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Posts tagged “Human Rights

Africa And Russia: the Entangled Lovers

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Museveni-s-Anti-Homosexuality-speech/-/688334/2219956/-/vinrt7/-/index.html

So Uganda (like Nigeria, Russia and other backward thinking regimes) finally signed the law that consigns its gay citizens to the ghetto. Yes, let brimstone fall from angry heaven and devour those “disgusting” sexual deviants. It’s all for the children. When African and Russian leaders are busy looting their countries’ funds and salting them where those funds are protected by the West’s legislative framework these “leaders” are of course also thinking about the children: the children starved of funds that should be building, for them (I mean, the children), a better country.

Below are some quotes from Museveni’s gay-baiting speech showing the abysmal quality of leadership and thinking generally exhibited by African leaders and, let’s be frank, the religiously devout.

“Africans are flabbergasted by exhibitionism of sexual acts”.
He probably means disgusted. if instead they are ‘astonished’ what’s the issue?

“I am not able to understand the logic of the Western Culture … Since Western societies do not appreciate politeness”. He doesn’t understand except when he and his ministers are lining their pockets with aid money and stuffing stolen funds in western banks.

He then quotes a well-known Swedish study that surmises genes account for a third of the homosexuality in a sample of identical twins. For Museveni that proves being gay is a choice. We share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees and yet that errant 2% makes all the difference between being a chimp and being human. It doesn’t take much difference in genes to make a hell of a lot of difference in a living organism. Oops, not the kind of reasoning one expects from god-believers since they, out of hand, reject any science that conflicts with their holy books.

“let me .. warn our people publicly about the wrong practices indulged in and promoted by some of the outsiders. One of them is oral sex”. Apparently God doesn’t like this. Yes that mythical deity written up by some desert people a few thousand years ago and still believed in by billions of people. I am flabbergasted.

And then finally from Museveni:
“We reject the notion that somebody can be homosexual by choice; that a man can choose to love a fellow man; that sexual orientation is a matter of choice.”

What then is his problem? But then he goes on: “Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, …”

Really. What a buffoon.


Syrian Dilemma

Syria: to war or not to war. This is our dilemma. Political or moral? You can’t choose to never ever go to war (say, for moral reasons) because some people have no scruples and, given the opportunity which can always be manufactured, will totally crush you. On the other hand you can’t always go to war on the slimmest of excuses (or reasons) because that’s insane and you’ll wander into areas not right for civilized behaviour. The question is: when to war?

It’s unclear to me why Syria is the right one. Bashar Al-Assad is ‘evil’ (so was Bush in the effects of his actions) so we must depose him. So goes the central argument. But wait a minute: no one advocates war over Putin who must be the most sinister of all major political leaders and no one contemplates war against that hell-whore, Mugabe. Bashar dropped chemical weapons and we have a moral obligation to … but to whom? If China uses chemical weapons (‘oops, sorry it was a factory accident, it just happened to fall on malcontents’) so do we have an obligation to risk the whole of mankind by fighting a war with China on moral grounds?

Syria is militarily weak (compared to the ‘allies’) and we can get away with it but will we get away with it or do we just end up with side effects that turn one bad situation into another kind of bad situation or worse, into a worse situation? We drop some bombs, certainly kill a lot of Syrians and maybe, just maybe kill Bashar and then what – the Iraq scenario? That turned out well.

The neo cons are all out again justifying war for moral reasons (chemical weapons is illegal, right?) and that dubious term ‘human rights’. The neo-libs are out eschewing war because it’s also illegal but this time against ‘international law’ whatever that is. Both sides marshal the most audacious arguments but, for anyone who hasn’t taken a stand and isn’t just banging the party drum, life isn’t black and white. It’s muddy;  very very muddy. Sometimes you have to respect the law because it’s a civilized way of resolving conflicts and other times you must fuck the law because it sucks and one has to resort to moral actions and common sense. Which road one takes calls for wisdom. In the old days one consulted the gods. They turned out to be frauds but that’s another write-up.

Just because something is lawful (e.g. arranged marriages) doesn’t make it a good thing and just because something is illegal (e.g. LGBT equality) doesn’t make it evil. The real question is: if we go into Syria  what do we get out of it? After Iraq we don’t need another fine mess. “Women and children are suffering” may well be true but the fact is dropping a few bombs here and a few more there will not stop that. The West are not fairy godmothers from a Cinderella story who will make pain and suffering go away. We only replace one form of suffering with another.

the_unhappy_warrior


The Iron Lady’s Not (Re)Turning

It’s been said that only psychopaths can be leaders. Now that The Iron Lady is dead many are gambolling on her grave singing: “The witch is dead, ding dong, the witch is dead”. I hated some of her politics but she did revitalize Britain at a time when the country was going to seed. She was a tough girl and you had to be to get to where she did. This is her comment in 1969: “No woman in my time will be prime minister or foreign secretary.”

Ten years later she was Prime Minister. Funny how times change or in her words: “It’s a funny old world.” What a perfect illustration of how our tendency as humans to extrapolate and project current conditions is seriously defective. Who would have thought that a negro would be Preseident of the United States less than fifty years post Martin Luther King proclaiming that he had a dream? Who could have thought it would take only five years from the death of Emily Dickinson in 1913 to women being given the vote in Britain? And how long ago was homosexuality a crime in the West and now we are talking gay marriage? Quoting MLK again: “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”. Perhaps the moral here is not to give up on a worthwhile venture even when the probability of achieveing it looks like zero from where one is standing. Amen.

There was a toughness to Baroness Thatcher (otherwise she wouldn’t have earned the moniker The Iron Lady). One quote signified this perfectly:

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”

Indeed the one memorable time she turned was when she introduced a divisive tax (the poll tax) that set off riots on the streets and also the chain of events that eventually led to men in dark suits knocking on her door. She met their demand that she step down after unconvincinly winning a vote of confidence with a characteristically defiant “I fight on, I fight to win. She resigned the next day. Her quest was over.

Anyway back to psychopaths …. there was also a mean streak to Thatcher. Two quotes epitomise her schizophrenia:

“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” (1980)
“It was treachery with a smile on its face. Perhaps that was the worst thing of all.” (1993 after she was gone).

What did she expect after treating people like fodder?

BTW: all Thatcher quotes above from the BBC website

maggie


Justice In Britain We Like

[The judges] continued: “The fact that [Abu Qatada] is considered to be dangerous is not relevant to the application of [human rights] principles”.

I agree. No question, the man is a dangerous bigot. But if he had been a (white) Briton held in Somalia or Jordan or Iran and tried there with confessions obtained under torture, Britain would be the first to howl about human rights laws at the Security Council. We can’t sign up to Principles and then choose when to apply them (when it suits us) and when to ignore them (when it suits us). That’s called hypocrisy and begets no respect. Maybe we could before WWII but times have changed. The Home Secretary should try some other means instead of continuing to waste taxpayer money.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/abu-qatada-stays-on-in-uk-theresa-may-loses-appeal-fight-to-deport-radical-cleric-8550895.html