A drop in the ocean

UN classifies rape as a ‘war tactic’

Huzzah! It’s a step in the right direction. I don’t even know how many petitions and letters over the past… well over a year, I’ve signed to get that passed.

A difference in perspective: on our way home from dinner, I was driving so we were listening to NPR, and the announcer was highlighting various news stories. After one about gas prices and the current state of the U.S. economy, my mom said, “Well that’s annoying.” Meanwhile, I was inwardly seething that the present administration, which has so verbally committed itself to the promotion of democracy, seemed to be doing little to promote democracy in Zimbabwe, when Mugabe is clearly going against the democratic process by vowing that the opposition would not win the run-off, charging the opposition with treason, and already announcing that there would be “war” if the opposition did win. I held my tongue, for a variety of reasons. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

My copy of Utopia by Thomas More has a sunflower on it. I took it out to read a quote from it to Brittn and now it’s on my desk. I want to reread it… Such a good book.

2 thoughts on “A drop in the ocean

  1. Joel says:

    But how does one go about promoting democracy in a foreign nation that is autonomous without forcing it upon them? What’s the solution? A military invasion? International pressure? NGO’s? Yes, the US could be doing more, but what? I don’t think America wants another Iraq. It’s the one thing that I agree that America is the best of the best at: destroying everybody else by brute force. So, the question remains: how do we encourage democracy without forcing it?


  2. Chera says:

    The question does remain. I definitely was not saying that the U.S. should invade Zimbabwe: good gracious no. We should not be the police force of the world; we have no right to be. The article I had read that day (I tried to find it again, but since this topic is constantly changing, the BBC morphed it into something else so I couldn’t find the quote I wanted) mentioned different sanctions that other countries are doing, the UN trying to get election monitors in there, etc. and then from the U.S. all it had was a quote from Condoleeza Rice saying something like “If the MDC pull out of the election then it isn’t really a democratic election.” I was frustrated at how painfully obvious that statement was. Not democratic–no really?

    What also frustrates me is how all the talk about promoting and defending democracy is just that: talk. The administrators saying those things make decisions to go into countries where they don’t particularly want democracy, but have it imposed on them anyway. Meanwhile, countries that are trying to have democracies (the people of Burma and Zimbabwe come to mind), don’t seem to be getting much support from our country. While we shouldn’t be swooping in to anyone’s rescue militarily, I am increasingly disenchanted with Bush’s administration using “democracy” as a way to sanitize the bad decisions they’ve made, as an excuse to go in and stay in the first place, when his motives must surely be something else because there are plenty of other places that better qualify for his rhetoric than the places we have been to. I could at least give him grudging respect if his actions were where his mouth was, because at least he would seem to be sincere, but that isn’t the case.

    As for our ability to actually be good spokespersons and defenders of democracy and the current campaign–well, that’ll be saved for another day.

    How do we encourage democracy without forcing it? I don’t know exactly, but I do know that the key factor that determines if a democracy will work is education: government by the people is a recipe for disaster if the people voting don’t know the issues. A good democracy isn’t one run by the mob, it’s run by citizens. And we have to look at history: democratic systems developed over centuries as more and more people became educated. The more people know, the more they care, the more they’re able to make informed decisions about the things they care about, which will usually (one would hope) include their government.


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