war on human rights


Vigil for Aleppo: The Syrian government has closed in on the last sliver of rebel-held territory in Aleppo. Residents are trapped in the crossfire and are being slaughtered in the streets. Many took to the Internet to send out messages to the world expressing their final goodbyes. Activists gathered in Washington Square Park to stand with the people of Aleppo and demand their safe evacuation. 


I stand for human rights, and will continue to do so, regardless of who is president. 

I stand for human rights, and will continue to do so, regardless of who is president.


Shit people have forgotten about the Bush Era:
  • Free Speech Zones, which were a real thing and not a plot element in a particularly ham-handed dystopian novel.
  • The phrase “hidey hole.”
  • Watching a budget surplus become a massive deficit that was bigger than it even looked because the White House was just like, “Okay, we’ll just not put the wars on the books and just ask for more money for those every few months.”
  • The sheer number of times Alberto Gonzalez said, “I don’t recall,” to Congress regarding war crimes and human rights violations.
  • “…now watch this drive.”
  • Mission Accomplished.
  • “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence,” “yellowcake uranium,” Condoleeza’s “mushroom clouds” fearmongering, and all the other bullshit we were fed to get into Iraq.
  • The President of the United States said so many stupid things that there were one-a-day calendars consisting of an individual quote for each day of the year. They didn’t all have the exact same quotes.

Immediately after the Civil War ended, Southern states enacted “black codes” an early version of systemic, state-sponsored discrimination and racism meant to confine and control Black people who had just gained their freedom. Today, we continue to see the erosion of basic human rights and civil liberties of people of color and poor people through coded practices and policies.

This is going to put me on the other side of a lot of people on this site but as the son of a Cuban immigrant whose father remains actively involved trying to help the people of Cuba start their own businesses and join the 21st century (and has been detained for this by Castro’s secret police) - Fidel’s record is…checkered, at best, repressive for the people liberated by his ‘Revolution’ in more cynical terms, and tyrannical when viewed uncharitably, and that cannot be just chalked up to the effects of the embargo, as the left likes to do. Sure, he fought imperialism during the Cold War. He also oversaw decades of human rights abuses, a society that was not remotely egalitarian, and a country that in many ways remains frozen in time. In the 21st century, when Raul follows his brother, Cuba will be better off.

He frankly does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Nelson Mandela. He had Cuban Nelson Mandela’s jailed without fair trial.

Cuba might have enviable and free healthcare. It also has a chronic shortage of basic medicine - cough syrup, laxatives, pain killers - for its working classes in the capital city of Havana, which I visited in 2012. It was a remarkable experience in which I met many strong-willed and hardworking but underserved people. It was neither a socialist paradise nor a communist hellhole. But it was also a decaying city, lacking in public investment and afflicted by severe poverty.

Frankly, don’t assume you know better than those celebrating in Little Havana, a not inconsiderable number of whom know what it was like to live under his regime, and risked their lives to escape it.

I leave you with an insightful quote by Yoani Sanchez:

“The best thing that Fidel Castro left us is the lesson that we don’t want any more Fidel Castros in Cuba. The lesson is that a man like that ends up absorbing the whole nation, ends up seeing himself as the embodiment of the homeland, and ends up simply taking away our nationality. The lesson of Fidel Castro is no more Fidel Castros. Some people admire him, but they admire him for what they think he was, not for who he really was. Staying in power that long is no merit.”

In Which Obi-Wan Realizes That This Is Not A Dream

Ben Kenobi woke up.

It was still a novel sensation, even after three weeks. He had, perhaps naively, assumed that once he died, waking up would no longer be an option. It was a pleasure that he had not previously paid much attention to. He yawned contentedly, watching the first glimmers of the Coruscant sunrise light up his old room, and ran a hand through the old familiar spikes of the Padawan haircut. He pulled himself out of bed and silently went about getting ready for the day, smiling to himself at the sounds of Qui-Gon Jinn doing the same from the other side of their quarters.

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I photographed these two Yazidi children a few days ago in a refugee camp from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Thousands of people from their community have been killed in the last 3 years just because they were different.

While visiting countries affected by conflicts I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of intolerance and discrimination. They are horrific!

In some parts of the world people are persecuted or even killed just because they are different. Sometimes the victims are Yazidis, other times are Muslims, Christians or Atheists. And no, it’s not the religion. Because other times people are discriminated for their colour, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. It’s about the hate of some people, encouraged by their leaders, towards other people that are different. And tomorrow you could also be affected.

The human kind made a huge progress since the Second World War in terms of human rights but we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We should continue to make this world a better place although there are moments when everything seems lost.

The smile of this little girl gives me hope in humanity. As long as the love is on our side we are stronger.

So I went and saw Rogue One again. God is it such a great movie. I’m an emotional mess and will probably never recover. 

Seriously though, I wonder if people take away from the movie the same thing as I did, because both times I’ve seen it, the people I went with just saw it as a ‘cool star wars movie’. And while it is that, i feel like it has the potential to transcend that genre. It was a war movie, that’s how they marketed it, but it wasn’t just another war movie either. As a student of Conflict Studies and Human Rights this hit home. Quotes like ‘rebellions are built on hope’ and concepts such as ‘you don’t get to decide when you want to start to care about a cause’, are so important and relevant to the world today. Jyn’s character development, from someone basically saying if the Empire doesn’t effect me then I don’t care, to some one who fights and dies for the rebel cause is amazing. When she gives her speech to the Alliance council she speaks of not standing by and letting terror and evilness consume us and let us back down from a fight that isn’t just about the individual. Dying for the mere hope that their actions could save the rebellion is a message that inspires me. It inspires me to work hard in a world full of adversity. In a world that continues to beat people down and take everything they have. An evil that seems too powerful to ever overturn. 

It reminds me that even the smallest of actions can provide hope for a better future, and while some may see your actions as futile, every individual has an impact on the outcome in the fight for good. You have a choice to either keep your head down or take that chance; take that small hope and make ten men feel like a hundred. 

"Sometimes the Baby Dies, Sometimes the Mother": The US-Backed Saudi Destruction of Yemen
The health-care system is collapsing after nearly two years of war, and people are dying of easily treatable problems.
By https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009511926129

Surviving even birth is a struggle in Yemen. After nearly two years of war, thousands of children and adults have died from easily treatable diseases, illnesses and injuries as the health-care system collapses.

The situation is deteriorating quickly. Vital drugs, vaccines and medical equipment often cannot enter the country because of an air, sea and land blockade imposed by the coalition.


Dying to Be Heard: Reporting Syria’s War | نموت من أجل إسماع صوتنا: تغطية الحرب في سوريا — NYT (13/12/2016)

For the past five years, Hadi Abdullah, 29, has been reporting on the war in Syria and its devastating effects in rebel-held areas. This work has put him and his colleagues in the line of fire.

Fatou Bensouda (b. 1961) is a Gambian lawyer and international criminal law prosecutor. She has served as minister of justice in her native country, and has held the position of Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, uncovering war crimes and human rights violations.

She has received multiple awards for her work, most notably the International Jurists Award in 2009 and the World Peace Through Law Award in 2011. She is seen as one of the most influential people on the African continent today.