Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Open Thread for Current Events, 7/19/06

You guys know what to do by now...
I am going to change one thing though...I really want you to discuss with each other and the people who comment on your stuff. So, if you see something in another comment that you want to respond to, (as a question, provide an alternative, challange an assumption, anything) please do so. And, please keep checking back to see if someone has responded to you, so that you can answer their questions or whatever. It's a dialogue.

Oh, and don't forget the links. Go to this website,, so that you can make a link that will fit into your comment post (If it's too long, it won't display correctly, and we won't be able to use it)

I'm also encourage you to visit some other blogs and comment if you'd like...the ones on my sidebar here are good places where people have good comments and are open to outsiders, but there isn't a huge variety of political bias there, so I'll try to get some more good letfwing sites for you to check out if you want...


  1. TODAY, I’m talking about Africa again.
    The headline said, “Deaths at DR Congo election rally”

    This story related to political stability and the condition of the falling state. Congo has had many internal disputes for many years and this is the first time in 40 years that the people could exercise their right to vote. It is important for this election process to go smoothly. I agree with the international groups that are urging the UN to stay after the election because in regions like Africa and other Third World, it is difficult to create stability without much help from the world community. The gov’t systems in these countries are very unstable and unpredictable. It would be interesting to see how long it would take countries like DR Congo to have a gov’t that serves the interest of the PEOPLE and is acceptable in the world community.
    Reading news that happen everyday has making me think that the world is a SAD place to live in :( ):


  2. The Indian government has directed Internet service providers to block access to websites that host
    online blogs.

    I think this may have something to do with the train bombings that occurred in India about a week ago. Some claim blogs can be used by terrorist to communicate between one another. This does not seem like a valid reason to censure blogs because there are many other ways to communicate online. It will be interesting to see if the Indian government limits any other forms of expression/communication in the upcoming weeks or months.
    Are the train bombings an excuse for the Indian government to slowly curtail some rights? I would be hesitant in saying yes, but even more cautious about saying no.

  3. Nick-

    I think I understand why you would be cautious in saying no, because blocking these sites makes communication harder. But why would you be hesitant to say yes? Is it because this takes away personal rights? And maybe you have more reasoning as to why you would be hesistant to say no?

  4. Israel rolls right back into the Gaza Strip, just one year after the government ordered Israeli evacuation from the region. This departure had marked the end thirty-eight year occupation of the territory by Israelis.

    Where isn't Israel invading? It appears that Israel is trying to make the most of the seven days they have left (the ring, anyone?). The invasion, however, was most definitely not unprompted. The Israeli government is justified in taking action against those groups that launch missiles into its territory, and that take its soldiers captive. However, I do think it unreasonable that Israel has consistently refused to release any of the Palestinian prisoners it holds, on the grounds that it does not negotiate with terrorists. History has made clear that the non-negotiation policy with terrorist organizations is not an effective means of dealing with present or future terrorist threats. Perhaps stability in the region might stand a better chance if both sides were willing to make concessions, rather than clinging to their idealist strategies.

  5. Civil War Legacy Divides Spain

    It has been 70 years since the start of Spain's civil war and citizens are just now beginning to acknowledge it.

    It's interesting that the people and politicians of Spain have purposely avoided talk of the civil war. Relatively speaking it did not happen all that long ago and is still very important. The fact that it has purposely been avoided until now demostrates possible tensions that are still present in Spain. Will the new talk of the war fire up those tensions or help people to overcome them?

  6. In this section on simone speaks on the world, I too will also be dealing with an African issue. In somalia, the troops of the Union of Islamist Courts (UIC) are in Burhakaba, a town 60km from where the interim Somalian government is located. The government troops are on high alert, as an attack seems inevitable. The UIC wants to put the entire country under Islamist Sharia law.

    I can see this situation spiraling out of control already. The Ethiopian government has promised to intervene if the Islamists attack the government, which they say they won't but i think its inevitable. I believe that the country will dissolve into conflict if Ethiopia or another country doesn't step in and stop it.
    It has also struck me as odd that it seems that Islamist groups are trying to instill their religion and law on to whole countries and regions, usually by force. But what if the people of that region aren't Muslim, or don't want that kind of government, i mean, didn't they think of that? Maybe the majority of the population wants a Islamist regime, I don't know. But the danger of the whole area falling into violence is high, which could destabilize the whole region.

  7. It has become evident that Iran and Syria have played a key role in the arming of Hezbollah, providing new and more effective missiles. This has surprised intelligence analysts from both Israel and the US.

    This could prove to be quite serious if two of the more powerful states in the Middle East are providing stronger and deadlier weapons to known terrorists. What is even more concerning is that this came as a surprise to both us and Israel. I thought that we were supposedly doing a much better job with intelligence about terrorists after 9/11. I guess we still have a ways to go. If it turns out that Iran and Syria have had a direct role in the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, then there could be some serious fighting going on for quite a while, and that is definitely not what this volatile part of the globe needs.

  8. It looks like I couldn't get my link to work, so the url is:

  9. Simon--or Simone

    I am equally baffled by the idea that you must press your religion onto others. I know that the Union of Islamic Courts is not alone in trying to convert others. However, their threateningly violent tactics are not like the other groups of which I am thinking. I wonder what the benefits of a country under Islamic Sharia law would be and why they are so adament that this is the best solution?

  10. on simon(e)/alyssa's comments...

    I also wonder why some Islamists feel they are unable to function under a secular regime? As long as there is no legislation in place that infringes on an individual's ability to live according to Shariah law, why, then, is there a need to overthrow a government to institutionalize Shariah law?

