Thursday, May 7, 2009

The most disturbing story I've read in a while

This is not for the faint of heart or stomach.

I post this not because I have any clever solution or anything else, but because I think it's something that needs more publicity. France has a raging anti-Semitism problem that because of changing demographics and French legal precedent is almost certainly going to get worse, not better, unless France makes some serious changes in enforcement, punishment and education. I hope you'll all follow. (Which will be difficult, because against almost any precedent of human rights or common sense in the face of clear evidence, France closed the trial to the public and their police investigators still claim that the crimes were not motivated by religious hate.

Kyle, a friend of mine, constantly sends out headlines from CNN next to headlines from the BBC or Al Jazeera from that day to show that CNN ignores important stories to tell completely trivial ones. Today Kyle found out from CNN that the embattled Miss California is dating Michael Phelps. Kyle sent out an article from Al Jazeera that can't be found on CNN, in which Secretary Gates states that military aid to Egypt will not be made conditional on democracy or human rights (which then sparked a debate on whether that statement was a continuation of US policy ignoring human rights in favor of national defense or whether the statement could potentially have been made because stating otherwise may damage human rights more than it would help it.) I then found this article.

The state of our media is truly atrocious. It's not going to get better as news bureaus get shut down in favor of catchy multimedia (like blogs). The blogosphere tradition of "short and witty posts" makes things worse.

Blog commentary I fully agree with:

And it seems that the perpetrators of the crime were linked with Hamas. I find it absolutely stunning that the same people who get so upset about some of the things done at Guantanamo and favor prison for the soldiers believe that Hamas needs to be treated with the respect of state sovereignty in its dealings with Israel. Say what you like about the need to get the support of the populace of Gaza, but be consistent. Remember when you're opposing Israeli action against Gaza that the people of Gaza, in supporting Hamas, are like the people in America supporting Guantanamo, except they're supporting something much, much worse. You can't be critical of the Americans and not of the Gazans, as a large number of my uber-liberal friends have been.

As a side note, I oppose torture, and I criticize both the people in America who support Guantanamo and the people in Gaza who support Hamas. I don't particularly want to see anyone imprisoned or killed, but if Gaza is bombing Israel and Israel can't stop it by peaceful means because terrorists don't negotiate easily, I believe Israel is fully justified in treating the state as an anarchy and the "government" as criminals. This seems like quite a plausible outcome to me. Similarly, if we cannot stop future torture by any means other than imprisoning soldiers (I have trouble buying this one), then yes, the soldiers should be imprisoned, because they did commit crimes.

And yes, this edit is a direct response to a number of claims by some of the most educated people I know incorporating bizarrely poor logical analysis of ethical responsibilities and individual agency of members of a country's populace. I suppose this has to do with the fact that Americans are "us" and it's a lot easier to say "they should know this" than it is to say that someone of another culture "should know" the same things about human rights. I don't buy it.

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