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Archive for the ‘UDHR’ Category

The Hypocrisy of USonian fear of ‘Nudity’

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 29, 2010


I am an artist. I use my personal experience in my art. Some times that means using images of ‘nudity’. As in this image:

Beneath The Skin

It’s a composite of a portrait of me and a strongly demurred and obscured nude female torso – it depicts a piece of my personal history –

A Trans Man’s Transsexuality 101

I am being told that I have to remove this image from a Social Community Site because it contains ‘nudity’.

I live in Europe. In Europe ‘nudity’ is being considered in context – i.e the question of what is the purpose of the ‘nudity’ is taken into consideration before it’s deemed ‘inappropriate’ for public consumption. In the US any depiction of nudity, regardless of context or intention, is seen as pornographic, lewd, indecent and therefore immoral. Even if it’s clearly artistic or educational.

The USonians, influenced by Fundamentalist Xian Imperialism and values dating back to the Puritan Immigrants’ values of the 17th century, are so afraid that their children will become promiscuous and sexually depraved by seeing normal human anatomy and physical reality, that they actually demand that the entire world be censored to conform to their fears.

At the same time the US is the country that ‘gave’ the world MTV – where there is a lot more ‘nudity’, and sexually explicit images being cabled out than in the image I am being told to remove. The US is also the single Western country where sex education in schools are ‘forbidden’ – yet where teen pregnancies are such a huge problem, because of this single fact.

Smell the hypocrisy, my friends!

Compare my artwork to this artist’s work – Jody Scheisser – who is doing ‘fine artistic photography’ depicting nudity in a far more ‘explicit’ manner than I have ever published. Or compare to some of the most praised classical artists, such as Agnolo Bronzino’s Venus, Cupide and the Time (Allegory of Lust) – and this we ALL call fine art, and wouldn’t censor, wouldn’t deem ‘immoral’ or ‘inappropriate’ – even if we might not like it or think appropriate for prepubescent children to watch. Yet my single piece of art is deemed ‘inappropriate’ and judged as nudity, although one can hardly discern the forms or the details of the ‘nude female torso’! And that in a site that says that:

“The Ning Platform is not directed to children younger than 13 and is offered only to users 13 years of age or older.” (From the Ning TOS)

So the censoring of my art, by Ning (through the Gaia Community), is an extension of the hypocrisy of USonian society, based on the values of Fundamentalist and Puritan values of a small group of 17th century immigrants seeking freedom from oppression – a freedom they would now, through their 21st century descendants, deny me – despite my art being in no way offensive or sexually explicit in comparison to both classical and modern artists’ work.

When I attempted  to post this entry to the Gaia Network, I found that the image above had been removed by the Gaia Ning Team without any response to either personal messages about this or comments in a thread designated for the matter of ‘nudity’ in images, I see no other recourse than to delete any all my art from the Gaia Network, and leave the Network entirely, including all groups.

I can only assume that this was the Gaia Team’s intention from the onset of this sad affair.

Posted in Censorship | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

On the Matter of Human Rights and the UDHR

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on February 25, 2009


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As I have traveled the various on line discussion groups, forum sites and mailing lists in the last ten years, I have come across some interesting, to say the least, ideas about human rights, what they are, who has them, who has them not and most curious, how they are obtained and retained.

People from all walks of life have expressed their views on these ‘issues’, and it seems that a majority of people do not grasp even the basics of what exactly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) means. It seems, people think that some people do not have any human rights, or are not entitled to some human rights and that some things are human rights that are not. All of it based on their own personal prejudices and preferences, often ruled by religious dogma or political agendas.

I have found people to be abhorrently uneducated, willfully ignorant and deliberately obtuse when faced with these thirty simple principles for human conduct, human society and human interaction.

It is all quite simple. Human rights are not earned, nor can they be forfeited or lost. They are not bestowed and they cannot be revoked. Every human being has them from the day they were born until the day they die, without exception.

“Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

This indisputable fact notwithstanding; people in civilized countries will not only claim that it is not true, they will actively work to violate the human rights of people they deem unworthy. People like prisoners, former criminals, children, women, GLBT people and foreigners. These people are thought to have some status ailment that disqualifies them in the eyes of the people who will abuse their human rights. Yet, article 2 of the UDHR clearly says that no single, real (or imagined), status may be used to deny anyone their entitlement to all the rights in the UDHR which are the birth-right of every human being.
In the US, prisoners and former convicts do not have the “right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives” because they may not vote (article 21). Those same prisoners are also subjected “to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (article 5) when they are required by American law to inform potential employers of their crime and their conviction. This requirement frequently lead to them having their “right to social security and realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of personality” violated, because they are rejected by employers and cannot earn a decent living (article 22 and 23) due to their criminal past.
Many criminals and former criminals are “subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”, and “attacks upon his honor and reputation” (article 12) when their names, location and crimes are made public in the press and on the Internet, either as part of news stories or as listings that take on the likeness of witch-hunts. These witch-hunts are clearly intended as an incitement to violation of these people’s human rights and often lead to former criminals being physically attacked, some times resulting in their death. Article 12 explicitly says that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”, yet the lists on the Internet and news stories, which are known to incite people to perpetrate such attacks are legal in the US. All because in the US some people are not considered human beings.

Women and children do not seem to be considered human beings either. Women are consistently paid less than men, a violation of their right to equal pay for equal work (article 23). Women and children are routinely subjected to attacks upon their honour and reputation (article 12), when, in sexual abuse/rape cases, they are questioned about their sexual practices, morality and or drinking habits; it is implied that they invited sexual attention, all as a matter of routine in such cases. Lawyers are routinely allowed such degrading and cruel lines of questioning and argumentation by the court system and the judges. Such lines of questioning and argumentation are also violations of article 12 which stipulates that everyone has the right to protection by the law against such attacks.

GLBT people are also routinely subjected to violations of their human rights, not only when they are harassed and attacked by the general public (article 7), but also in the very legislation of the US, which refuse give them the right to marry (article 16). The UDHR doesn’t specify that men may only marry women or that women may only marry men. It specifies that men and women of full age may marry. Not a word about marriage being between a man and a women. The UDHR specifies the family as a fundamental group unit in Society that is entitled to protection by society and the State. The UDHR doesn’t define ‘family’. This means that siblings may not be separated and f.i placed in different foster homes – society and the State must protect the “family group unit” of those siblings and make sure that they are placed together, no matter how young or old they are. Not to do so is a violation of their human rights.

Millions of people in civilized countries have their human rights to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (article 25), violated, even in national legislation when minimum wage is not  set sufficiently high to provide a safe and secure standard of living, health care and unemployment  payment are dependent on previous savings or insurance payments. This is especially grievous when it strikes children. Article 25 especially specifies that all children shall enjoy the same social protection, and still they don’t, not even in the richest countries of the world, such as the US. Not all children have a home, a family, and safe place they can call their own, nor do alll children have the same protection before the law. Children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families are rarely tried as adults or have to serve time in detention centers, simply because of who their parents are, how much money or education their families have. In fact, children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families rarely see their parents go to jail, not because their parents don’t commit crimes, but because their parents aren’t either found out or are aquitted in court due to what is considered their social standing. This is a violation of their human rights. Being held accountable, being considered responsible for one’s actions are actually human rights too, and every time people are not held accountable or seen as responsible for their actions in accordance with their mental, intellectual and spiritual faculties, their human rights are being violated.

The UDHR doesn’t only protect human rights, it also protects human responsibilities, (article 1). With each of the thirty principles of Rights of the UDHR comes an equal principle of Responsibility to make sure that the right stated is given to each one of the human race.

This is another indisputable fact, which to many is not self-evident. I have found that many people seem to be very adamant about their rights to all sorts of things, especially in the area of the right to freedom of expression (article 19), even to a point where they actually promote violation of this right when it comes to others. I.e they claim the right to say anything at any time in any place they like, but are at the same time claiming that others do not have this right. if what others say either does not agree with them or point out that what they say is hurtful, demeaning and  abusive. Apart from being highly hypocritical it is also wrong, according to the UDHR.

They have no problem incarcerating people  based on a mere suspicion that they might belong to groups of people they have dehumanized, but if people from that dehumanized group should treat them or their friends similarly, they start screaming about rights they denied their alleged adversaries five minutes earlier.

They don’t mind subjecting people they consider lesser than themselves to cruel and inhuman treatment, like water boarding, but if those “lesser” people decapitates some of their friends on national TV, they scream bloody murder.

The fine things about the UDHR is that it’s for all people, regardless of who happens to be popular any given week. The UDHR guarantee that any violations of human rights are the same regardless of who perpetrates them and regardless of who is the victim of such violations.

