August 2009 Blog Posts (123)

Social Trust

Social trust is a human necessity if one doesn’t want to live completely isolated and alone. Social trust can be created within a household, a group, a community, a city, a state or province, a nation or perhaps even the world. It is the sense of togetherness, the norm of cooperation between individuals that allows them to work together in their lives. It is reciprocity and exchange.

Our personal levels of social trust may vary, based on our experiences of the world. The world we… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:52pm — No Comments

My thoughts on anarchy.

Anarchy. I have heard this term thrown around a lot, especially by the “revolutionary” types here in North America. Brought out significantly in modern pop culture through the punk scene, anarchism can be witnessed in symbology throughout our society. Interestingly, anarchy has been labelled as being almost synomous with popular culture in its disruption and envelopment of every day life of those in societies.

I often wonder what people think anarchy really means. I wonder if the… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:51pm — No Comments

A different kind of human right violation.

Environmental issues are often left out of many human rights discussions to focus on more direct abuses. This is an overwhelmingly important topic to human rights, so why is it so often shrugged off? Why do people not see environmental abuses as violations against their human rights? Why are they not more angry at the amount of toxins and pollutions they are subjected to through their daily living practices?

The area where I live (Kitchener-Waterloo region) is reported to have some… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:51pm — No Comments


Depending on how involved you are in world affairs, you may or may not have heard about what’s currently going on in Madagascar. Unfortunately, the news has been pretty lax in covering this African island nation’s recent coup d’etat and political uprisings.

Since March 21st of this year, thirty-four year old former mayor, leftist politician and television station owner Andry Rajoelina has been sworn in as president of the Malagasy government (government of Madagascar). Rajoelina came… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:50pm — No Comments

International Intervention without Cultural Specificity: The Problems of Aid and Intervention to Russian Health Care

Distributing international aid can prove to be a problematic process if background situations and local considerations are not thoroughly regarded. International intervention within the post-socialist Russian health care system was fraught with difficulties stemming from misconceptions, flawed perceptions and a lack of coordination between locals, international NGO workers and the state. The legacy of the socialist period cast itself on the future of development assistance, as public prejudices… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:49pm — No Comments

An End to Foreign Rule and Other Ideologies of the Taliban Movement

“I start in the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate…” –voice of an anonymous Taliban fighter (Smith, 2008).

This quote seemed the most fitting way to start understanding the mind of a Taliban fighter since it was echoed at the start of almost every filmed Taliban interview and video. The image of the Taliban as a hard-line, ultra-fanatical religious movement has often cast individual Taliban fighters as uneducated, brainwashed religious nuts who are innately violent and… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:49pm — No Comments

The “kindness” of the International Financial Institutions.

“Working for a World Free of Poverty”- The World Bank

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 185 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”- The International Monetary Fund

The world is so lucky to have such caring institutions as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. If you… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:48pm — No Comments

The number of mass violent atrocities since WWII.

Let’s count them up. How long would the list be?

I started thinking about it, and decided to compile the list so that I could see it altogether. It is a rather long list (and entirely incomplete), with millions upon millions dead from violence. Many of these death tolls are rough guesstimates, since incomplete censuses and investigations are commonplace in many of these atrocities.

In 1945, a huge bomb with extensive destructive power was dropped over Japan, spreading… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:47pm — No Comments

Where to go from here…

I’ve been incredibly frustrated with the computer industry’s response to my inquiries. I have hit a wall in my research, with little place left to go at this level. I have talked to the people at the companies who are responsible for dealing with human rights inquiries and they have all told me all the information they are willing to give. Their information has left me with many further questions and inquiries into how they are planning to change the problem in the future, and waiting on them… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:47pm — No Comments

What are conflict resources?

Most have probably heard of or seen the movie “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This movie is about conflict resources, specifically diamonds. The movie traces the path of a man who is embroiled in conflict, forced to be a diamond mining slave and his struggle to find his kidnapped son. Conflict resources, however, extend far beyond just diamonds. They include tin, copper, cobalt, coltan, gold, all the vast mined metals and minerals, and even things like timber. The profits from these… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:46pm — No Comments

Conflict block.

I’ve been having almost a writer’s block the last couple of weeks. It seems there is only so much conflict a person can read about before their eyes do not want to work anymore. I have also been dealing with some health issues as of late, which has left my mind wandering away from conflict and focusing on my own health. Sadly, the health issues have conflicted with my ethical pursuits.

