Category Archives: society

The rise of the tool by Jan Sand

Dictionary definitions of “tool” generally refer to some device used by humans to serve a purpose but recent investigations have shown that many creatures other than humans have found it useful to extend their physical abilities with various available implements. Nevertheless, humans excel above all other creatures in developing new ways to fabricate sophisticated objects to manipulate, not only their environment, but each other to create and control the complex of human society.

tools01_400Viewed as a greater generality than a specific object, a tool can also be a concept or an idea or some generally accepted social mechanism which is used to dominate human relationships. This extends the basic concept of the tool to a social continuum far greater than a mere object and becomes an object lesson in how the tool itself can overpower its creator and endanger the entire nature of society to the detriment of all life. The recent US presidential election clearly indicates how a social tool, the Electoral College, dominated its master, the democratic popular vote, to create a rather odd and quite frightening situation. The alternative candidate who exhibited an equal relish for demolishing planetary life with the exorbitant feral delight in extending the US dominance in a nuclear conflict with Russia did not seem much of an encouraging alternative. But more general human social tools such as money, the military-industrial complex, private property, and many more complex social relationships currently are in operation in ways not particularly favorable to this most peculiar species, the entirety of humanity or, to be more general, all other life on the planet.

To step somewhat aside from a strictly human viewpoint one can perhaps see the tool itself as a kind of independent creature utilizing the ingenuity of living creatures to evolutionize into an independent dynamic factor. This is not an original novel concept. It was explored in the novel “Looking Backward” published in 1888 by Edward Bellamy but it seems especially pertinent in looking over current advances.

There are several contemporary areas where this peculiar activity is becoming a dynamic invasive of and dangerous to human existence. They become strangely independent ideational ecologies with a life of their own, a jungle full of vicious conceptual monsters with frightful destructive capacities. The internet itself, considered originally as a gateway to the freedoms of availability of all sorts of wonderful human interactions has provided an incredibly rich field to distorted minds who make off regularly with huge robberies of funds never before possible and with wild distortions of information that result in frightful international and local catastrophes. One might take the opposite view that these were merely aware individuals open to new opportunities but these individuals can also be perceived oppositely as a constant field of human negative qualities available to the internet as an entity for opportunistic activity.

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Can Google conquer East Asia? by Jay Gutman

Here’s a hint. If your Korean, Chinese or Japanese boss asks you to come home and fix his washing machine, you better go to his house and fix it. So in China, Japan and Korea, you better have the kind of search engine that can direct you to an authoritative source with clear, simple, easy to follow, complete instructions on how to fix washing machines, because if you fail to fix your boss’s washing machine, chances are he’s either going to be abusive to you for at least a couple of months, or perhaps your boss is going to fire you.

goog01_400So here’s the trick. East Asians tend to make “encyclopedic” kind of use of the internet when Westerners tend to be more disorganized. Google in East Asia is considered speculative and disorganized, something East Asians specifically detest. If an East Asian asks you a question, he wants a clear, short, correct, direct answer. Not a speculative one, not something along the lines of “I think it would be possible that but I could be wrong.”

So first thing East Asian search engines do is categorizing every single webpage. It’s either a blog or a question and answer page or a forum or a newspaper article or a government page or a business page. Second of all, East Asians believe in “correct answers” and provide a deluge of “correct answers to questions” on their web pages. Third, East Asians don’t believe in wasting material, and keep a lot of their archives. Fourth, East Asians all tend to have similar names (you will find something like 5 or 10,000 Koreans called Lee Min Ho”) which make searches about individuals complicated, and most individuals have a “web name” they use in their email addresses and in forums.

Then there’s the fact in East Asia that some web pages can opt out of being found on search engines. A lot of companies or individual pages don’t want any trace on search engines. Then there’s the fact that in East Asia completely different software is used for webpages, a more secure kind of software, the kind that doesn’t even make your web page have a url.

