Thursday, November 27, 2008
Bales believes that one of the most important ways to combat slavery is to raise awareness about the issue. One of the best ways for college students to raise awareness about a specific issue is to create a student led organization or group designed to target the problem. Creating an organization against slavery would be fairly easy to accomplish on a college campus because people generally believe that slavery is immoral and unethical. Student organizations are also financially supported by the college. These organizations would have enough power to teach people about slavery and raise money for support.
Almost all colleges around the nation have organizations that attempt to bring awareness to specific local and global problems. Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice grants its students access to forty organizations that target issues ranging from poverty to cancer. Georgetown provides some of the top organizations nationwide but it does not have a student organization designed to combat slavery. Not many colleges do. The issues they combat are important, but it is time to add another one to the list. Creating an organization to fight against slavery at one college has the potential to spread to other colleges and the communities around them. An organization like this is an excellent way for students to take a stand against slavery.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Brazilian slavery is directly tied to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which will continue to have detrimental environmental effects on a global scale. Slaves in Brazil are used in agricultural enterprises. Cheap labor is exploited and the rainforest is being cut down for profit. The world could see a dramatic climate change with its elimination. The Amazon also keeps the production and absorption of oxygen balanced. Throwing this balance off will have damaging effects to the ozone layer, which could increase global warming. Slavery in Brazil should be a main priority of all major countries because of its potential to have these serious effects. There is little concern involving the practice of slavery. If more countries knew the devastation slavery can cause, perhaps they would be more willing to show support for its elimination.
Bales describes the difficulty of trying to end slavery in Brazil, but he also believes that the world is making progress in the fight. Although alerting the media about the situation and putting economic pressure on the people in charge in Brazil has had excellent results, Bales says that this approach is not enough. It is up to the Brazilian people to end slavery in their country. This elimination, however, will be difficult for the Brazilians, especially with such a weak economy. Brazil will need to continue to receive economic support from the rest of the world. Another idea that the world should consider is that better protection of the rainforest may help reduce the practice of slavery in Brazil.
Mark London and Brian Kelly, two of the world’s leading experts on the Amazon, have their own plan to save the rainforest. Supported by the Marriot chain of hotels, they have created protected communities on the outskirts of the forest. The people in these communities serve as protectors and guardians of the Amazon rainforest. In return, the Brazilians that live there receive money, food, and a more modern place to live. This system helps reduce poverty and could help reduce slavery in Brazil.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
First, I think that people would fall into this trap based solely on laziness and the convenience of having their problems solved. I also feel that taking a step down this path would make it hard to turn back. The easy way out is a weakness found in many people, but could be detrimental to our progress in society. To accept the McDonalization would be failing our historical intellectuals that through dialectical idealism, we have created progress. In many realms, we can see that this is true. Even in this class, we continue to mold and shape our perception of power. If we were to accept the definition that was given to us the first day of class, we would have not created some greater knowledge and continue to find a conclusion.
It is important to realize that our thoughts are being influenced even when we don’t realize it. The society that we live in creates a model that we are “suppose” to follow. It is necessary that we continue to question and strive for more so that our power of thought is not fried, grilled, or flipped.
I recieved all my information from myweb.stedwards.edu/mikef/mcdonize.htm
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
An article I read recently in Comparative Politics entitled “Bin Laden, the Arab ‘Street’, and the Middle East’s Democracy Deficit”, by Dale Eickelman, stood out to me as something worth discussing in our philosophy class, because it focused largely on power. Bin Laden, in our minds, is simply a symbol of terrorism, but to his targeted Middle Eastern audience, he conveys so much more. He is an icon in the modern world of media, trying to convey himself as a traditional Islamic warrior. His messages contain many secular elements, which appeal to his targeted audience- the Arab youth, the unemployed, and the poor. “He speaks in the vivid language of popular Islamic preachers, and builds on a deep and widespread resentment against the West and local ruling elites identified with it”(Eickelman). He blames the suffering of the people on American brutality against Muslims. He focuses on themes of oppression and corruption, which are themes that even non-religious people can relate to. He is charismatic and controlled. He even has a major TV logo in the corner of his broadcasts that add to his message’s authenticity, much like an ABC or CNN logo would in American media. Sounds like the majority of politicians we witness daily, right? That’s because to his audience he does play a similar role. His mastery in modern propaganda can be likened to that of political campaigning in the United States. Bin Laden’s audience does not judge him on his ability to cite authoritative texts, but rather on his skill in applying generally accepted religious tenets to current political and social issues. In other words, he knows how to play to his audience.
Through mass education and new communication technologies, such as the internet, he is able to reach large numbers of Arabs. Former Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, said in 2001, “Through access to the internet and other means of communication, a restive [Arab] public is increasingly capable of taking action without any identifiable leadership or organized structure.” Although in the past the generally non-democratic governments of the Middle East would punish organizations that went against the government, the new media is much harder to censor. Because these uncensored news outlets have certainly had an impact on public opinion, or what the article refers to as the “street”, the Arab governments have been forced to be more responsive to their citizens, or at least to pretend to be. So, “rather than seek to censor al-Jazeera or limit Al Qaeda’s access to the Western media- an unfortunate first response of the United States government after the September attacks- we should avoid censorship”(Eickelman). Their statements should be treated with the same caution as any other news source; censoring them will only bring more attention to them. If we look at the war on terrorism from a communication standpoint it turns not into a war on terrorism of one group against another, but instead a war versus terrorism and radicalism in all societies. In conclusion, although the United States has never underestimated the organizational skills of Bin Laden or Al Qaeda, their skills in effectively conveying a message through modern media that appeals to some Muslims should not be underestimated either.
(I couldn't find the full article online, but I have a copy of it in my textbook if anyone is interested)