Reading and writing about mass conflict has been a large part of my life for many years now, but… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:45pm — No Comments

Yarrr! What’s the deal with Somali pirates?

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has cost the international community as much as $30 million dollars so far this year alone and has once again become an international priority of the moment for many world governments. The term “pirate” itself, is a debatable one, as many so-called “pirates” prefer to call themselves as “coastguards”, and see themselves as protecting their waters from international bodies who are dumping waste or are illegally fishing their livelihood away. Others see them as… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:44pm — No Comments

Why can’t we all just get along?

So often when I talk to people about war or peace I hear the same lines that seem to be ingrained into people’s minds. One outlook usually goes something like this:

“Ya, well, it’s human nature to war. We will never have peace.”

There are variations on this, but it is usually themed around the thought that there is something inherently violent within humans that makes us incapable of living a peaceful existence with each other.

Now I don’t think that some… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:44pm — No Comments

Who cries for the three-year old rape victim?

A three year old girl died this week after being brutally raped by a rebel fighter in the DR Congo. Somehow, the last 7 words in that sentence seem to make the rest disappear. A three-year old rape victim dying in North America would be the cover of every news story in the country. A massive campaign would be launched to prevent it from happening in the future and a thorough investigation into how it happened in the first place would be ordered. The public would have no less. They would take… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:43pm — No Comments

Economic Growth and the ever-increasing GDPs

Economic development and growth is basically the prime goal of every nation on the planet. Billions and billions of dollars are been spent annually on economic growth projects worldwide.

In some development circles, there is a thought that if the economy is doing well– the lives of those living in the economy will be better. This is often referred to as the “trickle-down effect”. That prosperity will trickle down to those less fortunate.

Unfortunately, this is not a… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:43pm — No Comments

Where did the conflict begin?

Lately, a friend and I have been discussing the economic factors of conflict. How does the economy precipitate conflict, and (how) can altering economic factors reduce the fighting? Does economic growth play a role in conflict, and what role does it play?

These are answers that I am neither fully prepared nor educated to give; not that they could even be started to be answered entirely in one tiny blog post… but bear with me.

One thought that came out of the discussion… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:42pm — No Comments

Descending into madness. Time for change in the DRC.

Ok, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is perhaps not descending into madness. It has already been there for quite some time. Violence there is out of control right now, and things are getting worse not better. Talks of peace are hollow and full of corruption. The international community seems to ignore the problem entirely, instead hoping they can use the corruption to their advanatage to get rights to resources or political support, resisting spending enough money or providing enough… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:41pm — No Comments

Why I hate the term “development”.

We throw around many terms in educational circles and spend a great deal of time discussing their value and the implications of their usage and sometimes it seems like a completely frivolous venture. One term that has never sat right with me is that of “development”. Here in North America, we talk endlessly about the “developed” world and the contrasting “developing” world and how to set up humanitarian projects to bring about positive democratic development in those least developed countries.… Continue

Added by Rebecca Sargent on August 13, 2009 at 2:40pm — No Comments

Burma after Aung San Suu Kyi's Trial

Anything To Keep Aung San Suu Kyi Out of Burma’s Electoral Process

Rene Wadlow*

The Myanmar military dictatorship currently speaks of “Myanmar’s Road to Democracy.” This is not unlike the earlier slogan of General Ne Win and his Burma Socialist Programme Party’s “Burmese Road to Socialism.” That Road led a relatively prosperous, rice-exporting country to one that is on the UN’s list of the 50 most underdeveloped countries and a net rice importer. The most recent sign post of… Continue

Added by Rene Wadlow on August 12, 2009 at 1:27pm — No Comments

Interactive Training Program: How to bring local leaders together - Adding value to my role in conflict management

How to bring local leaders together

Adding value to my role in conflict management

Interactive Training Program

Berlin, Germany

12 – 16 October 2009

Registration deadline: 24 September 2009

What it is about

Many of us have different skills in conflict analysis, problem-solving negotiations, and intercommunity mediation. At the same time we often struggle with bringing all these skills together and to… Continue

Added by Christoph Lüttmann on August 12, 2009 at 8:49am — 2 Comments

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