Then there’s the fact that the government in East Asia participates on information sharing. If you look at a Chinese, Japanese or Korean map on the search engines, you will find every single business in every single street corner in the country, and every single business in the country will have its own page, and in some cases reviews. Since street names are not common in East Asia, and streets tend not to be parallel, a map is a must in East Asia, and tends to provide the names of every single neighboring business to make sure you find the address.

Then there’s the language factor. A Chinese character can have different pronunciations in China, Japan and Korea. That means you could be looking for a coffee shop called “Mi Ni” and end up with all kinds of search results ranging from people called Mi Ni to districts that have that name to barber shops or factories or supermarkets that have that name with those Chinese characters.

This is why East Asian search engines tend to break down the search engine for users, and why search engine pages are so crowded in East Asia. If you open a search engine page in East Asia you’ll find something like “if you’re looking for a business, click here” and “if your boss just made an unreasonable demand and you need to fix something of his, click here” and “if you’re feeling pain and need to speculate on the medical nature of your pain, click here.”

East Asian search engines tend to calculate the searches of the day, and provide nudges to what has been searched and what pages were searched for the day. On a cold day, many people might type “sore throat” and the East Asian search engine will suggest you links to pages on sore throats, while if one day a singer is found to be dating an actress and that’s what everyone is searching for, the search engine will provide links to articles on that event, without you having to ask. If it’s an extremely hot day and East Asian bosses are asking their subordinates to fix the air conditioner, “fixing an air conditioner: the step by step guide” will be suggested as a page. On February 15, the day after Valentine’s day, a suggested page might be “my girlfriend is giving me the silent treatment, what should I do to comfort her?” to which the answer should of course be “her girlfriends are all bragging about the gifts they received from their boyfriends, and she feels offended by your gift.”

Another thing that must be found on search engines is business phone numbers and addresses, and that’s how you call that restaurant to ask them if they can look for your wallet because you think you dropped it there, or can ask a business to scan and email you a copy of the receipt of what you paid for by credit card on any given date and time.

A final feature of East Asian search engines is nationalism. China wants Chinese pages only, and wants non-Chinese pages to be clearly stated as such. Japan wants Japanese pages only, Korea wants Korean pages only, Hong Kong and Taiwan wants local pages only and non-local pages to be clearly stated as such. You don’t want to look for Mi Ni cafe in central Taipei and end up with results for a dozen Mi Ni Cafes in Hong Kong or Shanghai.

That’s a lot of work cut out for Google, and you can wish them good luck.

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Nancy’s Trouble Makin’ Signs! by Leah Sellers

Linda Lou opened the Barn Door and slipped in to find her Friend, Nancy, painting Signs.
“Hey, Nancy ! What’cha’ paintin’ on those boards ?”

Nancy held up the white board she was working on. It read, “No Christians Allowed !”

“Nancy, what in the World ?! You are a Christian ! We go to the same Baptist Church ! You teach my little Sarah in your Sunday School Class ! Is this a Joke or what ?!”

“It’s no Joke, Linda Lou, but the Tricksters in our Texas Legislature are puttin’ out a Bill that has already passed through the Senate that claims that Anybody can Refuse Help to or Refuse to Hire or Refuse to Work for Anybody else based on their Religious Beliefs,” Nancy said firmly.

nancy01“Are you talking about the Folks who don’t want to Open their Doors of Business up to those Homosexuals, Bi-Sexuals or Transexuals. Whatever that is,” Linda Lou said a bit snidely. “You should be supporting that, Nancy. Those folks are livin’ in Sin !”

“Linda Lou, those folks are Born that way. It’s in their DNA or their Environment and other Factors may have brought them to it. But if they are not Promiscuous, and they truly Love the Person they have chosen to Be with. Then, in my Book, they are not Sinners. They are just Human Beings who want Regular Lives like EveryOne else. They want to fall in Love, and Marry, and build a Good Life together, and maybe even have kids to raise up to be Good and Loving Souls and Citizens just like EveryOne else.”

