Georgetown Welcomes Colombia’s Uribe by John Dear, S.J.

Last week some of us learned that Georgetown University has appointed the former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, to a teaching post at its Walsh School of Foreign Service. Uribe, who is linked to paramilitaries that slaughtered thousands of innocents and who befriended drug traffickers — bringing them into the political mainstream — has been named Georgetown’s “Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership.” He begins work tomorrow, Sept. 8.

Apparently neither the university president nor the faculty nor the Jesuits have been apprised that lawyers are working to bring charges against Uribe at The Hague for human rights violations. Georgetown might just as well have invited the Philippines’ Marcos, Nicaragua’s Somoza or Liberia’s Charles Taylor to teach.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Georgetown in particular has a long history of supporting U.S. war-making. It has taken millions from the Pentagon, trained thousands of young Catholics in its ROTC program, hired Henry Kissinger, welcomed the person who ordered the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and supported war-makers from the Shah of Iran to Ronald Reagan.

Georgetown’s students and faculty have for years joined the campaign to close the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., which these days predominantly trains Colombia’s military officers and soldiers under the guise of fighting terrorism. Many of those soldiers then go back to their country and participate with paramilitary death squads in killing and torturing innocent people. I would expect the president, faculty, and Jesuits of Georgetown to know better than to welcome Uribe to join their ranks.

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Tags: article Catholic Christianity Georgetown Georgetown University Washington D.C. John Dear SOA School Of The Americas Georgia war violence Fort Benning
» Holy book burning - the right to be despicable

undercovernun:

An absolutely wonderful editorial!  I’ve only quoted short snippets, but it’s worth 3 minutes to read the entire thing.

The Florida preacher who plans to torch Qurans on the anniversary of 9/11 has done the world a big favor.

Don’t get me wrong — the man’s a flaming religious bigot who defames Jesus with every breath, but Terry Jones of Gainesville (I refuse to call him “reverend”) has given this country the chance to show what it stands for.

1. We stand for Jones’ right to burn the Quran.

A despicable act of intolerance? You bet.

But the Constitution protects the right of flaming religious bigots to be despicably intolerant, so long as they harm no one.  …..

2. We stand for the right to tell Jones and his flock of black sheep where to get off.

Already, people of many faiths — Christian, Muslim, Jew — have joined together in Gainesville and across the country to condemn Jones’ holy book-burning. To insist he doesn’t represent mainstream America. And — despite a fitful tendency toward Islamophobia of late — they’re right. …..

3. We have the opportunity to lead by example.

American Christians and Jews crying out against burning the Quran may mean nothing to some in the Muslim world. One candidate for the Afghan parliament has declared that, if their holy book is burned in public, “the first and most important reaction will be that wherever Americans are seen, they will be killed.” …..

Indeed.  While this intolerance makes my blood boil, it would not be right to disallow these sorts of acts.  Just as it would be equally preposterous to deny New York Muslims the right to erect a community center…

(via undercovernun)

Tags: religion article Muslim islam Christian Christianity book burning protest freedom Freedom of Religion 9/11 Qur'an Florida Terry Jones
» How NGOs Work With Photographers: Doctors Without Borders

via doctorswithoutborders:

Great article on how photographers work with NGOs/non-profits.

“Mostly what photographers get for working with MSF is access to stories that might otherwise be impossible to cover. For many photographers, that has meant a chance to hone their journalistic skills, build their reputations, and most importantly, make images that help change peoples’ lives for the better.”

Tags: Doctors Without Borders Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF article photography NGO non-profit
newsweek:

Really amazing audio slideshow from our photo department, and photographer Seamus Murphy.

newsweek:

Really amazing audio slideshow from our photo department, and photographer Seamus Murphy.

Tags: picture photo photography article Newsweek Afghanistan war United States of America middle east poverty
» Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam - Pew Research Center

hedwyg:

The public continues to express conflicted views of Islam. Favorable opinions of Islam have declined since 2005, but there has been virtually no change over the past year in the proportion of Americans saying that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. …

Currently, 30% say they have a favorable opinion of Islam while slightly more (38%) have an unfavorable view; nearly a third (32%) offer no opinion. In 2005, slightly more expressed a favorable opinion of Islam than an unfavorable opinion (by 41% to 36%). 

As in the past, there are substantial partisan, educational and age differences in opinions about Islam. By more than two-to-one (54% to 21%), Republicans express an unfavorable opinion of Islam; the balance of opinion among independents is negative (40% unfavorable vs. 28% favorable). Among Democrats, favorable opinions of Islam outnumber unfavorable ones by 41% to 27%. …

Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd, not just of us, but of other sheep who are not of this sheepfold.

Old Testament prophecy and the gospels point to Jesus being the savior for all nations, a light to the entire world.

And Jesus commands us to love all persons.

What is the problem here?

Tags: religion intolerance islam Christian Muslim article

(New York) - People with mental disabilities, including US citizens,  face a greater risk of erroneous deportation by United States  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because courts do not ensure  fair hearings for those not able to represent themselves, Human Rights  Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today. The groups urged Congress  to pass legislation requiring the appointment of lawyers for all people  with mental disabilities in immigration courts.
"Few areas of US law are as complicated as deportation, and yet every  day people with mental disabilities must go to court without lawyers or  any safeguards that make the hearings fair," said Sarah Mehta, Aryeh  Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. "Some have disabilities  so severe that they don’t know their own names or what a judge is."

