Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Given Thanks

Today is the day of thanksgiving and there are many things that I am thankful for. My friends and family, education, health, and so forth. But most importantly I am thankful for my God, and his love, wisdom, and patience.

This Thanksgiving I have been thinking about being a Christian, and how difficult it truly can be, sometimes even seemingly impossible. We fight for our time of prayer, fight to love one another as we should, and fight to keep the fight and hope in us. And its God's grace that holds us in, and pushes us forward. So this Thanksgiving I dedicate especially to the saints of the world. Those men and women, many who are nameless the world but all are truly heroes, who keep the fight and press forward towards the goal of heaven.

Because we can talk about the problems of this world and what solutions we have contrived, but it all comes down to Jesus. This world is empty and without hope. It needs a savior and a lover. And their will always be conflict in this world, because we don't understand how to love how God loves. The more I live my life and observe the lives of others, the more I come to believe Toser that the most important thing about a person is how they view God. So to those saints, who are in love with God, I am thankful for the path and example you set. And to those who have helped guide my own personal journey. I am thankful for you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Is there an Alternative?

So finals week if over and I can now spend some time placing some thoughts in this blog. So today I ask, is there an Alternative?

The United Nations was created after World War II in San Franciso. It was intended to foster peace and International cooperation. The world had just recently experienced unprecidented destruction, propelled by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and many felt that this happened due to the inadequcies of the League of Nations, whom had been too passive and weak to stand up to the budding dictatorships. The UN was designed to fix the problems surrounding The League of Nations, and never again was the world supposed to see such catosrophic indignity dealt to mankind.

However the UN has not been without its porblems. The most significant case is the genocide in Rwanda. In the early 90's the President of Rwanda was assasinated. The Presidential gaurd, some 30,000 strong, blamed the Tutsis ethnic group. The result was the makings of a genocide. The United Nations got involved, but pulled out in a few days, due to 10 soliders being killed. Over the course of 100 days 800,000 Rwandans were murdered. The most intense genocide in human history. That was 1994.

Currently in Sudan there is a genocide against black africans, in the Dafur region. Since last year around 50,000 have been killed and some 1.4 million have become refugees, if my numbers are correct. The United Nations has only issued sanctions.

It seems that in recent history the UN has proved to be too weak to handle international crisises. This is not the only problem facing the United Nations however. In the realm of International Law, we are seeing states act as rouges of the international community, and the inability of the UN to enforce law. Now I am not only talking about obvious states such as former Iraq and N. Korea. But even amoung the more 'civil' nations. The single largest offender of international law is Israel in regard to its settlements in the west bank, golan heights, and gaza strip. In 1988 the United States was convicted of terrorism for its involvement in nicaragua, a accusation which the US has ignored. How can there be international cooperation, if states are not willing to submit to such a community.

Other problems involve UN structure. We have on the UN human rights commission: Sudan, Libya, and Cuba. All states with atrocious human rights records. On the UN security council are five permanet members: United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, and the United States. These countries all have the power to veto the actions of the security council. This really comes down to soverignty. My worry is that this enables certain countries to look out for thier own interests, instead of acting in a way more benificial to the international community. At times I worry that the UN requires a maturity of the world that it does not in fact posses.

Now dont get me wrong, I support the United Nations and even more so the idea of International Community. Those of you who know me understand that I see myself a citizen of the world before I see myself as an American. I am even an International Relations major. But I cannnot let my tendencies towards certian things blind me of thier problems. The UN has a marvelous ability to spark dialouge, highlight areas of conflict, place pressure on nations, and has some very good success stories. But it does have problems and may need an overhaul. I would like it to become stronger, require stricter attributes for membership, and have more accountability for member nations. I hope that it would be come more demoratic, and thus international law will become more legitamite.

So I turn it over to you, what does the future hold for the UN, and what can be done to fix it. Or do we need an alternative, and what does that look like. God Bless--Peace out--Clentch Fists


P.S. I strongly feel that the Rwandan Genocide has been largely overlooked and that we can learn much from looking at it. So here is a great resource for you to chew on for a bit. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/africa/2004/rwanda/default.stm

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Middle East

As many of you are aware, Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority died earlier this week. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is key to stability in the Middle East and perhaps even the International Community. With Arafats death I have many concerns and hopes. My hope is that with Arafat's death will also die the Fatah movement, a movement that focuses on the destruction and abolishment of the Israeli state. If the Fatah movement, which Arafat began, is weakened I hope that it may allow for further dialogue and compromise. Which I hope, may lead to the creation of two sovereign and peaceful states. On the flip side the death of Arafat could further weaken the Palestinian Authority and allow for the strengthing of Milatant groups in Palestine. Particularly, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. This I believe will be heightened by Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip, the main area of Hamas.

The conflict in the Middle East requires a maturity I fear that either side does not possess. As it progresses each side increasingly views the other side less as human and abstractly as the enemy. I believe we can see this by looking at the Intifada's. The First Intifada (89' - 93') was characterized by rocks being thrown. In the current Intifada it is being defined by a wall being erected, effectively placing the Palestinians in ghetto's, and suicide bombings. Will the increase in violence continue to shift moderates on either side to increasingly militant stances? As to the role of the US and the UN, I have always been of the mindset that the leadership and solutions should come within the two factions. The Arab world views the US as being too pro-Israeli and the Western World and Israel view the UN as being pro-Palestinian. I would like to thank my Father for sparking this, and for those of you looking for more information I would suggest: www.bitterlemons.org which allows for Israeli and Palestinian views on issues (allows for some objectivity) and for some general history on the conflict http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab-Israeli_conflict. Enjoy and keep chewing.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Culture

What am I? I am a W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). The great conquering, assimilating, genocidal society; I don’t have culture in the way others do, and our history I am ashamed of. I feel naked.
It seems to me that my culture is the purveyor of materialism, selfishness, and ignorance. We in an effort to imitate the Romans seem intent into turning demos’ attention back to the circus maximus.

Can my culture be reconciled?

To that end I cannot answer. All I can do is hope, and work towards that greater tomorrow by first reconciling myself, and than by a life of example have some influence. For my past is secure, my history set, but tomorrow is an open door.