“Why should they be vilified and crucified for wanting to Obtain and Build what everyone else wants to Obtain and Build ? Why should they have all of their Equal Opportunities stripped from them just because they are considered to be Different, and so therefore a Lesser Being and Dis-posable ?”

“Linda Lou, Christ Teaches Us to Love Our Neighbors as Ourselves. He did not Teach Us to Fear and Hate Others just because they are Different. Christ Teaches Us that We are to Reach Out to Others, no matter how UnComfortable or Fearful we might Be, with God’s Abundant Love and Compassionate Actions.”

“If I embrace Being a Christian, how can I agree with Folks wanting to make Fear-based and Hateful Laws like this ?”

“Folks like these so-called Law Makers want to Criminalize Nature’s very own Biology. What they should really be Criminalizing is Promiscuity, because Careless Promiscuity is what brings on Dis-eases of the Mind, Heart, Soul and Body; not being Born or Shaped to Love a Man or a Woman. As far as I’m concerned Our Church, and Our Law Makers are focused on the wrong subject matter,” Nancy said definitively.

“Take Chester, for instance, he is our Good Friend, and he is a Good Soul. He goes to our Church and proclaims that he is a Christian, but Chester is a Homosexual. A Homosexual who wants what every other Heterosexual wants. He wants SomeOne to Love and Build a Good and Productive Life with, and to live with and in a State of Dignity and Opportunity.”

“Chester is not inherently Evil or Sinful just because he was Born to be a Different type of Sexual Being.”

“Chester is a Man of Good Character. He is a Loving and Generous Man. If he must be judged, he should be judged on his True Character; not his sexual biological make-up.”
Linda Lou was stunned. She had not expected this. “You’ve really given some Thought to this.”

“Yes, I have. My Church has forced me to. I don’t like the Fear and Hate I see pouring out of our Church’s Pulpit and into the Hearts and Minds of Our Church’s Members,” Nancy explained.

“Pastor Blowhard and President Blowharder are not Being Good Future Role Models. They are Fear and Hate Mongers. They are Dividers. They are Science Deniers. They are Knowledge and Wisdom Deniers,” Nancy continued.

“We All need to Join Hands in Common Ground Unity, and strive to get along and find what’s Good in One Another.”

“Well, I don’t know about the Holdin’ Hands part. Just look at what Folks are sayin’ about Joe Biden because he Touches people.”

“And that is ridiculous ! Joe Biden is a Good and Wise Leader. He is a Loving Human Being. He strives to be Christ-like. Joe Biden has known great pain in his Life through the Loss of his first wife and his children.”

“Joe Biden Knows the Healing qualities of a warm Hug, a playful or comforting Pat on the Back, a kiss of Blessing or Endearment on the top of a person’s head, a whispered Compliment or word of Encouragement into a doubtful Ear,” Nancy said emphatically.

“Pshaw ! Folks today are goin’ overboard on that. There’s a big difference between grabbin’ a woman’s pussy cat or pinchin’ her boobies just because a Selfish and Careless person feels they’re privileged enough to do so, and somebody else Hugging or Pecking someone on the Head or the Cheek to Bless or Reassure them through a moment in time.”

“In a world where a lot of Folks reach out and Touch SomeOne with a Machine. A zip and a zap of Energetic Impulses that stimulate the Brain and sometimes the Body, like when you see something that makes you Laugh Out Loud and gets your positive Endorphins to boppin’ around your innards, in a myriad of ways.”

“But don’t you give me a Supportive or friendly Hug or a Pat on the Back or a Kiss on the crown of my Head or I’ll ruin your Reputation ! I’ll spoil your chances to get a Job you’d be great at ! Pshaw ! Get back to the Real World, Folks !”

“Where and How will we All end up in a World where Humans think a Supportive Hug or a Kiss on the Head is absolutely Terrible, but it’s alright to vote in a President who gropes and mauls every woman he wants to ?”
Or how about all of these Corporations that want to put so many Drones into the Air that we Kill Off all of the Birds on our Planet and fill our Skies so full of Zippin’, Blippin’ Machines that Privacy goes completely to the wayside, and we drive OurSelves Crazy for a Profit ?!

