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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

There are a vast number of worthy causes in the world. With everything currently happening and the rate and scale at which small groups unchecked can wreak havoc across the planet, people need to stand up for their convictions, and I fully support and admire everyone who does this. I have now said my proverbial* "You go, girlfriend" (Oprah style) and now can get to what I actually want to talk about....

Posh protesting. I was reading our school newspaper today, and somewhere in the print version there is an advertizement for a group called "S.I.C.K." who is getting all kinds of recognition around campus in the very recent past. What are they getting this notoriety for? Protesting the use of child soldiers. Now, this is certainly a worthy goal - the use of child soldiers coerced into armies creates all kinds of moral dilemmas for those attacking, and is in and of itself a... well... sick act. But is this really a contentious issue? I mean, you may as well run around screaming "raping and murdering seven year olds is bad." It's just not something which needs to be protested. Even if the point of the group is to bring it to discussion or some other goal... does anyone think that people in the UN right now in charge of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Which, it should be noted, the US is not a signatory member) are thinking, "Now, we COULD try to stop corrupt drug lords from using seven year olds to distribute heroin because, internationally, they are less likely to be searched, but I don't know... there isn't really a push on American college campuses for us to do it. Maybe we should play go fish instead?" This kind of protesting is just silly.

Another breed of silly first amendment exercize is groups who champion legitimate causes, but because of the bandwagon effect. The best example here is Tibet. You have China, the most populated nation on the planet, which takes over a small section of land which houses the Dalai Llama. Now, people think that China is such a horrible government to live under that they actively try to get this tiny part of it freed. The essential response I have to this is generally just out and out befuddlement. Why, if people really care about human rights, wouldn't they be... I don't know... pushing for more democratization for the other BILLION people living under a Maoist regeme? This is the sort of thing which bothers me because it does have a harm beyond just the silliness of those specific protests. This is the type of person who, first, hijacks legitimate rallies (anti-war, for example) for their own causes. If I have to see another "Free Mumia" poster, someone is getting punched in the face. It also allows people to marginalize gatherings which are not brought together by some Yalie who "thinks the problems of poverty are interesting" and wants to smoke some hash, because the paradigm for such assemblances involves such.

Concluding, people need to stand up for rights and make their voices heard. It would just be nice if once in a while they actually took issue with something meaningful.

cranked out at 12:47 PM | |

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