Category Archives: human rights

For your reading pleasure

I have replaced the About page with Five things the Den loves.

We should all be ashamed for having offended this poor man

Sudan is angered by genocide claims.

The Sudanese government has responded angrily after an international prosecutor accused President Omar al-Bashir of genocide in Darfur.

Well, Western civilization, what do you expect when you go barging in the front door of other nations’ homes haughtily telling them how to run their affairs? How would we like it if a North African nation shoved its nose into our business, picked said nose with its finger of scorn, and pointed at us the booger of blame?

What deeply worries me about the way we go on offending other nations like this is the senseless loss of trust and goodwill from those who never did anything to us. Is bickering and arguing over who committed genocide against who really the way to move forward?

A certain wise man once said, “Judge not that ye be not judged” — a clear call for an end to all punishment, justice, and even the very recognition that any action taken by any other person can ever be wrong. No one embraced his wisdom then and no one embraces it today. This country is brimming with self-righteous snoots who claim to follow the advice of that wise man, but who, were I to plant a garden sickle in their backs as they sleep, burn their houses down and murder their families, would accuse me of all manner of wickedness. If that isn’t hypocrisy then what is?

From the mailbag (kind of)

On the seldom occasion when I receive email from a reader asking “Dear Hydralisk, with all the human rights abuses going on in the world, what can I, an ordinary underwear-ing citizen do to help?” (it hasn’t happened yet, but that counts as seldom, doesn’t it?) I of course refer them to Panties for Peace.

Our act of delivering our underwear to the Burmese foreign missions across the globe is of immense importance and symbolic in protest of Myanmar junta’s violent crackdown of monks-led rallies in Yangon last month, and to oust the generals ruling the country from power…

One of the main reasons for which we are encouraging people to send out their panties to Burma’s foreign missions is because the generals ruling Myanmar are superstitious and they believe that touching panties or the traditional women’s outfit sarong will eliminate their powers…

Will you be my friend? Tackling the problem of (un)popularity

Friends. Everyone needs them. No one understands our need for friends more than the people who we need as friends, as one former US ambassador explains.

You wrote a commentary in Britain’s Guardian newspaper in which you suggested that Europeans and the rest of the world should let the Americans know who they want for US president. Can world public opinion and the global media really influence the US elections?

They have already influenced the elections very strongly, by voicing concern over the way the [Bush administration] has conducted itself in the past eight years. You look at all the polls. America’s standing in the world had never ever been so low. These figures have registered everywhere in the United States. I hear this again and again from Americans — “our standing in the world is so low” — and that in turn has influenced American public opinion of the Bush administration’s policies.

Kornblum grasps what many of his fellow Yankees are perhaps just beginning to–that the right to elect a President of the United States ought to be, along with freedom of speech, free medical care, and habeas corpus, a universal right for all citizens of the world.

But are we acting too late? Can we regain the trust of the world by correcting this one injustice, or is a more extreme measure required lest our image becomes unsalvageable? The percentage of people around the world who view American influence favorably has risen slightly above the percentage who view North Korea favorably, but has not surpassed an abyssmal 35%. With numbers like that, Pig-pen has better chances of being invited to the ball.

Back when world opinion polls revealed that China is more popular than the United States, I fear we may have missed a golden opportunity…to become like China. Granted, our inexperience in central economic planning, our abnormal distaste of government persecution of religion, our reluctance to engage in activities like harvesting organs from unwilling subjects, and our total lack of imagination in the area of law enforcement are obstacles that would have to be overcome, but I am sure that with a positive “can-do” attitude that America is supposed to be famous for, we could adapt. At any rate, I think it is accurate to say that the United States would have an easier time adapting to Chinese-style rule of law than Iraq is having adapting to Western-style democracy.

There is another option I have not seen discussed, and it seems glaringly obvious once you think of it. A certain geographically close neighbor exists, the citizens of which hold a continually sinking opinion of the United States, and who can be assumed to be winning many friends, lovers, acquaintances, invitations to balls, etc. Yes, I’m speaking of Canada.

Should the United States apply to become a province of Canada?

It’s a hard question for many Americans to consider. I think we would find on balance many advantages of such an arrangement. Most importantly, world opinion of the United States, not to mention Canadian opinion of the United States, would surely improve by leaps and bounds. The idea is worth examination.