None of the rights enumerated in the UDHR may be used to violate any of the rights enumerated in the UDHR (article 30). This is the guarantee that we are all responsible as well as imbued with rights the same as everyone else’s.

My safeguarding another’s rights means that in the end I am safeguarding my own rights.

Posted in Human Rights Activists/Martyrs, UDHR | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UDHR article 16

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 4, 2008


About two years ago a gay man came into Human Rights Network and pleaded with the general public to extend the right to marry to GLBT people. He cited UDHR article 16:

Men and women of full age have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

Full text of Article 16

He then ventured into a refutation of the notion some have that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman – unfortunately he failed to use the most basic of refutations, which was right there in how the article is worded, and I am afraid that he might have antagonized his audience slightly.

UDHR Article 16 does not specify what gender men and women of full age have the right to marry. And that is the point – the very moment you define marriage as anything but what is defined in the UDHR or try and legislate a definition of marriage, you are in violation of the UDHR.

Many people hold the notion that homosexuality is unnatural, but they fail to understand the most basic fact about “natural” and what it is – “natural” is what comes natural to us – for gay people heterosexuality is not “natural”, homosexuality is. For straight people homosexuality is not “natural”, heterosexuality is. Because our sexuality is not a choice, it’s part of our make-up as humans, something we are born with.

Article 16 in the UDHR is not the only Human Rights Article that supports GLBT rights to equal marriage rights – Articles 12 and 22 do too:

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to
attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Marriage as a legal contract between two people, in most civilized societies, includes economic, social and legal rights, privileges and obligations that are part of the basic human rights enumerated in the UDHR. Unless we want to claim that Gays and Lesbians are not human or are not part of the “Everyone”, we have to grant them equal rights, also when it comes to marriage, including the right to call their union “marriage”.

The wonderful thing about human rights is that I don’t have to agree that all are entitled to them, I only have to extend them to all.

Analogy: I am against abortion – I truly think that it is something that should be avoided – but I also recognize that others feel and think differently, and that I really do not have a right to make choices for others. Therefore it is my human obligation to make sure that abortion is a legal and available option.

Same thing with same-sex-marriages – people may feel that marriage is something that should be only between a man and a woman – but as they have no right to restrict other peoples’ options and possibilities, it is their human obligation to make sure that same-sex marriage is a legal and available option, so that Gays and Lesbians are guaranteed the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for their dignity and the free development of their personalities.

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UDHR Article 16 | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

America in a Nutshell

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 7, 2008


“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

I read this and I see just how accurate a description of the US it is. Especially after 9/11 2001.

It has been denounced by the Republicans and Neo-Cons as not true. All kinds of attempts to prove that this assertion is false have been made – and they have all failed. This is a very accurate description of what goes on in the US, and the violations of civil rights that the American People is being subjected to by its Government.

Political events after 9/11 2001 that are described above which have taken place in the US:

The War on Terror, specifically on Muslim/Arab/Islamist Terror, about which President George W. Bush said:

Any government that supports, protects or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.

Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

Our enemies are a radical network of terrorists — and every government that supports them.

Hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure.

Iraq is no diversion. It is a place where civilization is taking a decisive stand against chaos and terror, we must not waver.

On September 11 2001, America felt its vulnerability even to threats that gather on the other side of the Earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat from any source that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.

Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war.

The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States – and war is what they got.

Note that the terrorists are being connected with two Islamic countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – thus very clearly establishing that the terrorists he is speaking of are Muslims. This has also been evidenced by the US lack of action throughout history against terrorism that has not been carried out by Islamists.

America’s war on terror is fundamentally a war on Islam and on Muslims.

The Leader of the US has clearly stated who is the Enemy that is attacking the US.

The Patriot Act – especially created to monitor and disrupt any dissension with the Governmental Ideology in regards to the War, and in any given case label and silence such dissension as unpatriotic.

George W Bush on the matter of Patriotism and War:

Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.

We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.

I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office and foreign policy matters with war on my mind.

There is no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland.

I don’t give a goddamn. I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. … Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!

That last quote is from the “White House cabinet meeting to discuss the renewal of the Patriot Act, in response to GOP leaders presenting a valid case that the Patriot Act undermined the Constitution. Doug Thompson, Capital Hill Blue, Dec 5, 2005”

Yes – The President of the USA regards the Constitution – i.e the safeguard of Human and Civil Rights for all citizens of the US – a piece of paper that he can dismiss as so much garbage. He basically replaced the Constitution with the Patriot Act.

