Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

Archive for July, 2009

More About Burma

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Apropos of my mention of Burma in yesterday’s post, the BBC has a news update about the trial of Burma’s pro-democracy activist Suu Kyi. Looks like a clumsy American with a hallucination problem is going to be responsible for her doing much harder time than her prolonged house arrest.

In other Burma news, an update from EarthRights International landed in my work inbox today pointing to an EarthRights Alumn’s article about the impacts of Russian backed mining interests in Burma on the indigenous population. EarthRights is going about documenting the way the Burmese government pretty much gives foreign interests carte blanche to suck the land dry and/or remove it altogether in exchange for a share of the gross with little or no regard for the local population, the environment, or anything in between. Obviously, none of this is front page news here, but the issues are ongoing and real. eri_12

Perhaps the answer to the UN’s debate over foreign intervention in sovereign countries is that it’s already taking place and we’d do well to control it properly or we’re going to end up with more suffering people and an even messier planet than we already have. Perhaps…

Charbonneau on United Nations R2P

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

What’s more important — the right of a sovereign state to manage its affairs free of outside interference or the duty of the international community to intervene when massive human rights violations are being committed in a country?

Louis CharbonneauReuters Global News Blog

R2P (Responsibility to Protect) is the UN’s most recent attempt to answer this question and it sides fairly clearly (from all reports – I haven’t read it myself) on the side of intervention, but no one can really agree what that means or even whether or not the UN ought to have the right to intervene.

Lou’s post offers a pretty clear explanation of the pushes and pulls on this, including referencing Chomsky’s view on R2P – “R2P-type arguments had been used to justify Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria and Nazi Germany’s pre-World War Two move into Czechoslovakia.”

The flip side of Chomsky’s historically founded fear of imperial designs masquerading as protection, is the war in Darfur where nothing good has been going on the last few years and plenty have been rallying around the cause of intervention to little or no avail with those that could intervene in that hornet’s nest excusing themselves on the grounds of Sudan’s sovereignty.

I think, too, of Burma/Myanmar where things aren’t too good for the any person with any kind of opinion that might be perceived as opposed to the current regime. The recent Tsunami there and the refusal of aid from the developed world, I think, is a case of subjugation and elimination of undesirables by active neglect and denial of support on the part of the current regime.

There is no siding with someone on one side or the other of some historical or perceived historical conflict when offering aid after a natural disaster as in Burma. This is about the perception of power in giving or receiving a gift or some act of charity. As a sovereign state, if I take your aid, I admit my weakness and risk making myself subject to your further good or ill will. Sovereign states, particularly totalitarian ones, aren’t designed for the sharing or relinquishing of power of any kind.

I remember the skepticism with which Castro’s offer of medical aid during hurricane Katrina was viewed at the time. Military intervention “in the name of humanity” isn’t likely to be welcomed any more easily than the kinds of aid we typically categorize as ‘humanitarian’ as long as the motives are questionable and loss of power is a possible result. And can you blame a small state for being skeptical, much less a totalitarian one?

All that said, I’ve never liked the UN’s reasons for not doing something during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

So, after that muddled bit of back and forth, my view – in answer to Lou’s closing question – begins with remembering what someone once told me: law codifies the rights of the powerful over the weak. International law is no exception to that. If we agree that the UN actually has sovereignty over the member states of the General Assembly (however tenuous that power may be), then the resolution holds as a law would and intervention is required because, in this case, the rights of the powerful would  include intervention on behalf those whom they decide to protect.

If, on the other hand, the UN retains no such power, then the resolution serves simply as a statement of good intentions. Good intentions may seem like a good start, but strictly applying moral good intentions to statecraft has a funny way in resulting in a lot more dead people.

People in The Brenlee Story

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

This is a list of all the people who appear in the Brenlee Story (the original Honestly Kid posts) and the posts where you can find them or things about them. There are others who are merely mentioned who don’t appear here, but you don’t need to worry too much about them. The principle folks are listed in the order in which they are identified in the course of the story and the people of The World are listed alphabetically by last name.