    Perhaps we should consider whether a lack of religious freedom is prompting Islamists to rebel...

  11. a GLOBAL citizen7/19/06, 8:26 PM

    Why does the US have to get involve in every conflict?

    Nick- Is that mean that Indian is no longer the "world largest DEMOCRATIC country"?

    Rosie- I agree with you in suggesting that states should negotiate. But do states like the US and Israel have to negotiate with all of their enemies?

    Kate- I think that the Spanish should treat the Civil War as a lesson that they try to avoid. There is nothing wrong with facing the past.

    Simon- Is the Ethiopian gov’t able to help themselves and their people? The Ethiopian gov’t should pay more attention to the internal problems, before intervening w/ other countries.
    Which one do you prefer Simon or Simone?

    Andrew- What would happen if Iran and Syria declared war against Israel?


  12. And the conflicts around the world continue . . .
    Russia has offered amnesty to Chechen rebel leaders if they agree to ‘lay down their weapons’. The Chechens see this as an attempt to receive sympathy/moral backing from others around the world. They refuse to do so, arguing that their cause is still alive and they are still strong—even without their commander Basayev. However, Russia is urging them to ‘switch to the side of the people’. I wonder, what ‘people they refer to—the Russian people, the Chechen people, or the countless other groups inside Russia? The Russians also say that the Chechens must ‘return to a peaceful life’—I ask you, how can they return to a peaceful life when the Russian military is still inside their towns, threatening their people? I am not supporting the various acts of violence that either side has committed, however I do not think it is fair that the Russian government denies having anything to do with this conflict.

  13. Bush vetoed the bill expanding federal research on embryonic stem cells saying that this was crossing a "moral line". Although failed, people are not going to give hoping to finally be able to find cures for diseases such as diabetes, spinal cord injury, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s and others.

  14. Israeli warplanes dropped 23 tons of bombs on a bunker in southern Beirut where Hezbollah leaders were holed up. According to Hezbolloah’s TV station, no Hezbollah leaders were in the bunker when it was exploded.

    It is interesting that no one has intervened on this situation. The world is so used to fighting in the Israel area that we are not acting because of a “Peter and the Wolf” scenario. Lebanon is desperately asking for help because its county is being blown up, yet Israel claims it is on a chivalrous mission to route out terrorism (Hezbollah) in the region.

    This conflict is serious. There are multiple states involved in this situation along with the strong, non-state actor, Hezbollah, that also has control of the Lebanese government.

    The problem is, once we decide to intervene in this crisis, whose side should we take? What should we do?

  15. Kate - it is strange that Spain is trying to ignore its civil war past becasue aren't civil wars usually a big deal? Didn't Che and Moa have a heyday with an overturn of government? This silence on the part of Spain suggests a possible guilt for past events. WEIRD.

    Andrew - are you sure that the US didn't know about Iran and Syria? or were they just ignoring it because it aided us in some way?

  16. The Department of Homeland Security seems to think that small New Hampshire towns are prone to terrorist attacks.

    The author of this article (a politician and my cross-country coach) talks about how he thinks that the money that Homeland Security is giving to small towns like Harts Location is pretty much useless. I would have to agree that probably terrorists are not going to strike Harts Location but, as we have read recently and seen in "The Weatherman Underground" insurgent groups and terrorist organizations can spring up any where. While I think that the grants and equipment given to small NH towns could be better used elsewhere I think that it is good that Homeland Security is looking at all towns as possible targets. Although I wish they wouldn't spend so much darn money on these towns!

  17. Today the Bill (and Melinda) Gates Foundation awarded over a quarter of a billion dollars to help fund HIV research in hope of a vaccine.

    I think it's nice to hear about some good news with all the fighting, genocide, environment-killing, and censorship happening around the world. I find it ironic that on the same day the president vetoes a bill that would lead to some of the most important research of our generation (due to moral issues? How much will his morals matter when he's 73 and beginning to suffer from alzheimers), a man of higher moral standards is giving away huge chunks of his fortune to combat the world's most deadly epidemic. I am glad that the world's richest man also happens to recognize that one person only needs so much money, and that he is willing to donate it where it is needed most.

  18. Woops the web address didn't go in last time

  19. Emma-

    Instead of spending incredible amounts of money combating terrorism in NH, couldn't we spend it in more beneficial areas such as education and environmental protection. Personally, I would much rather see money spent on health care for the poor than on anti-terrorism stuff. Perhaps I'll bite my tongue when the local Irving is hit by a suicide bomber, but I guess that is just a risk I am willing to take.

  20. The link didn't work on my first post - my bad.

    Here it is

  21. Oh, this is cute. The EU is attempting to work together. They're trying to solve the problem of immigration. Sounds simple right.

  22. c man - while I do find it cute that the EU is trying to solve immigration, I feel that your post could be a little longer and more analytical.

  23. Continuation from above.
    There are many problems though with the thought of a unified front against illegal immigrants. The US simply trains border patrol members, while the EU has to raise a multinational force to combat the issue. Problems such as uniforms and regulations leave the EU in questioning what they should do. This multinational force will then be recognised by all EU members and should be given juridiction in these regions. Can the EU successfully work together?
    -King Charles V

  24. Kate,
    I understand why you would have those questions, I didn't really elaborate on my thoughts at the end of the blog. I would hesitate in saying the train bombings are simply an excuse because they were a serious event and I would understand why the Indian government would try and censure blogs with the intention of making it harder for terrorist to communicate with one another. Although, I would not rule out the possibility that the government is using this to their advantage as a way to prevent people from reading other peoples views around the world and interacting with them online. When people are empowered with knowledge or at the very least ideas, it can cause problems for the state.