Public Libraries in the US are required to turn over their records to the Homeland Security so the HS can see who has borrowed what from the library. The only way the libraries can get around this, and thus protect the constitutional rights of Americans to read and take part in any information they wish, is by destroying their customer records…

NGO Charities or individuals that transfer money to predominantly Islamic countries or organizations as humanitarian aid frequently have their assets frozen, also if they are not living in the US. All it takes is the mere suspicion that the money might, perhaps, maybe be passing through an area that the US consider “terrorist territory”. No proof is needed.

Any protests against current US policies, even wearing a T-shirt with anti-war slogans can end you in Police custody without any questions asked.

American Citizens who immigrated from any country where Islam exists are routinely being monitored and put under surveillance, simply because there might be a connection to Islam and thus to terrorism. Police Officers routinely mistreat individuals who “look Muslim” or have an Arabic name.

If the US Government wants to know what you wrote in your email or said on your phone – they can just simply spy on you without any real reason or a court order based in the probability that you are committing a crime.

Yes, the initial quote is a very accurate description of the US. Who said it?

Herman Goering.

Posted in Censorship, George W Bush, Human Rights, Human Rights Violations, US, US Politics | 1 Comment »

UDHR under Attack Part 5

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 28, 2008


“if we start haggling with human rights we end up in a society where the only one having any human rights is the one who has deprived everybody else of theirs.”

The Sri Lankan delegate explained clearly his reasons for supporting the amendment:
“.. if we regulate certain things ‘minimally’ we may be able to prevent them from being enacted violently on the streets of our towns and cities.”

 

In other words: Don’t exercise your right to freedom of expression because your opponents may become violent. For the first time in the 60 year history of UN Human Rights bodies, a fundamental human right has been limited simply because of the possible violent reaction by the enemies of human rights.

The violence we have seen played out in reaction to the Danish cartoons is thus excused by the Council – it was the cartoonists whose freedom of expression needed to be regulated. And Theo van Gogh can be deemed responsible for his own death.

 

Freedom of expression is that right which – uniquely – enables us to expose, communicate and condemn abuse of all our other rights. Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press we give the green light to tyranny and make it impossible to expose corruption, incompetence, injustice and oppression.

This move by the Countries of the OIC is very effectively making dictatorship, Fascism, state-sponsored terrorism and genocide not only acceptable but PROTECTED by the Human Rights Council.

In space no-one can hear you scream…

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

UDHR under Attack part 4

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


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Yesterday’s attack by the Islamists, led by Pakistan, had the subtlety of a thin-bladed knife slipped silently under the ribs of the Human Rights Council. At first reading the amendment to the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression might seem reasonable. It requires the Special Rapporteur:
“To report on instances in which the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination …” (My emphasis.)

“might seem reasonable…” But why would it seem reasonable?

Because, contrary to what many believe, there are actual limits on Freedom of Speech – or rather, there is a general consensus, that if you say certain things there may be legal repercussions, because certain things might be hateful or incite to hatred, and that in turn is a violation of the UDHR articles

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Article 14.
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

While those articles can primarily be said to deal with how a Government may or may not treat its citizens – they are also clear indications of what we, as a Society, consider to be comme il faut between citizens.

While the amendment to the “job-description” of the Special Rapporteur seems reasonable enough, it isn’t, because it requires the Special Rapporteur to regard as non-violations those violations that may be committed by nations against their own citizens. As Ketutar said in a comment to my entry yesterday:

“… still violations of human rights, but CRITICISING and PROTESTING against violations of human rights have become violation of human rights…

I.e – Criticizing one’s own government where that government tries to infringe on Civil Liberties has become “illegal” – exactly what Freedom of Speech an Freedom of Expression was once instituted to safe-guard – the People’s right to criticize its Government without risk of reprisals.

The consequences of this “amendment” to the UDHR article 19 are far-reaching. Not only does it make it impossible for citizens in religiously rigid societies, such as many Islamic Countries ruled by Sharia Laws, to voice their discontent with their Government. It also makes it possible for said countries to arrest, restrain, expel, gag any Human Rights Organizations that wish to monitor or investigate human rights violations in OIC countries, with impunity – this would include the UN and the Human Rights Council itself.

