I’m back! Sorry for being gone so long, really, it wasn’t my fault. I rarely say anything negative about Apple, but this time, they really screwed me. The hard drive of my two-year-old MacBook failed and thus I was rendered technologically impaired for a while. I still am, the Book will be returned to me, with a brand new 160GB HD on Monday. At least the new HD is free, but the old one is fried and all my shit is gone.
Anyway, this isn’t a tech blog or a blog where I complain about my own life so, let’s get back to it.
Of course, even when I’m not blogging, I’m keeping up with current affairs and international news as much as one can without a computer and with an iPhone. After a while, reading news on that tiny screen gives you a headache, but I really had no alternative so I powered through.
One of the big stories right now is the UN gathering in New York and the G-20 Summit in, of all places, Pittsburgh. I heard on NPRthis morning that Pittsburgians (?) are very excited to welcome leaders of all the nations, and are celebrating Oktoberfest a little early by sampling beers from about half of the 20 attending countries. Also, Moammar Gadhafi’s horrendously long, pointless, disorganized and disrespectful speech about how the Security Council has too much power of the other nations of the UN (which actually is a good point, he just didn’t say it too well) was a big story.
The ideas (more liberal and less insane) behind what Gadhafi said connect well with what Dr. Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, said at Ryerson last night. ‚ He spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history and the future, to a diverse audience. Diverse not only by race and culture, but age as well.
Dr. Cole spoke about citizenship and how his colleague, Margaret Somers, defines citizenship in her new book (a definition borrowed from former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren) as the “right to have rights.” We all have basic human rights, of course as guaranteed by universal declarations and the Lockean theory that everyone, as human beings, is entitled to the necessities of life and liberty. However, without a state or government or body to enforce these rights and protect them when they are violated, they are always out of reach.
Even in established nations, like Canada, some people have fewer rights than others, and therefore, as Dr. Cole put it, less citizenship. Aboriginals for example, cannot enjoy the same rights and protections from prejudice that others value. In the Jim Crow era, African-Americans were less valued as citizens, tricked out of voting by having to pass ridiculous literary exams, some of which required knowledge of Latin to pass, of all things.
Just as the peoples of some states are not, in reality, able to take advantage of some rights, so the members of the UN, those not on the Security Council, are not able to enjoy full membership.
The Security Council is necessary, but the power it has over other nations (vetoes and such) may be too much. There are more than five countries that could contribute to protecting the world, not just the U.S., China, Russia, France and the UK. There are ten elected non-permanent members; however they do not hold veto power.
More countries with strong economies and functioning democracies should be added to the council.
I, in no way, support Gadhafi and his psychotic behavior. But when dumbed down and explained properly, perhaps the SC could be a little more open to deserving nations, which, of course,‚ doesn’t include the Gadhafi-run Libya.