Ahmadinejad speech excerpts

Catch all the good parts at IMAO.


“So glad to be here in Satan country with you today. Mrs. Ah, Ali K, and Nasrallah give their regards.”

A sci-fi great

I don’t have time to blog this week so if you’re looking for something stimulating to read that you will not find anywhere else, I have just the thing.

The Great Assembly made waves in the literary world when it was first released in 2005. It is the critically acclaimed short story that tells a deep and profound message about love, and about life. Readers come away having learned something new about their own humanity. It was written by a friend of hydralisk’s with some help from hydralisk. (I came upstairs with a glass of water every hour, and I found a couple spelling mistakes, I think) Enjoy!

Why don’t you watch

Sands of Passion? Tip: when you get to the last episode it may be useful to know who Hard Gay is. This should help.

Take up the white man’s burden, Britain!

So urges (in less race-oriented terms) a local archbishop living in the economic and human rights disaster that is Zimbabwe. From Yahoo! News:

“I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe,” the paper quoted him as saying.

“We should do it ourselves but there’s too much fear. I’m ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready.”

Of course it would be justified, but fat chance of it happening. Brits long ago began to regret their role in helping remove the butcher of Baghdad. Forget Mugabe. The next dictator on their list would be President Bush (yes, ahead of Kim Jong-Il!). Priorities, you know.

H/T to Baudrillard’s Bastard

Depressed about Darfur

If four years of following the unchanging situation in Darfur are not enough to make one pessimistic,assessment at Times Online ought to do it.

The reasons for the inertia on the part of those who talk the talk are outlined succinctly. Heads of state of the G8 have unanimously ruled out a military solution — our first mistake. Any multilateral solution would be contingent on the cooperation of parties who have it in their interest to oppose intervention, such as the Chinese who profit from sales of arms to Sudan. And for everyone else, the Bugblatter Approach™ is working all too well, is it not?

I’m on the Save Darfur Coalition mailing list, which regularly alerts members of letters and petitions they can send to local leaders. One of the most recent alerts was a pre-written email addressed to Secretary Rice urging diplomacy between the US, France, and China to end the crisis. When I read this one part I laughed out loud:

It is clear that influential nations such as the U.S., France, and China could accomplish more working together than they have thus far by working separately. It is also clear that it is in each country’s best interest to help end the conflict, build a lasting peace, and help bring stability to Sudan.

In the interest of China? Haha! Very funny, Dr. Jones.

Of course I submitted the letter anyway, as I submit all letters and petitions Save Darfur points me to, in the vain hope that it will do something to make a difference. But at this rate we can expect history to chronicle the event in more or less the same fashion as it did Rwanda.

Is the life of an American (or a Frenchman, or a Brit, etc) worth more than the life of an African? Actually, yes.

To our credit we have not yet abandoned Iraq nor Afghanistan, where humanitarian concerns are coupled with national interests (I dare anybody to tell me they aren’t). But the forces at work home and abroad beating a drum of surrender are strong. Where national interests are absent or unacknowledged, the picture from Somalia 93, in which the deaths of a dozen American soldiers was all it took to make us turn tail and run, is a closer match to reality. I’m not in a position to predict what manpower and resources would be required to put an end to the crisis in Darfur, but it must be safe to assume that the number of American dead when all is done would be considerably fewer than the number of African dead stacked up pretty darn high already (in the hundreds of thousands by credible estimates) and climbing with each day.

How much more is the life of an American worth than the life of an African? A lot more, I guess. After the Holocaust our motto was supposed to be “Never again.” Shouldn’t we change it to “Live and let die” or something?

The people versus the censors

While misguided fools blather about alleged absence of freedom of speech in the US there is a real human rights struggle ongoing in the most populous nation in the world. The Internet was used to break the story of a massive child slavery scandal in a Chinese province this month. Information wants to be free, but it has to get past a determined government. With president Hu Jintao calling earlier this year for the Internet to be “purified”, it’s hard to predict how the battle will turn out.

There is some reason to hope that companies may begin to see it in their interest to be subversive rather than complicit in the censorship. Consider Flickr’s efforts to troubleshoot blocked images. Since a business listens only to profit, there is a role for the consumer to play in this fight–support the subversive companies, not the complicit ones. (well, I would like it to be that simple anyway)

H/T to China View