Freedom of Speech is the back-bone of any democracy, and where Freedom of Speech is restricted in regards to critical analysis of one’s government, there can be no democracy. The OIC has clearly told the world that they disagree with democratic principles and democratic government.

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

UDHR under Attack Part 3

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


patriot_act_ii_900087

There has been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the UN system. For over a decade the Islamic States have been flexing their muscles. Yesterday they struck. There can no longer be any pretense that the Human Rights Council can defend human rights. The moral leadership of the UN system has moved from the States who created the UN in the aftermath of the Second World War, committed to the concepts of equality, individual freedom and the rule of law, to the Islamic States, whose allegiance is to a narrow, medieval world view defined exclusively in terms of man’s duties towards Allah, and to their fellow-travelers, the States who see their future economic and political interests as being best served by their alliances with the Islamic States.

I am not sure the shift is seismic – I think it’s a pretty predictable shift. Since the Nations that formed the UN and the the UDHR in the wake of WWII have abdicated from whatever moral high ground they might have had, by accepting and enforcing all sorts of restrictive laws that too are in and of themselves violations of the UDHR. Legislation like the Patriot Act and other “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the US and her allies in the “war on Terror”. Laws and Legislation that are specifically targeting Arabs and Muslims, as sure as the Nuremberg Laws were targeting the Jews.

It is not surprising then that when given a chance, the OIC will step in and do the same. Really. The leadership has not moved, it was abandoned way back, and the OIC picked it up.

It doesn’t make this stunt pulled by the OIC ok, moral or defensible in anyway, but it sure explains why there might be the misunderstanding that violating Human Rights is an ok thing to do.

If the West clearly says that it’s ok to violate Human Rights when Arabs and Muslims are involved, then how could the West possibly point at the OIC and say: “No, no, – we we the only ones who may torture, maim, kill and persecute your citizens…” and expect them to accept this?

Reverend Wright said one very true thing in the wake of 9/11 2001: “America’s chickens have come home to roost”. From the point of view of the OIC this macht übernahme in the Human Rights Council is just another chicken hatching.

End of Part 3

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

UDHR under attack Part 2

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 22, 2008


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Three years later Annan’s dream lies shattered, and the Human Rights Council stands exposed as incapable of fulfilling its central role: the promotion and protection of human rights. The Council died yesterday in Geneva, and with it the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 60th anniversary we were actually celebrating this year.

That is what you get when you consider something as important as Human Rights to be a matter of politics. It reminds me of how the USONA manipulated, rail roaded and blackmailed the world into believing their lies about Iraq. Today we know that there were no WMDs, today we know that there were no Iraqi ties to Al-Qaeda. Hans Blix of the IAEA were right.

Where’s the connection? – in its underhandedness. Muslims are being portrayed as the ones that are being persecuted through malicious lies about the Qu’ran and Islam, and therefore non-Muslim assertions, opinions and replies to the Qu’ran must be labeled “abuse of Freedom of speech”. That’s not saying that malicious lies about the Qu’ran are not being circulated, but the likeness to the Coup the US pulled over Iraq is till there, as there was nothing to say that individual Iraqis had connections to Al-Qaeda

While I certainly understand the pain and frustration one experiences when one’s Holy Books are being misinterpreted – just ask any Jews how many lies about Torah and Talmud are out there being disseminated to a larger public who have little to no knowledge of what Torah or Talmud is – using the UDHR to stop people from reading and understanding as they will is unethical at best, immoral at worst.

Then, when one digs a little deeper, and realizes that the OIC is not at all concerned with the persecution of Muslims via malicious readings of the Qu’ran, they might not like those readings, but they accept it as part of being in this world – they are concerned with not having the right to jail, kill, abuse and persecute their own citizens. Citizens who object to Qu’ran based legislation. By inserting this amendment the nations of OIC have made it impossible for the Human Rights Council, and in extension the UN to demand that they honor the UDHR and all it’s articles. The nations of the OIC can continue to stone women, hang gays, marry children, mutilate and maim people over misdemeanors etc, and do so without it being a violation of human rights.

It’s ingenious in its evilness.

