conflicts among Sudanese refugees which was further exacerbated by the living conditions in the city. Also, the police have noticed an escalation in gang violence among Sudanese refugees. Officials believe that it would be better to settle these refugees in rural settlements where it would be easier for refugees to find jobs, avoid drugs and alcohol, and street crimes. These settlements would help create comfortable communities for the refugees where they would not have to worry about the hustle and bustle of a major city such as Melbourne. Officials believe that they can entice refugees to move out of the cities by offering them better job opportunities and living conditions in rural settlements.

I think that this idea is interesting. I do not know however, how effect this plan will be in rural areas. I believe that if people want to be a member of a gang or involved in criminal activity they will be involved no matter where they live. I propose that officials provide refugees with education about the culture they are about to be submersed in and encourage safe communities and community involvement for refugee families no matter if they live in a city or rural area.

What do you think?

Olympic Torch journey begins w/ protests.

Today, in Greece the Olympic torch was lit to mark the beginning of the journey to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The journey to the Olympic games is a time-honored tradition viewed and respected by many throughout the world. The journey of the torch to its new home is always respected and treasured, however this year it is met with protest. Human rights demonstrators breached tight security and tried to hijack the torch lighting ceremony and relay. 
Just before the torch was lit inside the archaeological site that played host to the Olympics in Greece, three demonstrators managed to break a tight police barricade. One of them carried a black banned with five interlocked handcuffs in the pattern of the Olympic Rings. These individuals were protesting China's inability to improve its human rights conditions. As citizens believe that China is currently more concerned with preparing for the Olympic games than improving the country's conditions. Also, smaller protests took place during the first few kilometers of the relay, leading to nine total protesters being detained.
The Beijing Games Chief Liu Qi stated this morning that "the Olympic flame will radiate light and happiness, peace and friendship, and hope and dreams to the people of China and the whole world." It is the assumption of the Beijing Games chairs that these will in fact come true, however, it seems that the people of China feel differently. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), vice president Lambis Nikolaou, a Greek, was outraged by the disruptions. "I am furious with the fact that these people did not respect the site they were on...whatever differences they have with China, they should express them in their country and not ours. This is a disgrace."
To me, i was a bit shocked to hear that the lighting of the torch and beginning of the relay to China was disrupted by protesters. The Olympic games, has always been a miraculous occasion that I have come to thoroughly enjoy, and now it seems that most recent news on it is negative. However, in a country like China, where human rights conditions remain poor, are its people justifiable in protesting...even if in this case they were protesting in Greece?