Folks

William “Billy” Loof About William, More About William, Old Voices, Old Ghosts, Luke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, William’s Knot, William’s Day, So He Tried To Kiss Her, The Whole Project, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, Dirty Work, Friends By Coincidence, Burnt, Slow, Muddy, Sleepy Swirls, If Beginnings Matter, Sand And Stone, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, So She Smiled,
Another Inner Strangeness

Officer Eduardo HernandezGood For Your People, Ass Kicking Eyes, Before The County Arrived, Winchester Kady, No One Could Help Him, Inside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, Not Much Of A Toy, The Boy Who Stopped Breathing, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, Dirty Work, Friends By Coincidence, Ballast, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard, Up Against It, Another Way To See Things, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 1, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 2,
Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence,

Luke Bettis Old Voices, Old Ghosts, Luke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, They Did It All Before, The Perfect Downtown Location

Mike BooneLuke Bettis, So He Tried To Kiss Her, The Perfect Downtown Location, Next Of Kin, Tagged

Tamra JamesWilliam’s Knot, William’s Day, So He Tried To Kiss Her, If Beginnings Matter, So She Smiled

Gabriel VelasquezThe Boy With Strong Hands, Inside Gabriel’s Desk, Not Much Of A Toy, The Boy Who Stopped Breathing

Tomas “Tommy” CoatesLuke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, Local Boy Murdered, Friends By Coincidence, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4

Maria BatistaLocal Boy Murdered, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4, Maria’s Story Pt. 5
Phillip BergoyanLocal Boy Murdered, Charlie Oliveri, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, Haunting Old Man Bergoyan, All The News, An Empty Morning, Sand And Stone, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.4,
Another Inner Strangeness, Maria’s Story Pt. 5

Trot SneedNo One Could Help Him, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1

Charlie OliveriCharlie Oliveri, The Whole Project, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, All The News, An Empty Morning, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard, Next Of Kin, Tagged
Ken SneedHell Once And For All, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Evidence

The World

Nathan AdderleyAll The News, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard,

Neto BatistaMaria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4

Walt BishopUp Against It

Chip BuedallGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Maxon CantwellGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Andy CurrieGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard,
Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence

ClaraAbout William, William’s Day,

Perry FoltzGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard , Empty Hands

Roberta HobanOld Voices, Old Ghosts

Winchester KadyWinchester Kady, They Did It All Before

Jim LangenGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Andrea LawsonInside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, Not Much Of A Toy, No Grace For Part-Timers

Jorge Nuñez Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Officer Dennis PlasterThe Part-Timer, Shredding As A Second Language, No Grace For Part-Timers, The Thin Needle Points Down, Empty Hands, 28.3 Cents A Minute, Todo es, Blind Initiative

Frank RochaGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Ms. Schmidt Inside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, The Part-Timer, The Thin Needle Points Down

Mable SneedMable Sneed Makes Breakfast

Pickem SneedMr. Sneed Fails To Pray, Good For Your People, Mable Sneed Makes Breakfast, Hell Once And For All, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 1, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 2, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence

Sherri SneedMore About William

MacDuff TaylorTime For Bed, MacDuff Taylor Is Not Dreaming, Todo es

Emiliano Velasquez The Boy With Strong Hands

Alma VelasquezThe Boy With Strong Hands

Grady WeberGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Tim O’reilly on Creating Culture

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

We have to connect with each other. We have to build on each other. And we have to take the time and the effort to weave a community of people with common interests. We have to take the time to build up the people who we care about. I use a phrase at O’Reilly as a motto, which is, “Create more value than you capture.” That is, if you’re trying to think of what you do as a media practice, think about it as creating value for your community and eventually that community will create value for you.

Tim O’reilly

Participating in Culture

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Because when you contribute, when you participate in culture, when you’re no longer solving problems, but inventing culture itself, that is when life starts getting interesting.

Matt Webb