End Part 2

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

UDHR under Attack Part 1

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 21, 2008


International Humanist and Ethical Union carried an article on March 30, 2008.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“With the support of their allies including China, Russia and Cuba (none well-known for their defence of human rights) the Islamic States succeeded in forcing through an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression that has turned the entire concept on its head. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will now be required to report on the “abuse” of this most cherished freedom by anyone who, for example, dares speak out against Sharia laws that require women to be stoned to death for adultery or young men to be hanged for being gay, or against the marriage of girls as young as nine, as in Iran.”

The entire idea is silly, because Religious Freedom and Protection of honor and reputation is already guaranteed by the UDHR (articles 12 and 19), so it seems the OIC is somehow overshooting.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan saw the writing on the wall three years ago when he spoke of the old Commission on Human Rights having “become too selective and too political in its work”. Piecemeal reform would not be enough. The old system needed to be swept away and replaced by something better. The Human Rights Council was supposed to be that new start, a Council whose members genuinely supported, and were prepared to defend, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet since its inception in June 2006, the Human Rights Council has failed to condemn the most egregious examples of human rights abuse in the Sudan, Byelorussia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and elsewhere, whilst repeatedly condemning Israel and Israel alone.

Considering that we have 22 Arab Nations, a bunch of Islamic Nations, and Russia, Cuba, China involved as well as the usual abstentions one might be allowed some skepticism. If the old Commission didn’t work because of WHO are the members and the incessant politicking around who votes for because another votes against, one can hardly expect a Council to make much head way, if the same members are allowed to influence the work.

It’s like the debacle with the UN Resolutions – they will always be slanted against Israel, because there will always be 22 votes against her, plus the allies of those 22 votes…and the allies of those allies…

The whole idea of nations being members of UN Bodies is ridiculous, especially in Bodies that should have no political agenda at all, such as the Human Rights Council. Human Rights, Children’s Rights etc are non-political, so the people in UN who deal with those Rights should not be political either – i.e members of the Human Rights Council should not be nations and they should be separated from their Nationality when they assume their duties on the Council. They should also be required to swear that they will maintain their neutrality for the duration of their service on the Council. Any amendments to the various UN Charters and Declarations should be made by those neutral council members and not be voted on out-side the Council.

End Part 1

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Anglo-European Standards rule our World 3

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 20, 2008


Anglo-American Flag

“…you are obviously very intelligent and well educated and so if you side-step my point or expand the realm of an example into areas it wasn’t meant to encompass, I’m going to assume it’s deliberate. Fair enough?”

You are obviously intelligent as well… so what about remembering that there are several different ways of understanding your words and my take on them is one of them.

If I am pointing out that there’s a variant interpretation of your words, or taking your point and running with it in a direction you did not foresee, it’s because that’s what I see through your words or your points. Not some “now I am going to distort the meaning of D’s points here, and side-step and expand on his example…” Nothing deliberate, nothing sinister, nothing malignant. Just my understanding of what you have written.

I understand your first post to mean “OIC is not to be blamed for anything, because everything is USA’s and especially Bush’s government’s fault and we can’t point fingers at OIC before we are perfect ourselves, besides as OIC is a bunch of religious fanatics living in tents 800 years ago, it’s understandable and excusable what they are doing. We (USA, UK, Australia) on the other hand are NOT such barbarians but civilized and exemplary bringers of peace, freedom, democracy etc. etc. so it’s shocking that these Beacons, Saviors, Liberators have fallen and become monsters…”

Arguing for the sake of argument I take to mean launching into an offensive position and getting personal, which is what you have done. You are basically attacking me without any friendly discussion, which I consider to be a damn shame. Your “hot air” opening is your words not mine, nor was it my meaning.

Now, you seem to think I have taken an offensive position and getting personal, which is not what I am doing. I am discussing YOUR WORDS, not your persona.

You have one take, I have another take. The only thing I have to go on in this discussion, D, is your words. In my world, if you say that you do not want to “argue for the sake of argument”, you are saying that you somehow see what I have said as “an argument for the sake of argument”, i.e that I am arguing only to argue, not that I really have anything to say.

“We all know that arguing for the sake of arguing is a pointless waste of time”. It seems that I am not alone in understanding “Arguing for the sake of argument” to mean “so much hot air”.

IF you had wanted to point out that you think I am getting personal, then there would have been far better ways of communicating this. You could for instance have just said, “I think you are getting personal…” You didn’t. Don’t assume that your understanding is the only one possible.

The next point: I could sum it up as “since the Bush administration, things have not gotten worse. There has been no global shift to the right. It is as it always has been.” Have I got it right? I introduced “corporate” because I believe that corporations and their lawyers are largely responsible.

