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Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Archive for the ‘global issues’ Category

Sudan President upset about ICC warrant throws hissy-fit. Thousands put in jepordy.

Posted by clark128 on March 12, 2009

In case you aren’t already aware dear reader, Sudan is a country in Africa. Within its borders is a region called Sudan, which according to most experts is a terrible vacation spot, due to the rampant disease, lack of food, and constant warfare. The region has received much attention in the media by top name celebrities such as George Clooney, Angelina Jolee, and Bono. It has also been the target of much humanitarian aid. Unfortunately, it seems the aid is getting cut off, which will probably lead to several hundreds if not thousands of deaths.

“But why is the aid going to stop” you may ask yourself. Well, it all has to do with one individual. President Omar al-Bashir.

You see Omar was sitting one day in his beautiful home wondering to himself why anyone would call him a war criminal, and in a moment of serendipity he received a phone call from the Netherlands based International Crimes Court, telling him he had a warrant on his head for supporting a group of warriors to completely wreck Darfur. This made Omar angry! In a rage he fled to his room and wrote about it on his Myspace, then ordered all the organizations aiding the suffering to get out for helping the ICC convict him.*

But wait? Did these organizations help convict the President?

Well, they say they didn’t, but we all know that Doctors without Borders are probably some of the biggest liars on the planet.

So, most of the refugees in Darfur are now in a lot of trouble, as well as a few of the volunteers helping there. You see, recently a group of three westerners were kidnapped by armed guards. President Omar insists that he has nothing to do with it, but his Foreign Minister did mention that the ICC’s ruling would promote “lawlessness”. So, the Sudanese Government DEFINITELY did not have anything to do with it.

Doctors without Borders are a bunch of Liars, and a dictator is the only one telling the truth. I’ll let you be the judge of how much you believe this one.

*President Omar may not have a Myspace;_ylt=AngGQ4WDR0C67ZZlinc4ltVvaA8F


Posted in foreign assistance policy, global issues | 1 Comment »

Robert Mugabe–Global Criminal

Posted by bklunk on February 11, 2009

Why It Matters : Crimes in the Time of Cholera

The US-based group Physicians for Human Rights is arguing that Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, should have charges referred against him to the International Criminal Court:

The argument boils down to this: systematically denying people access to basic health care is not terribly different than holding guns to their heads. If so,they say, why not call upon the same international laws that are normally applied in conflict settings? The United Nations is then obliged to respond comparably in both scenarios—which means mobilizing an intervention akin to those dispatched to the war zones of Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Darfur. If the argument works, it would expand the paradigm for invoking international human rights law.

The UN has reported that thousands of people have died in Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic and tens of thousands more are infected.  The Mugabe government seems to have acted positively to impede doing anything about this public health crisis. 

You can find PHR’s full report on Zimbabwe here.

Whose responsibility is it to respond in a situation like this?

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“Italy: Taking on the Mafia”

Posted by jonthepackardman on February 4, 2009

As I sat in Professor Klunk’s class today, I was excited about the Frontline World site, which has news stories from around the globe. I was pleasantly surprised to find something about Italy, so I went and watched the story. I have known about the mafia’s presence in Sicily for such a long time, however, I was never aware of how the mafiosi use their power to keep Sicilians, citizens of Palermo in particular, living in oppressive circumstances.

The video detailed the lives of several business owners who had been approached to pay a pizzo – a sort of fee for the mafia to look after your business establishment in order to be sure that nothing happened to it (the only threat actually being the mafia trashing your business in order to make you pay). The history of Palermo was detailed over the last twenty years, starting with the tale of a business owner who stood up to the mafia, and in the end, was made an example of. He was shot for publicly disobeying the wishes of la Cosa Nostra (which literally translates to “our thing”, or “this thing of ours”), the term used for the mafia as a whole. He had written to the local paper (and was published!) publicly accusing the mafia and telling them how shameful their practices were, in addition to urging business owners to stand up to them.

Now you may be asking yourself, ‘this all well and good, Jon, but what does this have to do with the topic of global citizenship?’ Well, let me tell you! The newest generation of would-be business owners is tired of the oppression and does not want to be kept in economic hardship and underdevelopment because of the mafia. They have led a countermovement of sorts, and much like the “Free Trade” label, have adopted the “Addio Pizzo” label, given to any business owner who refuses to pay the mafia. Consumers (Sicilians in Palermo in particular) are urged to avoid shops that do not have the label, and support for the cause of breaking the mafia’s back is now widespread.

Most of us, or at least myself, have the tendency to look at Italy as being democratic, and generally free of humanitarian issues. However, this is not the case. Even in such a country as Italy, there is a humanitarian crisis. People are living in fear of the mafia – which is why the custom of paying the pizzo has lasted for so long (centuries), people are afraid to own businesses, and people are afraid to turn to the police, or even publicly speak of “our thing” because they don’t know who they can trust! The mafia has a saying: “We have people everywhere”.

It should also be noted that people were in awe and bewilderment of the fact that one businessowner actually took the stand and pointed out a mafiosi, leading to the arrest of hundreds of his cohorts. Such a thing is unheard of, and the man that did so is now seen as a hero. Yes my friends, Italians residing in mafia-run cities are living in oppression and underdevelopment, but with the help of the Italian police force – the Carabinieri, the tide is changing. How can you help? If you buy from Italy, Sicily in particular, buy from the companies participating in the Addio Pizzo pact, don’t let your dollars go to support la Cosa Nostra.

