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Archive for December, 2008

 

burma12A good article in the latest copy of Adbusters.  

My life has changed now. I am changing and am not what I was before, but I still consider myself revolutionary. I want a big change in my community. I want my people to gain freedom, self-determination and justice, respect for our human rights and life security. Armed struggle is not the only solution and I am ashamed for seeking revenge. I don’t mean that I hate armed struggle, for I understand that fighting is to protect our families, our children and our people and our territory. The most important thing is to have revolutionary thinking skills, to understand the root cause of the conflict and to build up a new vision for justice and a peaceful society.

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Covering

I spent a few hours in a bookstore this afternoon reading a book I couldn’t put down, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Hidden Rights.  The author’s lucid legal analysis, combined with his own struggle to engage in his own identity as a gay Asian-American man, makes for a very good read and offers some challenges for our jurisprudence and the common good.  The title of the book comes from the sociologist, Erving Goffman:

It is a fact that persons who are ready to admit possession of a stigma (in many cases because it is known about or immediately apparent) may nonetheless make a great effort to keep the stigma from looming large. . . . this process will be referred to as covering. (Goffman)

The author, Kenji Yoshino, is a law professor at Yale University, a Rhodes Scholar, poet, and a former English major.  According to one review:

In questioning the phenomenon of “covering,” a term used for the coerced hiding of crucial aspects of one’s self, Yoshino thrusts the reader into a battlefield of shifting gray areas. Yet, at every step, he anticipates the reader’s questions and rebuttals, answering them not only with acute reasoning, but with disarming humility. What emerges is an eloquent, poetic protest against the hidden prejudices embedded in American civil rights legislation—legislation that tacitly apologizes for “immutable” human difference from the white, male, straight norm, rather than defending one’s “right to say what one is.” Though Yoshino recognizes the law’s potential to further (and hinder) liberty’s cause, he admits that his “education in law has been an education in its limitations.” Hence, by way of his unsparing accounts of self-realization, he reveals that the struggle against oppression lies not solely in fighting an imagined, monolithic state but as much in intimate discourse with the mother, the father and the colleague who constitute that state. As healing as it is polemical, this book has tremendous potential as a touchstone in the struggle for universal human dignity.

According to the author, civil rights lawsuits should focus on individual rights, which unify all groups around common values. Instead of focusing on marginalized groups clamoring for special status, courts would ideally say that all people have a right to be who they want to be.  In a perilous age where the moral fundamentalist, the religious zealot, and the right-wing politician pedaling their cheap seats of “truth” and conniving to restrict access of civil and human rights, Kenji Yoshino offers an insightful and thought-provoking book on community values, individual dignity, and human rights.

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pinter

There are a few writers whose words haunt me, whose characters resonate with something inside of me and they never really leave the stage of my mind, and artists who write in the incandescent shades of those places we deceive ourselves into believing are only ordinary seasons.  I always remember the first time I turned the pages they wrote.  Some of them include Walt Whitman, Leo Tolstoy, Samuel Beckett, Alexander Dumas, Oscar Wilde, Walker Percy, Pirandello, and most definitely Harold Pinter.  I toast to you Mr. Pinter.  

Does reality essentially remain outside language, separate, obdurate, alien, not susceptible to description? Is an accurate and vital correspondence between what is and our perception of it impossible? Or is is that we are obliged to use language only in order to obscure and distort reality – to distort what happens-because we fear it? We are encouraged to be cowards. We can’t face the dead. But we must face the dead because they die in our name. We must pay attention to what is being done in our name. (Harold Pinter)

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Genocide

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Dancing

 

An inspiring video.  Make sure and select to watch it in high quality.

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Save Me

 

I am not sure I could find a better song to relate to how I feel about the Christian faith right now.  

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Thursday Quotes

There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.” (Machiavelli)

Life is an adventure of passion, risk, danger, laughter, beauty, love; a burning curiosity to go with the action to see what it is all about, to go search for a pattern of meaning, to burn one’s bridges because you’re never going to go back anyway, and to live to the end. (Saul Alinsky)

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