No, you haven’t got it right. I got that you think that “corporations and their lawyers are largely responsible” for what you see as a shift to the right. I disagree with this, hence my point about the CCC being as old as human civilization and perhaps actually a intrinsic part of human civilization and it not being a trend that just popped up with the Bush Administration. Your perspective is short, my perspective is longer (without any value on either) -I am viewing into the past for the reason you seem to the present. I think your making corporate lawyers responsible and me claiming that it’s older than that, is like viewing an ice-berg – beneath the surface (corporate lawyers) is a lump of ice (human civilization) 100 times bigger than the tip sticking up over the water.

While I agree that this shift to the right has been ongoing for many years as a gradual process and only in this century is it coming home to roost in my town whereby the rights we believed we had are being flushed down the toilet. Still, the audacity of our leaders to no longer heed the electorate with comments like “So?” is a marked difference and so appears as a trend.

Note that I am not arguing with your assertion about the state of things, I am just extending the perspective – reading the present in the light of the past, as any good historian would tell you to do.

Or, are you saying that there has been no change at all? I certainly understand this point given world history. I can imagine some guy in Africa who has watched civil war and genocide ravaging his homeland for the last 30 odd years and not noticed any recent difference. I certainly makes for a good topic of conversation but it just wasn’t the topic I raised.

No, I am not saying that there has been no change at all – I see the change, however I don’t think it’s really as marked as you do. I see the same imperialistic, corporate, capitalist and conservative attitudes operate in today’s US and the World as operated in the Roman Empire, The Babylonian Empire, Egyptian Empire or the Ottoman Empire. To me the Bush Admin is just the latest addition to Imperialistic Regimes ravaging the World. I also see where the Bush Administration’s attitude comes from – from an Anglo-American adaptation of the Anglo-European mind-set. 30 years ago, the US would not have managed to make military allies out half of Europe and Australia to go chase down insignificant illegal combatants all over the globe or launch an invasion on a country on the mere suspicion that they might have certain military capacities. The US made an attack on the US into a Global Issue, partly through interesting little lies, partly through coercion and partly through blatant bullying and threats. This [9/11] could have happened under whatever American President you want – pick one – anyone – however, only now could the USONA have succeeded in getting World support for their cause. Why? Because only the Bush Administration would have used all means necessary to get that support, including the immoral ones. Now do you see that rather than disagreeing with you on the basic point of your assertions about the US, I actually agree – I am just extending the perspective on where it comes from.

The only thing I disagree with you about is the Worldwide scale and importance of it. To me it’s just another Country on my Human Rights Black-list, nothing else.

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t irrelevant but how it came to be, while fascinating, was not a negation of what I said even though you presented it as such.

But it [my analysis of the role of the DoI] is a negation. It is also very much relevant, because it [the DoI] is the very foundation of the idea as the US as “the holder of the torch of liberty and the defender of democracy”.

I used the Declaration of Independence to explain where the idea of “the holder of the torch of liberty and the defender of democracy” comes from – if you look at your first post, you will see that you do not question if the USONA is “the holder of the torch of liberty and the defender of democracy” – i.e you represent as if you actually agree that it is – I disagreed with the idea that the USONA would be “the holder of the torch of liberty and the defender of democracy”, and then referred to the history of the Declaration of Independence to put the actions of the US into a historical perspective.

I’m well aware of the hypocrisy of the USA – its history is a series of wars and atrocities that revolve around land acquisition. However, my point was quite simple: the USA, regardless of where they got it launched on a grand experiment to put the ideas and philosophies of the time into law to try to create a non-classed-based democracy that would lead the way for humanity. I did not say they had succeeded.

You didn’t say that they hadn’t succeeded either. In fact the point was represented in a way that could very well be understood as if you thought that they HAD succeeded, and now the Bush Administration is tearing it all down, which was the foundation for my assertion that “U.S.O.N.A. isn’t “the holder of the torch of liberty and the defender of democracy” either, and if I know my history correctly, it never was.”

However, since they have taken up the baton, taking every opportunity to tell the world how they are the “home of the brave, land of the free, and the bringers of democracy” I chose to ignore their obvious failures and allow them to claim just intentions. In so doing I am justified in demanding that they live up to their boasts.