“How does that Profiteth AnyOne at all ?! Hmmm, tell me how ?! Human Beings that don’t think Long Term, and just hedonistically Live In the here and now Only, are Humanity’s and the Earth’s own worst Enemies !”

“Lordy, Linda Lou, We All gotta’ Stop and Think instead of just chasin’ after the Bling and Ching of things !”

“We’re destroyin’ Our very own Home – Earth – for a Profit that in the long run will Profiteth us Nothing at All ! Zippo ! That’s what !” Nancy said forcefully.

“Nancy, why are you always talkin’ about Energies of this or that ? What in the world does that have to do with you painting Signs that say “No Christians Allowed”, and what does that other sign over there say ? The wording looks different.”

Nancy held up the Sign in question. It read, “No Whites Allowed !”

“Girl, you are asking for trouble,” Linda Lou said nervously.

“Yes, I am seeking to stir up some lively and long overdue Conversation about what it really means to be a Christian. And as for my always talkin’ about Energies, I do so because the World – the Cosmos is nothing but the Giving and Taking, the Creation and Destruction of Energies of all kinds, Linda Lou.”

“Heck, it takes Energy to make these Signs of Fear and Hate to Give Energy to Conversations of Energetic Conversion. The Conversion of Fear and Hate into Love and Courage, ’cause it takes far more Energetic Hard Work to strive for Love and Common Ground than it does to Give into the Destructive and Dark Energies of Fear and Hate.”

“Everything is all about Energy, and the Energies we Decide to – we Choose to put out into the World, and believe me, We will All make plenty of Mis-takes and Mis-steps along the way. But even when bearing the Consequences of such things, if you are a Christian, we are supposed to keep puttin’ out Love Energies, no matter what.”

“Energies of Grace, Compassionate Action, Empathy and Forgiveness are Love Energies, and each time we put them out, we BeCome Stronger and are Energetically Given even more Love Energies to fortify and magnify the Love Energies we were already Working with.”

“Now, sometimes, Love Energies can make us UnComfortable. Can make us Squirm with Dis-taste. But working through that Dis-comfort and Squirmy Energy also makes us Stronger and more Knowledgeable about the Energies moving around inside of OurSelves and inside of Others.”

“Take what I’m doin’ right here in the Barn that my Grandpa Built with his Brothers almost a hundred years ago, Energetically speakin’, that is,” Nancy said nostalgically.

“I do not want to Live in a World of Destructively Patterned Profit Making and Taking, and the Beating down of Others to make myself feel Better Than or Cleaner Than SomeOne else. I Fear It. I might even Hate that Reality. But I Choose to Peacefully Struggle against that Reality with what I Know to Be Love Energies.”

“Peaceful Confrontation of a Darkly Destructive Energetic Reality that exists or that is sliding into and Dis-rupting what already is or a more Enlightened and Loving Reality being struggled toward..”

“Yes, like it or not, you and I, Linda Lou, have BeCome a part of the Trumpian Tower of Babel. But we can Resist it with Love Energies that have a little Energetic Edge and Jolt to them like these little Signs I’m expending my Energies on to try and move the Fear and Hate Energies out and away from Our Church Home. Even though we have a knot-headed Pastor who spews Fear and Hate Energies out of his Mouth as soon as they enter that prejudiced and racist pea-brain of his.”

“The Immigrants running away from the murder and mayhem of their beleaguered Countries for our Borders are not Evil Criminals. They are frightened Souls looking for Peace, Stability and Positive Life Opportunities in America’s Land of Milk of Honey. Only to find soured Milk and Honey due to the Mis-guided and Cruel Mis-Management of the Trumpian Regime Machine and its Rabble Rousing, Lyin’ and Denyin’ Tower of Babbel.”

“Ha ! Lord forgive you, Nancy. Some would call you a Blasphemer.”

