May 19, 2004
May 14, 2004
Into the Gap the India Elections Fall
Comparing the 2004 election to the one in 1977, which brought opposition parties to the forefront, Rushdie said the "oldest Indian rivalries of all have resurfaced in this election as they also did in 1977.
"Then as now, much of the urban bourgeoisie voted for the government while the impoverished Indian masses, in particular the rural poor, mostly voted against it. The Indian battle for centrality in the debate about the country's future has always been, to some degree, a battle between the city and the village."
In this context, he mentioned how the NDA lost in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu due to its emphasis on a hi-tech economy while neglecting the agrarian sector.
"The gulf between India's rich and poor has never looked wider than it does today, and the government has fallen into that chasm."
News on Sudan Peace Talks
News on peace talks regarding Sudan (Al-Ahram Weekly, Cairo)...(I copied a few paragraphs below for the skimmers...):
"Non-Muslims are going to be subjected to Sharia law... In the past underprivileged and jobless southerners were the first to suffer from amputation of limbs even though they are not Muslim. That is why we do not want Khartoum to impose Sharia law," Farouk Abu Eissa, the former head of the Cairo-based Arab Lawyers Union and official spokesman for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), told Al-Ahram Weekly.
Abu Eissa stressed that civil liberties and democratic rights cannot be restricted simply to southern Sudan. The people of northern Sudan are entitled to civil liberties, democracy and human rights as well. He said that many political groups in northern Sudan do not accept the concept of a theocratic state with limited civil liberties as propagated by the Sudanese government. "The political and economic reconstruction of Sudan must be founded on a new basis, one which takes into account the multi-religious and multi-ethnic make-up of the country. Civil society groups -- including trade unions, independent professional associations and opposition parties -- must be involved in the peace process. The state of emergency must be lifted," he added.
[...] The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the chief armed opposition group in Darfur, not to be confused with the southern Sudanese-based SPLA, and the other main Darfur armed opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have been battling both government forces and allied Arabised militias known as Janjaweed. The civilian population of Darfur, Sudan's poorest province, has borne the brunt of the fighting. Unlike the secularist and leftist SLA, JEM is a militant Islamist organisation reputedly linked to the Popular National Congress Party (PNC) of the Sudanese Islamist ideologue and former Parliament Speaker Hassan Al-Turabi. The indigenous population of Darfur is, like the rest of northern Sudan, Muslim, but like southern Sudan it is predominantly non-Arabised. Most of the people of Darfur retain their non-Arab identity. They complain that the Janjaweed militias are desecrating their mosques and other places of public worship, as well as cattle rustling, raping, and destroying life and property.
Hat tip: Google News E-mail Alert: indigenous human rights
Jesus in Beijing
"For readers whose Christian imagination permits of a future in which America is not God's vicar, Aikman's book is provocative reading. His appendices, which include the formal creed of the House Church movement, are worth the price of the book." (From "Jesus in Beijing: Christianity Today")
Hat Tip: TallSkinnyKiwi: Jesus in Beijing
May 13, 2004
CAFTA Signing Date Set
The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) will apparently be signed on Friday, May 28, 2004.
CAFTA Signing Date Set (High Plains Journal, May 13, 2004)
Time to learn about Elections in South Asia
As if elections in the U.S. weren't confusing enough, I have to go and figure out what the deal is half-way around the world.
So, if you don't mind, I'll drag you along with my on my quest to de-mystify the issues surrounding recent elections in South Asia, specifically India (although I do have a link here to an article I just received in my inbox about elections in the Philippines which I will include in this post for good measure.)
So most of this India election stuff is from the BBC, which seemed like a pretty reliable source since Britain has been pretty intimately involved with India in the past (seeing as it colonized it for quite some time):
- India votes: Parties and personalities (a run-down of the parties and key faces in race for political power)
- State-by-state election results thus far [Gujarat is here]
- BBC coverage of the elections: India Votes 2004
And, finally, a "global perspective" article from the National Catholic Reporter, "Asia Goes to the Polls", which discusses the possible implications of close to 1.2 billion Asians going the polls this year.
(By the way, Oregonians, the Primary election is next week! Don't forget to vote!)
May 12, 2004
Unexpected goodness from "Van Helsing"?
Huh. Maybe I'll add it to my Netflix queue after all (and wait ever-so-patiently for the DVD release).