Justified perhaps, but it is questionable if it’s wise, at least without some sort of indication that you are ignoring what you yourself seem to give such importance. It sort of becomes a contradiction within a contradiction, to make a big affair of the Human Rights Violations of the USONA, and then expect people to understand that you are actually choosing to ignore those violations only so you can hold them accountable.

Nevertheless, regardless of where we lay the blame, or what our historical perspectives may be, the fact remains that the UDHR are is under attack.

The point I tried to make already in my second post here was that if we do not expect that everyone respects the Freedom of Speech as put forward in UDHR article 19, we cannot expect anyone to respect it.

If we start making excuses for the OIC, because we think their anger is righteous and justified (which I do), condemning the USONA without any consideration to their historical, social and political reasons, is nothing but hypocritical and another of those Anglo-European attitudes that feeds the anger of OIC.

I put considerable effort into a reply that has disappeared after posting.

I am sorry Cyberspace ate your post. If it’s any consolation, I have my posts eaten by gremlins frequently, which is why I have gotten into the habit of writing all my posts in NotePad or EditPad and copy and paste – that way if gremlins get hungry, I have back-ups.

The crux of it was to outline how I have been maligned in this thread. One example, I recall was SOB’s statement:

Again, I am not assuming. It’s there in your own words. I am not saying that you INTEND it to be. I don’t think you do. It doesn’t change the fact that by saying:

“even if we disagree that a man who sees women as chattel may live in a nice home but his consciousness is 800 years old and still in a tent.”

in a context of Islam, and this thread is that, it becomes derogatory of and insulting to Islam, because you do not clarify what kind of Islam you are referring to.”

Obviously, I’m referring to ANYONE who sees women as chattel and later extend this to anyone who burns people for heresy. To say that I don’t clarify what kind of Islam I’m referring to is more than deliberately misleading, it’s dishonest. I do not propose that SOB sees my comments as insulting to Islam because he believes that all Muslims treat women as chattel because that would be equally underhanded.

The thing is, D that it isn’t obvious that you are referring to ANYONE – what you say in your first post, which I take to be a response to the article ABOUT the OIC’s attack on the UDHR, becomes a statement WITHIN the context of a discussion about Islam, and more specific an Islamic attack on the UDHR. There is no “ANYONE” here. I would also like to turn your attention to what you said in the post one day ago:

“Without moral credibility, how can our criticisms of the OIC be interpreted as anything but an attack on Islam and result in a world far worse than it is right now.”

You were fully aware that this thread was addressing the OIC, and you even admitted that any criticism of it would be interpreted as criticism of Islam. So your “I’m referring to ANYONE who sees women as chattel and later extend this to anyone who burns people for heresy.” falls flat as a defense or assertion that referring to the OIC as “people living in tents and 800 years in the past” is not an attack or insult of Islam.

Have you ever wondered why “our” women aren’t seen as chattel? My wife said that if she was your wife and thought that you saw her as having a nomadic, medieval woman’s mind set, she’d had YOUR hide, not mine…

It is not because of Islamic culture (as if there was one homogenous such), Islam, Arabic culture, Semitic culture, Nomadic culture or what ever, that there are men within those cultures who see the female part of their people as things to be owned… it’s because feminism hasn’t had a reason to exist in some parts of the world. In Europe men have spent most of their adult lives trading, hunting, exploring and warring, and left their women at home to take care of things. Not so in most parts of the world.

African women look down on Euro-USonian feminists trying to bring their words, values and attitudes to the “undeveloped” countries, because they HAVE words, values and attitudes that could be used, but the Euro-USonian feminists are so convinced of their own superiority that they don’t even THINK there MIGHT BE something DIFFERENT but just as valuable.

I am not thinking in short terms, nor am I thinking of the World as tiny, isolated pieces, but one big organism. Nations are like beings, “growing up” just as every human is individual and work on different characteristics of their personalities, have different priorities, and so on and so forth, Nations function similarly.

Saying that men who see women as things are living in tents 800 years ago is ignoring every other aspect of their lives. Besides WHO lived in tents 800 years ago? Not most Europeans, Africans, Asians nor Muslims… Nomads did. Nomads like the Sapmi people in the North of Scandinavia, some Native Americans, Bedouins… You are obviously not speaking of Native Americans nor Sapmis, Mongols or any other Nomads, so you must be referring to Bedouins… Or did I misunderstand you? *sardonic*

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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