“Yep, they would, because they have bought into the Fear and Hate Reality Energies instead of Holding fast to Christ’s Love Energies or just plain old good Common Sense,” Nancy said earnestly.

“And lest we forget, Linda Lou. Christ was not a White Man. He was a Middle Eastern Jew. A Brown Man that some of the Folks in Our Church would have Excluded from Polite Society for being a Rebel Rousing, Nomadic Immigrant.”

“When Folks walk up to the Church Doors I want them to feel what Folks like Chester feel when Religious Freedom is used against them out of Fear and Hate, not Christ’s Love.”

“I want them to feel what the Black and Brown skinned folks felt, and in many ways still feel, when they saw Signs like this hanging up in Shop Windows in the past, Linda Lou, because We All need to Evolve Forward into a more Enlightened Future as Christ would have us do.”

“The Jews, the Romans, the Human Beings of Christ’s Time murdered Christ in Public because He was ahead of His Time. They were more Energetically invested in hanging onto their Power built upon and based within Fear, Hatred, Brutal Cruelties and Rivers of Blood than anything else. Especially more important to Them than a Rebel Rouser named Jesus Christ.”

“Christ was sent here to move Everyone forward into God’s Love and Wisdom, and those Folks existing within that kind of Power Structure’s Energies back then said, ’NO !” They labeled Christ a Criminal and Killed him by nailing Him to a Cross and bleeding Him out like some sort of Sacrificial Animal.”

“They had no idea that Christ would Rise Again to Save Us All from OurSelves, anyways. Christ Energies live on in His Divine Ideals passed down through the Ages; a template for Heaven on Earth, instead of waiting for Heaven knows what else when we leave Earth.”

“So, how can I support Fear-based and Hateful Laws, made in ignorance of Science and Facts and steeped in Fear and Hate to make Some Folks feel superior to and better than those Others who are Different from Them, when in Energetic Reality, They are not so very Different from one another at all.”

Christ teaches us to Love and Protect the weak, no matter how that weakness may be defined, or where it may be located, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

“Are you putting these Signs of yours on every Door of the Church ?”

“You bet I am. “No Christians Allowed and No Whites Allowed ! On every single Door. I want them to feel the initial Feeling of Hurt, Dis-belief and even Anger in a Person’s Gut and Heart when they are Rejected and Excluded from their Community.”

“And then what ?” Linda Lou asked.

“And then the Dis-cussions, good and bad, and everything in-between will begin. Folks will have to defend the indefensible in the Teachings of Christ. They will have a Moment of Stop and Think offered to them, and the rest is up to them and you and me, Linda Lou.”

“There is no gettin’ around it. No matter our SubConscious or Conscious Fears and Hatreds – as Christians, we are to Love and Reach out to One AnOther with Compassionate Action and Understanding. We are supposed to Work through our Fears and Hatreds and Walk the Path of Love. And that is not an easy Path. It is a dad-gummed difficult Path to struggle with and strive to stay on. But as Christians, we must do the Hard Work involved.”

“And Love does not make Laws that Lessen and Exclude Others from the Whole of Society and their possible Opportunities in Life in order for One Group or Tribe to feel better about their Chosen and written in Legal Stone Fear-based and Hateful Actions against them.”

“What time are you putting your Signs up, Nancy ?”

“Some time around midnight, when most folks in that neighborhood are sound asleep.”

“Well, alright then. I’m still not 100% about all that you’ve said, but you are right about Christ wantin’ us to Love Everybody, and, as corny as it sounds, to live in Peace and Harmony. So, I’ll call Hank and tell him that I’m helpin’ you with an important project of yours, and that I’ll be late gettin’ home tonight.”

“What does Pete have to say about what you’re doin’, Nancy ?”

“He doesn’t know about any of this, as of yet. But he will come Sunday morning,” Nancy said with a slight grin.

“What about the Kids ?”

