Suite Francaise

Usually, I don’t favor knowing a lot about the personal life of an author I like. If the words and story move me, that’s enough. When I have learned details, often it takes away from my enjoyment. I don’t want to know that the marvelous wordsmith was a beast to… Continue reading

The normality of abuse

A disturbing poll quoted in the Washington Post found that over 30 per cent of American soldiers in Iraq consider abuses not only normal, but necessary… More than one-third of U.S. soldiers in Iraq surveyed by the Army said they believe torture should be allowed if it helps gather important… Continue reading

“Bodies: The Exhibition”

“Bodies: The Exhibition” may reveal intricacies in the human form, but what it conceals is gruesome. Now at several cities in the US, including Durham, the show features “plastinated” bodies posed to show the workings of muscles, ligaments, bones and internal organs. “Plastination” preserves living tissue, and these are real… Continue reading

Censorship and the Internet

My oped was published in today’s News and Observer (Raleigh). If you are interested in alternate search engines try Kartoo or IceRocket. Services like WordPress and TypePad host blogs. Thanks to the students in my Human Rights Activism class for these leads!

Yahoo and torture

For the first time, a human rights group has used US law to sue an Internet company for contributing to torture. On April 18, the World Organization for Human Rights alleged that Internet user Wang Xiazoning was arrested in September 2002 on charges including “incitement to subvert state power.”Chinese authorites… Continue reading

Apologies for slavery

This week, North Carolina’s House voted unanimously to apologize for slavery and the legal discrimination against blacks imposed during the Jim Crow years. Procedurally, the House adopted a resolution already passed by the state senate, meaning that this essentially means that the apology reflects the will of both chambers. With… Continue reading

What does pork have to do with it?

In important and dangerous ways, the US is building an “anti-human rights” culture, part of which is the constant drumbeat of fear intentionally created by the Bush Administration to support policies that deny or violate human rights. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, wrote a piece… Continue reading