Today, a substantial list of countries are in the process of defining brand new constitutions or significantly revising existing ones. In the near future, several more countries may be added. Many are former Arab dictatorships turned democratic through more or less violent revolutions. Democracies, however, come in many flavors and one particularly bitter-sweet variant is the one where some elements of democracy are retained while others are not. Freedoms such as religious beliefs, speech and opinions, for example. Unfortunately, a majority of the countries busy writing up new constitutions, seem to gravitate towards just that form of “democracy”.
The question is: can democracy exist without basic human rights?
The UN is dysfunctional to the point of being counter productive. Anyone who takes an even cursory look at what goes on in the clubhouse of the UN knows that while the body officially stands on a “rock solid” base of democratic principles, universal human rights and peaceful co-existence between members, the reality is quite another. The list of members and signatories to fundamental UN charters presently counts more than 160. However, several dozen aren’t even trying to maintain any pretense of abiding to the promises they have so solemnly signed.
The UN was founded on the ashes of the League of Nations, itself built on the get-together called the Paris Peace Conference – a child of WW-I. Before that, the list of alliances to promote specific sets of ideas and values is as long as the toilet roll desired by many gastro stricken historians.
The question is: Are we ready to stand up for our version of democracy with its foundation of human rights and freedoms? At what point will the divergence of ideas and values within the UN make it untenable to renew our membership? How far must we venture into hypocrisy land and how severe an erosion of our values do we accept before enough is enough?
Who would like to co-sponsor the idea of a new body: “The United Democratic Nations”? (suggestions for a better name are welcome) Anyone can apply but unlike the UN of a previous century there will be no quasi automatic printing of membership cards. Read the rest …
On the official site for the 2012 Olympics in London you’ll find the final rankings according to athlete and by country – there is even a comparison gizmo to see two countries side by side. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will serve up information about all medalists since 1896 but are not so hot on rankings – especially not by country. Perhaps because such ranking turns out to be difficult to establish.
The ranking method that London and other venues have chosen is a simple “rank by gold medals”. With no regard for population size and a curious disregard for silver and bronze medals. Curious because the very spirit of the modern Olympics is about participating and “trying your hardest”. Shouldn’t participants who try so hard they reach second or third place count for something?
Taking silver and bronze into account by assigning three points for a gold medal, two points for a silver and just one point for bronze we get this: more …
Imagine you were clearing out some old boxes from the attic and came across a membership card to a club you vaguely remember your father signed up for. Being careful in this day and age with whom you associate (or even socialize), you decide to have a quick look to see what has become of that club. Hey – perhaps you could brag about it by sticking the logo up on your Facebook page. After all, the card carries a nice low membership number. There is heritage and foresight potential here (Thanks dad!).
Moments later your excitement is wiped out by a pang of adrenaline rushing into your blood stream: You are officially in bed with thugs, mass murderers, vocal terrorist supporters and other very slimy creatures. It’s right there on the club website. Your name is even listed not far from a guy charged with several counts of murder. Oh horror! What if someone found out and shot off a nasty tweet? Could it be denied? (not a chance!). Could you hide behind neglect (I forgot all about it and besides it was my father who signed me up…) – Oh man, what am I thinking? Dishonoring my father to avoid public disgrace? Get a grip!
With sweaty, trembling hands on the keyboard, you decide to get serious: Investigate, evaluate and act. And to get your breathing back under control. Who issued a membership card to these guys in the first place? And why haven’t they been thrown out? Should you cancel? Is it at all possible?
Well, let’s have a look (warning: The following contains graphic images and strong language not suited for all audiences. Parental guidance recommended). Read the rest …