Sunday, October 08, 2006

Since we can not know all that there is to be known about everything, we ought to know a little about everything (B.Pascal)

Instead of typing this post, I really should be reading about the role of the brain stem in controlling REM sleep periodicty and wakefulness, but at the moment I think I'm appalled at the sheer level of hate and what seems to be ignorance to be abound.

I have a lot of respect for people who voice their unpopular opinions among others. It takes a lot of courage and a safe environment to do so, and not be told that they are wrong. I mean, who is to say what is absolute right and absolute wrong?

However much I respect different opinions, I have a slight problem with ignorance and lack of human compassion. Good friends of mine are of a (political) conservative nature, which is absolutely and perfectly fine, until it goes to the point of being outlandishly offensive to human life.

"Terrorism" is not new. Seriously. If anyone bothers to pick up a history textbook of any kind, you will see that this so called terrorism is not a new invention by any means. Every movement or struggle for freedom has been seen as an act of terror by some person, government or country for thousands of years. The U.S struggle for freedom from the British had its own acts of terrorism. Do you think the Sons of Liberty weren't deemed a terrorist group? The Boston Tea Pary, all the violent acts of rebellion for the Townsend Acts, the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Quartering Act, the Coerervice Acts, etc. didn't look like terrorist acts?

And of course, acts of agression deemed as terrorism have been seen all over the world. The Filipinos used guerilla tactics to achieve independence from Spain back in the 1880s, India did it with the British in the 1940s, hell it even happened during the American Civil War. These are the examples that first come to mind due to what I'm studying, but there are COUNTLESS others.

And so the question becomes, how do you combat this problem? One recent suggestion I've heard is to eradicate the all the countries that might have individuals (ie. Muslims) involved. This suggestion also insinuated that the loved ones of these people in these terrorist nations would not be missed because eradicating them would be the right thing to do to protect the rest of the world (?). That to me sounds like a complete lack of human compassion and genocide. I don't think killing people off in the millions is the solution to any sort of problem.

I think the U.S government, along with decades upon decades of racism against Muslims, has finally settled into the minds of people as a given truth. Pope Benedict recently used a quote from Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus:
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
Its comments such as these, which I find to be sheer propaganda in this day and age. The historical context of the Pope's comments are completely sound (comprehensive explanation) but in such a volatile sitauation than the world is in now, why would you even use such remarks? I find comments like that to be used for cemmenting an even greater schism between the religions, and find that it will only lead to further hate. As the Pope, a spiritual leader and guide to many people, this was a completely thoughtless act. Public figures have a certain responsiblity that comes with their exalted standing in society, I just wish some of them would recognize that.

Like the old saying goes, with great power, comes great responsiblity.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?

It's been an incredibly long time since I have posted to this blog, and for that I'm truly sorry. It is because once I was away from a laptop, it became difficult to spend time on a shared computer and post. And upon returning to campus, time became even less available, which it still is, but scarificing sleep most of the time allows me to do this.

But enough of the rambling excuses but on to more important bits of information. So a little bit about campus, which is still rife with issues and stupid people. The election year is now really underway. For those in Michigan, the last day to register to vote in Ann Arbor is October 10, so make sure to register. Facebook, which is a social networking site mainly for college students, because a significant piece of controversy a few weeks ago, making it to the pages of all college newspapers and even important enough to make it to the New York Times.

Facebook created a "news feed" and "mini feed" that allowed for you to monitor (actually keep track and read up about) the activities of your friends on the networking site. So you knew if John Doe wrote on Jane Doe's wall, or if Sarah said she was in a relationship, or Joe changed his picture. This caused an instantaneous uproar because college students across the country because they felt that their privacy was being invaded, along with the fact that it felt as if the news feed was "stalker-ish".

The massive outrage was quite remarkable for a generation of people who seem to have become very apathetic (at least as a whole). In about 24 hours, over 300,000 people joined the offical petition to have the news feed removed. New privacy controls were added but it seems like most people didn't change the settings anyway because they got used to the idea of being able to watch each other's moves like a hawk.

Regardless, its surprising how many walls are full of debates concerning abortion, the war in Iraq, Israel in Lebanon, Darfud and the other myriad of issues across the spectrum. However as someone who is active in the campus community and otherwise, I wonder where these people are. How can individuals be so involved on facebook in issues that other groups are trying to fight for? Is this just another form of passive activism? And how effective can this ever be? Its so easy to ignore an electronic message on posting wall somewhere on the Internet than a crowd of people at a protest.

Its suprising that Facebook, and other websites in the same vein, are more popular than the social/political/economic/cultural issues that are affecting us each day. We would rather hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable for making facebook for stalker-ish, but we won't take a stand on the gross violations of privacy that the U.S government commits thru the Patriot Act, and this new law to abolish habeas corpus for "enemy combatants"?

What is the world coming to? More specifically, what are young people coming to?