“Linda Lou, they are so far ahead of our generation regarding foolishness like this Hateful Law. In fact, my Millie keeps tellin’ me that when she leaves Home, she’s gonna’ stop going to Church, because the Church is more interested in being Hateful to and Exclusive against Folks like Our Friend, Chester, and accepting the Cruel and Sinful Separation of Immigrant Parents from their Children who are just seeking a better Life for ThemSelves and their Children, than livin’ the Way Christ Taught us to.”

“Millie says that she can be Christ-like without Church and a Preacher tellin’ her to feel and do things one way when Christ taught us another.”

“Ooo-wee ! That little gal of yours has got some kind of spunk, Nancy. She takes after her Mama,” Linda Lou teased.

“Okay, where’s the paint ?” Linda Lou asked heartily. “Let’s get this show on the road, and get it done. And I must admit that I’m looking forward to seeing the expression on the Pastor’s face when he walks up to unlock the Front Doors of that Church he’s so proud of.”

Nancy chuckled, “From your lips to God’s Ears, Linda Lou . And every Ear and Heart in Our Congregation. Sometimes you just gotta’ do somethin’ a little Different to get Folks to Stop and Think.”

“Well, these Trouble Makin’ Signs should do the trick, I’m thinkin’,” Linda Lou agreed playfully.
Linda Lou held up her two quickly hand painted signs. They read, ‘No Christians Allowed !’ and ‘No Whites Allowed !’ “What do you think, Nancy ?”

Nancy nodded approvingly, and smiling said, “You always did have better handwriting than me, Linda Lou.”

“It is so other worldly to think that America’s White House has BeCome the abode of a Dangerous Divider. That it has been morphed into the Trumpian Tower of Babel with a President who spitefully, vindictively and maliciously Babbels and Blubbers on all sorts of deflecting and mis-directing topics each and every day. We are all being forced to Live within the Energies of a great, big ’ole Tower of Babel of Confusion and Dismay,” Nancy declared.

“Well, as Dylan crooned, ’The Times they are ’a Changin’”, Linda Lou said assuredly.

“You bet they are, Linda Lou, and these Signs are Signs of the Time at
Hand that need ’a Changin’ !” Nancy raised her Voice up into the rafters of her Grandpa‘s old Barn.


Check Leah Seller’s EBOOK
A Young Boy/Man’s Rage, and A Knife He Wanted to Be a Gun
You can download it for FREE HERE!
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Rocky Road to World Law: Need for a U.N.-led Conference on the Reaffirmation of Humanitarian Law by Rene Wadlow

World law, as world citizens use the term, is more than current international law. World law has as its base universally recognized international law but also the human rights declarations and standards, the oft-repeated declarations of the United Nations General Assembly as well as the international legal bodies such as the World Court and the International Criminal Court (ICC) The International Criminal Court is the most recent of the world courts, and its Rome States have not been ratified by all U.N. members, the United States being a significant holdout. 

Some States have withdrawn from the ICC and other States do not cooperate with it, such as the Sudan. The ICC can act only after the relevant national courts have acted or when national courts are unable to act (the case of some ‘failed States’) or when there is an unjustified unwillingness of national courts to act when crimes against humanity have been committed.

wc00The Association of World Citizens has repeatedly stressed that humanitarian law (international law in times of war, primarily the Geneva Conventions) are being systematically violated and that there should be a U.N.-led World Conference for the Re-affirmation of Humanitarian Law.

In the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, there have been repeated violations of humanitarian law by all sides: violations in the treatment of prisoners of war, violation of the prohibition of torture, prohibition of attacking medical facilities and medical personnel. The ICC has undertaken preliminary investigations to collect evidence. Among those who have violated humanitarian law are U.S. troops, and thus evidence should be collected.

Although most evidence could be collected within Afghanistan itself, it would be useful to interview persons who had served in Afghanistan but now have returned to the U.S.A. and to see written reports no longer stored in Afghanistan. Thus the ICC plans to send investigators to the U.S.A. to interview and collect documentation.