Posted in global issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Virtual Global Citizenship Revisited or Is It Wrong to Wear Virtual Shoes in a Virtual Mosque?

Posted by bklunk on February 3, 2009

Second Life and The Sacred: Islamic Space in a Virtual World | Digital Islam

Krystina Derrickson’s article describes the presentation and experience of Islam in the virtual world Second Life.

Islamic religious spaces are present in the multi-user virtual environment Second Life. Because they are designed after emotionally-charged real life sacred sites, such as Mecca, and because their designers instruct users to follow behavioral regulations typical of real life Islamic sacred spaces, the virtual spaces are interpreted as ambiguously sacred. This paper examines this phenomenon, utilizing the theories of Ken Hillis to explain how characteristics of virtuality, combined with the factors listed above, have led to this ambiguity. As ‘the virtual’ contains such ambiguously sacred sites as Mecca (though not as sacred as the geographical location in the Hijaz), theorists of religion should consider virtually-mediated experiences as one form of contact with ‘the sacred.’

Are there possibilities for educating for global citizenship in this experiment?  One of interesting aspects is the possibility of interacting with others from around the world without any fears based on personal security.More information about the Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds Project can be found at Dancing Ink Productions.

There is a really interesting research project here for somebody.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues, United Nations University | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Obama signs order to close Guantanemo Bay

Posted by mykela1 on January 24, 2009

On Thursday, Obama signed multiple executive orders, one of which will result in the permanent closure of Guantanemo Bay. Another order was made to close all of the CIA’s secret foreign prisons which have long been critizied for their treatment of prisoners. After reading this article, I really do have hope that Obama’s administration will help to rebuild our country’s reputation abroad and relationships with foreign countries. In the spirit of global citizenship, Obama has questioned our government’s treatment of detainees and is taking action to correct these wrongs.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues | 6 Comments »

President Gaviria Lecture at University of the Pacific

Posted by jonthepackardman on January 23, 2009

For my critique of Gaviria’s lecture, as well as a longer explanation and discussion of the topics he covered, please go to my blog, which serves as my E-portfolio, and read the entry titled: “Former President of Columbia, Cesar Gaviria, Speaks at Pacific

Last semester I attended one of the Gerber Lecture Series events in which Cesar Gaviria, former president of Columbia, spoke. Sitting in class this week, it occurred to me that a lot of what Gaviria had to say could be accomplished by the presence of more global citizens in America. Now, you may be saying: ‘Jon, give me a break. America is a cultural melting-pot, how much more globalized could a citizenry get?’ While you may be right in that we do have many immigrants who still maintain ties to their countries of origin, you have failed to see that the three primary parts of global citizenship, as identified in Hans Schattle’s The Practices of Global Citizenship, are not being met. The presence of foreigners in America does not mean that we as a people are aware of what is going on in the world around us. In addition, it does not ensure that we recognize the responsibility that we have to ourselves, our offspring, and the rest of the world, in regards to our individual actions and the potential impacts they may subsequently produce. Furthermore, an active participation in global affairs is necessitated by this account of global citizenship.

President Gaviria covered an array of topics during his lecture, however, the point that he seemed to continuously emphasize was the fact that had the United States paid any attention to Central and South in the last couple of decades, our current financial crisis could have been avoided. He mentioned that his people, much like those within the United States, tend to live above their means and save a smaller proportion of their income. This comes in stark contrast to the Asian populace of the world, which saves approximately 40% of its annual income. This explains why Americans, who have overstretched themselves financially, fall into economic hardship while Asians do not. To summarize, Gaviria claims that had America paid closer attention to the world around it, seen what was happening in Central and South America and juxtaposed that to the economic situation in Asia, we could very have avoided our current plight. Although he made several excellent arguments throughout his lecture, I still believe that the president was somewhat short-sighted.

Cesar Gaviria urged the United States to work with its neighbors to the South in order to build strong economies for all, create a greater standard of living for all, and improve international relations for all of the countries concerned. However, I believe that this suggestion is insufficient. Why stop there? Why not foster amiable relations between all of the countries in the world? Although this goal may be far-fetched, change in that direction must begin sometime. The United States, and all other countries of the world for that matter, should strive to build bonds with not only their neighbors, but with countries half way across the world as well. Global interdependence leads to greater understanding among countries, better international relations, and an ensuing “world peace” that pageant contestants always refer to. Though this argument may seem quite idealized and full of flaws and faulty assumptions, this is the only path to less violence and better relations worldwide. And as Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Though my proposal may be tough to take on and accomplish, the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by bklunk on January 15, 2009

OurWorld 2.0
This fascinating blog, published by the United Nations University, asks the question:

What can we do when faced with complex,
inter-connected and pressing problems like climate change, oil
depletion and food security? 

OurWorld 2.0 tries to highlight innovative approaches to these challenging problems.  It just won the 2008 Weblog award for best design and it does look terrific.  We’ll be checking in regularly to find interesting material to feature.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues, innovation, United Nations University | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »