Those reactionaries within our own society who are pushing the Clash of Civilizations are mirror-images of the terrorists that inspire their hyperbolic fear; they’re just as xenophobic, just as irrational and, ultimately, are just as great a threat to our security. Both have to be challenged aggressively before they give birth to another, even bloodier generation of culture warriors.
This latest spasm of bloodletting seems like a perfect example. Radical Cleric Terry Jones burns some Qu’rans in an intentional provocation, extremists in Afghanistan kill some people, which ultimately emboldens people like Terry Jones, and so on. A vicious cycle, with the vast majority of people in the middle.
But over at the must-read UN Dispatch, Una Moore, an international development professional based in Afghanistan, says that there’s a lot more going on with this attack:
Many aspects of the Libyan situation remain unclear: the scope of the mandate given to UN member states by Security Council Resolution 1973, the broader aims of the intervention, how many civilians have been killed and by whom, and who the rebels represent. One thing, however, seems clear: the international intervention is considered to be legal. International lawyers have agreed with the UK government’s advice that Security Council Resolution 1973 ‘provides a clear and unequivocal legal basis for the deployment of UK forces and military assets to achieve the resolution’s objectives’. Legal experts have been quick to suggest that Resolution 1973 gives authority for any action thought necessary not only to protect civilians, but to protect areas inhabited by civilians.
If today’s Western leadership is really ready, in the words of William Hague, to support the people of the Middle East in their ‘aspirations for a better future’, it will need to do more than use international law to target its enemies while protecting its friends. In rejecting their authoritarian leaders, the current wave of Arab revolutionaries is also rejecting the international system that has profited from their existence. As the US declares yet again that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists while bombs rain down on Libya, as protesters continue to be killed in Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and as the numbers of people detained continue to grow, the idea that Nato is working to support the freedom fighters of this Arab spring rings increasingly hollow. The bombing of Libya in the name of revolution may be legal, but the international law that authorises such action has surely lost its claim to be universal.
New features could make a Web tool that has helped track events in Japan and the Middle East even more useful.
Monday, March 28, 2011, By David Talbot
MIT Technology Review
EXTRACT: The new feature is known as “check-in,” also used by social sites like Foursquare—in that case as a way of alerting friends to your presence at a particular location.
For Ushahidi, this is “a pretty powerful step forward,” says Ethan Zuckerman, a board member of the nonprofit, and a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. “Adding check-in to this equation allows me to pull my data apart from the whole. That makes maps usable for multiple purposes—group reporting as well as tracking of my own movements.”
Enabling such tracking simply requires a GPS-equipped phone to allow a quick log-in to record whereabouts