on amnesty international's current campaigns

a response to a posting about amnesty international's campaigns. (a rare foray into politics for me - on the blog that is. i'm obsessed with politics)

i didn't post this on the original posting for no other reason than that would seem too combative, and i really do think that better or worse, people can blog about whatever they feel like blogging about. i also get annoyed when people jump up and down on other people in comments sections. so while i swear to you up and down, left and right, that i'm not here to pick a fight, i didn't want to be perceived as being a comment attacker - i'm here to present a rebuttal.

first and foremost, AI is a not for profit, non-governmental international agency. it is not affiliated with a political slant, a specific government, or nature conservancy groups. it is not there to, nor does it, engage in state responses, military action, retribution for activities it sees as a wrong. it emerged from the united nations declaration of human rights and typically (though by no means exclusively) represents individuals and groups in third world countries, as there are neither the political stability, financial or political resources, or first-world tendencies to monitor the goings on and call for/enforce accountability. as an independent agency, it can do whatever it wants, support whomever it wants, and ai uses its resources to bring light and voice to situations and individuals who do not have the resources to do it themselves. as an international agency without government affiliations, it looks at more situations from more viewpoints than from the american viewpoint. what is highest priority for the u.s. government, isn't always first with ai. likewise, what's highest priority for the mongolian government isn't always first with ai.

by its nature, it is not designed to engage a response to terrorist activities.

on violence against women:

  • "You mean this is a greater human rights scandal than flying planes into buildings in New York? It’s greater than thousands of innocent citizens being maimed and killed by Jihadists? Now go hug a tree."
  • violence against women is a pervasive problem ranging from verbal and emotional abuse to physical abuse. in many countries women can be murdered at the will of their husbands or family members. genital mutilation, rape/sexual assault frequently results in the shunning of women because of their treatment at the hands of men. in numerous countries, women who are raped are shunned as "social lepers" since they are seen as unclean and undesireable for no other reason than they were sexually assaulted by someone else. women in poor countries are rampantly kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. this is an issue that has been pervasive for millenia. this has affected millions and millions and millions of women (the who site with hard statistical data isn't coming up - i'll try to get actual numbers later) for many years. it happens worldwide. is it a bigger human rights crisis than the terrorist attacks on 9/11? absolutely not - the rights of all humans who were affected by those attacks were violated. but that doesn't make it a lesser human rights crisis, either.

on arms control

  • "What these dribbling idiots fail to realize is that without weaponry it is impossible to fight terrorism! The Jihadist concept is simple: if you don’t believe what we believe, then you deserve to die. Logic and reason cannot combat this – weapons can. Now go save a whale."
  • i'm a BIG fan of disarmament. however, the issue at hand isn't the use of the arms by states to combat terrorism. the issue is the rampant, black-market trafficking of small arms and light weapons (salw), in central and eastern europe, in particular that goes toward the arming of organized crime and terrorism (al-qaeda doesn't trade arms with the US government, they get theirs by manufacturing smaller, less sophisticated ied's and even their own rpg's, anti-aircraft weapons, and by purchasing arms on the black market), and in our very own country, street and domestic violence, and vigilante justice. furthermore, these illegally manufactured and trafficked arms are frequently sold and used by individuals in highly unstable regions for "unrecognized" genocide and domestic violence. ultimately, i'd like to live in a world free of weapons (in our hands or theirs) but that's not realistic. however, clamping down on illegal arms trade is a step in the right direction.

on torture:

  • "This just blows me away. In this entire article there is no mention whatsoever to efforts to stop the torture inflicted upon citizens from around the globe at the hands of terrorists. Apparently, in the minds of these morons, a naked pig-pile of terrorists is more repugnant than the beheading of captured non-military contractors. Now go smoke a doobie."
  • earlier quote by me: "as an independent agency, it can do whatever it wants, support whomever it wants, and ai uses its resources to bring light and voice to situations and individuals who do not have the resources to do it themselves." the american media has the resources to bring the beheadings of hostages to light - and does. it gets a lot of crap for being leftist, which is true (except for FNC, of course), but it is as outraged and heartsick (i have no problems being a bleeding heart liberal) as the right by these murders. however (and this is the point where i tread carefully, because i don't want to get personal hate mail for stating this. but fear not, i hold the power to the almighty "delete comment forever" on this blog should someone foolishly descend into personal attacks), as delineated by the undhr, terrorists are humans and have human rights, can have their human rights violated. the thing about ai, is that neither the beheadings nor the abu ghraib situations were okay. for ai to say that one violation is okay and the other is not is hypocritical. just because we despise what terrorists do with their free will, this does not strip them of their humanity. and although it doesn't seem to hold water with many other countries lately, we're supposed to be the good guys. america isn't perfect, but it also doesn't exist in a vacuum of entitlement or exemption over other countries because we're bigger and richer and louder.

on the death penalty (hoo boy, stuff's about to get unpopular):

  • "This punishment is more cruel, inhuman and degrading than the sick bastards who rape and kill children? That’s all beside the point. This is number 4 on their list of campaigns, so you would think that it’s a pretty major problem. If you look at the facts, you might think otherwise: the number of death sentences has dropped by 50% since 1999. According to The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the 144 death sentences in 2003 is the lowest number in 30 years and continues to fall. Actual executions also continue to fall: 65 in 2003 to 59 in 2004. Now stop and look at those numbers again. These ignoramuses are using the term “right to life” to defend less than 70 criminals per year. Nowhere on their site do they defend the actual Right To Life movement which defends the rights of innocent babies to the tune of more than 680,000 in 2003. Now go make a Pro-Choice poster."
  • here's what i don't get. how come there are very few pro-death penalty, pro-choice people. or inversely, anti-death penalty, anti-abortion people? particularly the latter. because when you're anti-abortion, you're typically in the camp that life starts at conception and that life should be protected. unless you're convicted in criminal court, then you're expendable. the thing about capital punishment and abortion is you can't take them back. and because i'm not above it, isn't the correlation between the decrease in capital executions and bush's gubernatorial resignation glaringly obvious? also, this isn't number four on their list, because the list isn't ranked by priority - it's among their campaigns. this topic i need to move away from

on refugee rights:

  • "This one has me befuddled. Reading this article on their website is detrimental to your cognitive thought process. Perhaps the folks at Amnesty International are IDPs as well (Intuitively Deprived Persons). Now go save the rainforests."
  • okay, the snippet at the top of the page is a tad puerile. but that doesn't detract from the numbers of refugees, asylum seekers, and idps (fyi, internally displaced persons) who are being raped, tortured, murdered, kidnapped, held for ransom, etc. in numerous countries around the world.

i'm one of those freakish persons who is politically pretty moderate but with some significant left AND right leanings. the left ones are far stronger than the right, however, but that still leaves me frustrated when it's time to vote. i don't vote along party lines, i've voted for republicans, and strange little billionaires with giant ears, and i find the prevalence of the 2-party system that bickers just because they feel compelled to bicker across the aisle and frequently descend into personal or character attacks completely frustrating. but we can only do so much in a day. so we need to speak up, act out for what we personally feel is best, learn to compromise and live with compromise, and act like all around grown-ups.

having said that last part, please, please, please, do not disintegrate into personal attacks (i.e. "it's (blah blah blahs) like you" etc.), argumentative posts, or going over to the original site and personally attacking the poster who published this.

1 comments:

Thomas Wednesday, July 13, 2005 5:34:00 pm  

Heather, we should talk about politics through email sometime. I am at deckard1982@hotmail.com

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