However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on 15 March 2019 that the U.S. will revoke or deny visas to ICC personnel investigating allegations of torture or other war crimes committed in the conflicts in Afghanistan. Pompeo also announced that the U.S. will consider imposing financial sanctions and restrictions on “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such ICC investigation”. He could have added imprisonment if we recall those who provided evidence of war crimes in Iraq.

Unfortunately Pompeo sends the wrong message to all other parties that torture, rape, attacks on medical facilities will not be tried. Pompeo helps to undermine further international humanitarian law.

law001_400We have to think back to 1947-1948 and the leadership of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt as chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to recall any U.S. leadership on world law. Unfortunately law has never been part of U.S. culture. The lone cowboy taking the law into his own hands by shooting it out on a dusty street seen in many films remains the U.S. ideal.

As mentioned, most of the necessary evidence can be found in Afghanistan itself. Bringing anyone from any party to trial for crimes in Afghanistan seems to me unlikely. Nevertheless, as world citizens, we need to keep the standards of world law in mind. These standards should be clear. Thus our repeated call for a U.N.-led conference on the re-affirmation of international humanitarian law.

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Rene Dumont (13 Mar 1904 – 18 Jun 2001): Focus of the Small-Scale Farmer and Social Justice by Rene Wadlow

Awareness building is often a long process. Thus recognition of the ideas of René Dumont has come nearly two decades after his death with the vote on 17 December 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in rural areas. René Dumont highlighted the importance of small-scale peasant farmers in the world’s food production.  Despite massive displacement of the peasantry toward cities, more than 70 percent of the world’s food is produced by small family-owned farms.

Rrene0002_400ené Dumont was an active world citizen and always stressed world citizenship in his justification for his studies of agriculture worldwide.    Although he was 30 years older than I and much better known through his scientific monographs on African agriculture and then his popular books on African rural development when we met there was always a feeling of togetherness in a battle for a better life for African farmers.

When Dumont died in June 2001 at the age of 97, he was remembered as the father of French political ecology, but he had no direct intellectual heirs.  His 1974 campaign for the French presidency was the first time Les Verts (The Greens) had entered politics at the national level.  Dumont was able to federate around his personality and his reputation as an agronomist specializing in African and Asian development a wide range of people who felt that the traditional French political parties were not dealing with the crucial questions of humanity’s future.  His energetic campaign and strong personality in television presentations created the groundwork on which Les Verts could build a political movement.  In France, all candidates for the presidency have equal time on government-owned television and are able to produce their own spots.

Dumont, with his red sweater and a glass of water to recall the dangers of water pollution, was a marked contrast with the more formal candidates.  Dumont received only one percent of the popular vote, but he put Les Verts on the political map and set out the issues which would continue.

Dumont was 70 when he ran for president and after the campaign remained more a “father figure” than an organizer in the structuring of the political ecology movement, done largely by a younger generation.  Dumont was not a “team player” and often expressed his views in a very direct way.  He was particularly direct in his dislike of autos and the need for higher gas prices — not popular themes among the French electorate.  He always stressed that the conditions in the Third World were intolerable and would lead to revolts.

For the rest of the article HERE!

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Robert Muller (11 March 1923 -20 Sept. 2010) The U.N. Networker by Rene Wadlow

Robert Muller, whose birth anniversary we mark on 11 March, devoted his life to the ideals of the United Nations, working both within the organization in which he became Assistant Secretary-General and in his talks and activities with many associations and conferences. As he wrote, his guideline was the pledge which all U.N. Secretariat members must sign when joining: “ I, Robert Muller, solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as an international civil servant of the United Nations, to discharge these functions and to regulate my conduct with the interests of the United Nations only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any government or other authority external to the organization.”

mulle001_400Muller joined the United Nations in 1948 with a doctorate in economics. Most of his U.N. work was related to socio-economic development in the States born with the end of Western European colonialism. As he wrote, “The human adventure on earth is taking world-wide proportions. We must be bracing ourselves for the staggering problems that lie ahead, and it is fortunate that we possess world-wide instruments at the precise moment of history and evolution when the human species enters its global age. Humanity is equipping itself slowly but surely with collective analytical tools, world-wide warning systems, and a network of feedbacks and monitoring. In other words – a kind of brain and nervous system… The United Nations has become a kind of incipient brain for the human species as a whole. It has taken stock of our planetary home and of our species, so that now we have a good inventory of our present as well as valuable appraisals of our potential futures… If something begins to go wrong on the global level, the United Nations can give a warning.”.  