Read more at Human Rights Watch: Confused, Alone, And In Legal Limbo.

(New York) - People with mental disabilities, including US citizens, face a greater risk of erroneous deportation by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because courts do not ensure fair hearings for those not able to represent themselves, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today. The groups urged Congress to pass legislation requiring the appointment of lawyers for all people with mental disabilities in immigration courts.

"Few areas of US law are as complicated as deportation, and yet every day people with mental disabilities must go to court without lawyers or any safeguards that make the hearings fair," said Sarah Mehta, Aryeh Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. "Some have disabilities so severe that they don’t know their own names or what a judge is."

Read more at Human Rights Watch: Confused, Alone, And In Legal Limbo.

Tags: ACLU American Civil Liberties Union HRW Human Rights Watch article citizen deportation human dignity human rights immigration legislation mental illness special report ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement
» how we felt, how we lived.: Niger Food Drive Reaches Village On The Edge Of Survival

The rains in Niger have come just in time to muddy the roads and make transport difficult for the massive operation underway to bring desperately needed food to more than seven million people – and 670,000 children – across the country.

But that didn’t stand in the way of an anxiously awaited…

Tags: Niger hunger food nutrition Africa flood flooding children article food drive WFP World Food Programme
» Native American Tribes Say They Won't Enforce Immigration Law

adamquinn:

As the July 29 enforcement date for Arizona’s strict new immigration law nears, Native American tribes are charging that the law was written without considering their unique circumstance and that it will violate their sovereignty and their members’ civil rights.

Despite a request by Gov. Jan Brewer’s office to comply with the new law, Native American tribes will continue to oppose it and seek ways to avoid its implementation, said John Lewis, executive director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, which represents 20 tribes in the state.

“Tribes have jurisdiction within their land, and state law doesn’t apply,” Lewis said. “And the law just doesn’t work in the interests of the American Indian population.”

A resolution passed by the tribal council on June 4 states that the new law would lead to disproportionate stops and detentions for tribal members, violate their sovereignty and negatively impact the tribal economy.

Tags: Arizona SB1070 Native Americans Indigenous arizona bill immigration illegal immigrants sovereignty racism law article John Lewis Tribal Council of Arizona
» Growing Up In Gaza from The New York Times

Follow the link for a video about life in Gaza at this very moment.  Don’t forget to check out the entire article either.

Tags: video Gaza Israel Palestine New York Times article violence poverty hunger
» Children & Families Living In Landfills In Managua, Nicaragua

An interesting (and all-too-short) piece on families who live on “La Chureca”, a landfill on the south shore of Lake Managua in the country of Nicaragua.  Two January’s ago, I had the distinct pleasure of being able to visit this country and learn much about its culture, economy, and history and, while we went nowhere near La Chureca, we were able to see its ominous fumes rising above the city from the top of Loma de Tiscapa.  It seemed daunting, dangerous, and foreboding at the time and seems even more so now that I am more aware of the situation of people in that area.  According to wikipedia (hey, at least i’m telling you), La Chureca is the largest open-air dump in Central America and, while there are obvious environmental, health, and safety concerns with this sort of issue, the fact that it exists in the second poorest country in the western hemisphere increases these concerns almost infinitely.
For more information and resources for how you can get involved, visit LaChureca.org or ProNica.

Tags: Nicaragua Managua landfill La Chureca Loma de Tiscapa article environment poverty Central America Latin America The Guardian Immersion Trip children human dignity health safety
» Uganda: Bombs kill 74 during World Cup finale

While billions of people worldwide were cheering for their respective teams yesterday during the World Cup, two bombings wrecked a crowded restaurant and a rugby club in Uganda’s capital of Kampala.  I have discussed at length with many members in the past the often unnoticed role that the tension and brutal acts of violence which occur in Somalia play in the global scene.  The much-publicized pirating occurring off of their coast is merely a deeply-rooted bi-product of years of conflict, much of which has been begun or, at best, worsened by the United States’ influence.  Combine this with Uganda’s own troubled past and present and its complicated relationship to Somalia and you get the sorts of devastating violence noted here.
A sidenote: I urge that you do not buy into the toted relationship between the organization behind the attacks and al-Qaeda.  While they may be connected, it is my stance that the U.S.’s insistence upon these facts being known is merely propaganda aimed to direct public anger, however it seems to do much more to cheapen the conflict in the eyes of America and shroud our vision of the real problems at hand.   This is a very complex issue; do not let the media reduce it for the sake of understanding.

Tags: Uganda bombing World Cup Somalia Kampala article al-Qaeda violence
Click the photo for a touching story from the New York Times about the life of children orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti.  I have discussed with others many times about the sort of immense devastation the earthquake had on Haiti especially given its already grave situation and, thus, I thought this might interest many of you.  We must continue to do all that we can.

Click the photo for a touching story from the New York Times about the life of children orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti.  I have discussed with others many times about the sort of immense devastation the earthquake had on Haiti especially given its already grave situation and, thus, I thought this might interest many of you.  We must continue to do all that we can.

Tags: Haiti article new york times nytimes orphan orphans orphaned earthquake natural disaster poverty