Hat tip: TallSkinnyKiwi
May 11, 2004
U.S. and others renew concern for Sudan
As a follow up to yesterday's post, here's news about the State Department's recent actions....good news, I hope.
1971 Stanford Prison Experiment
In light of recent revelations regarding prison conditions and abuse in Iraq, you may find this web site of interest...
Stanford Prison Experiment
From the web site:
"How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress."
Hat tip: VJ.
May 10, 2004
More on Sudan...but with little change
So you've heard the old riddle, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Usually ensuing after such a question is raised are debates regarding the nature of sound, blah, blah, etcetera, ad nauseum. But I wonder if a similar question could be raised about the atrocities and abuses suffered by the poor and oppressed around the world at the hands of the local claimants of power?
Injustice is the kind of thing that makes your skin crawl if...
- you are victim of injustice
- you are a witness of injustice by circumstance
- you seek to become a witness of injustice through research and inquiry
Hearsay of injustice might make you momentarily uncomfortable (ala, "Man, that sucks...!"), but it really isn't going to change your mind or heart about the matter.
So could a question could be asked, "If a village burns in a remote area of the world and no one but the perpetrators are left to witness it, will justice ever be served?" I know it's not exactly analagous, but the point I'm trying to make is that the reason why it's important to speak out and learn about and know about the injustice in the world isn't to perpetuate depression, sadness, doom and gloom, but to take on a responsibility as image-bearers of God to be engaged witnesses and respond to what we see with love, compassion, mercy, and justice.
By "image-bearers of God," I mean acting a little more like our Creator...aka:
[...] "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." (Exodus 34:6-7)
I prefaced this post with all this because the situation in the Sudan is worsening because the European Union, the U.S. and the U.N. while at varying levels familiar with what is going on in Darfur, are doing very little to bring accountability to an area of the world decreasing rapidly in population in the name of ethnic cleansing. I can think of a number of examples where this kind of inaction led to haunting regret and I am loathe to see it happen again in this situation. But let us not add to the list of the guilty our own government's leaders who knew, but did nothing.
Write to your Congress representative and urge them to do what they can to bring justice to this region of the world.
And, the original reason for this post: a couple of very informative articles to bring you up to speed on the situation in Darfur:
- allAfrica.com: Sudan: Sudan: More Reports, Little Action
- Sudan: Government Commits 'Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur
Tweaking Templates 101
I know there's a few of you who are currently learning how to modify your Movable Type blogs using CSS. I was going to write a tutorial for you guys, but it's already been done very nicely. I agree with Modifying the Movable Type CSS (Anders Jacobsen's blog), this guide is really beautifully done and easy to understand. Here it is: Illustrated MT Templates.
And for good meaure, here are a few of my CSS and Web design resources from the ole' bookmarks menu:
- NYPL Online Style Guide (quality XHTML & CSS resources a-plenty)
- Web Building Tips
- Color Scheme Generator (a new favorite!)
- Color Schemer Online v2 (an old favorite)
That should keep you going for a while.
Cyclone off Gujarati coast weakens, but lives lost
News on Elections in India
May 09, 2004
A history of abuse
I think one of the greatest emotional responses that we posess is that of moral outrage. It is truly a wonderful thing.
Moral outrage exposes a lie. It breaks down a black and white argument that seemed "so clear." Moral outrage stifles complacency. It awakens the sleeper. And for this reason, that's why this blog, "awake," is often written in a tone of "moral outrage" (get it?).
So I find quite a good thing coming out of this very horrible thing of the so-called "discovery" of prisoner abuse at the hands of U.S. military. I say "so-called" because, honestly, do "they" really expect us to believe that we didn't know that people of the U.S. are any different from anyone else in the world in terms of their capacity to spit in the face of God and reject his ways in favor of their own selfish pursuits? (aka "sin")
So while thorougly disgusted and justifiably outraged, along with the "rest of the world" (in quotes, because I'm sure there quite a number of sick %#@&~! out there who are not at all displeased with these acts), I was not at all surprised by it. And neither was Human Rights Watch, as any of you who have been watching the news, have heard.
But if you are surprised, you may want to check out the 46 pages of articles that Human Rights Watch has written on a country not exempt from committing its own fair share of injustice: the United States.
If 46 pages is too much, at least check out the Timeline of Detainee Abuse Allegations and Responses; it's quite informative.
Happy moral outraging. I'm off to a mom's day picnic.