Robert Muller was particularly active in the preparation and follow up of a series of stocktaking U.N. conferences held especially in the 1970s:

1) World Conference on the Environment – Stockholm – 1972
2) World Food Conference – Rome -1974
3) World Conference on Population – Bucharest -1974
4) World Conference on Women – Mexico City – 1975
5) World Conference on Employment and Basic Needs – Geneva -1976
6) World Conference on Human Settlements – Vancouver – 1976
7) World Water Conference – Mar del Blata -1977
8) World Conference on Desertification – Nairobi – 1977
9) World Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries – Buenos Aires – 1978
10) World Conference on Land Reform – Rome – 1979
11) World Conference on Science and Technology – Vienna -1979

The 1970 Decade ended with the International Year of the Child. The Decade had also seen from 1974 to 1981 the World Conference on the Law of the Sea.

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Highlighting the Need to Combat the Use of Rape as a Weapon of War by Rene Wadlow

The co-laureate of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Denis Mukwege, has become an eloquent spokesperson for the effort to outlaw the use of rape as a weapon of war. Rape has often been considered as a nearly normal part of war. When an army took a city or town, the rape of women followed, a reward to brave soldiers. Military commanders turned a blind eye.

However, whatever may have been past practice, rape has now become a weapon of war, often an effort at genocide. Women’s reproductive organs are deliberately destroyed with the aim of preventing the reproduction of a group – one of the elements of genocide set out in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

mag001_400Denis Mukwege has created a clinic near Bukavu in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo – a country that is democratic only in name. He and a number of younger doctors whom he was trained try to care for women who have undergone rape by multiple men, one after the other, often in public in front of family members and others who know the woman. Known rape, even by a single person, can be a cause of family breakup, lasting shame, and an inability to continue living in the same village. There are also negative attitudes toward children born of a rape. Multiple rape is often followed by deliberate destruction of the reproductive organs.

The eastern area of Congo is the scene of fighting at least since 1998 – in part as a result of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994. In mid-1994, more than one million Rwandan Hutu refugees poured into the two Kivu states, fleeing the advance of the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front now become the government of Rwanda. Many of these Hutu were still armed, among them the “genocidaire” who a couple of months before had led the killings of some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda. They continued to kill Tutsi living in the Congo, many of whom had migrated there in the 18th century.

The influx of a large number of Hutu led to a desire to control the wealth of the area – rich in gold, tropical timber and rare minerals such as those used in mobile telephones. In the Kivu, many problems arise from land tenure issues. With a large number of new people, others displaced and villages destroyed, land tenure and land use patterns need to be reviewed and modified.

However, violence in the eastern Congo is not limited to fighting between Hutus and Titsis. There are armed bands from neighboring countries – Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda – who have come on the scene attracted by possible wealth from timber and mines of rare minerals. In addition, local commanders of the Congolese Army, far from the control of the Central Government, have created their own armed groups, looting, raping, and burning village homes.

There is a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Congo, the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping mission. However its capacity has reached its limit. Its operations are focused on areas with roads, leaving villages on small paths largely unguarded.

There has been a growing international awareness of the use of rape as a weapon of war. The issue was raised during the conflicts which followed the breakup of Yugoslavia as well as cases brought to the International Criminal Court. The Association of World Citizens has raised the issue in U.N. human rights bodies in Geneva.

Yet there is much yet to be done to make the outlawing of rape as a norm of humanitarian law and especially to prevent its practice. The Nobel Peace Prize to Denis Mukwege should be a strong step forward in this effort.

Ovi magazine

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