As I Stand on Their Ground Without Consent

The Potential Power of Legal Precedent… in a Global Can of Too May Worms

Destroying history is now being charged as a war crime | The Huffington Post

An Islamist fighter has pleaded guilty in the Hague for destroying parts of the fabled West African trading city of Timbuktu, in the International Criminal Court’s first case based on the destruction of cultural artifacts.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has admitted today (Aug 22) to razing all but two of the city’s 16 mausoleums as well as a mosque dating back to 1400 during a raid by Islamist radicals in 2012. Ahmad told the tribunal in the Netherlands that he regretted “the damage [his] actions have caused.”

In March, Ahmad was charged for “war crimes of intentionally directing attacks against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion,” according to the court. “Deliberate attacks on cultural property have become actual weapons of war,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said during proceedings today.

The case also marks the first time an ICC defendant has pleaded guilty. The trial, likely to be over within a week because of Ahmad’s guilty plea, should lead to one of the ICC prosecutors’ few wins.

Of more than 30 indictments at the ICC, only three defendants have been convicted—Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, and most recentlyJean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, former politicians and rebel leaders from Democratic Republic of Congo. The ICC’s inconsistent track record has invited accusations that the court’s limited authority renders it ineffective.

WARCRIME

Confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi | ICC | Flickr

We Will Not Leave our Village

[In late 2008, a five-minute video clip titled ” Gaon Chodab Nahin” (literally, “We Shall Not Leave our Village”) came into circulation among activists and grassroots NGOs in the forest highlands of eastern India. To those who watched and passed on the video throughout the eastern Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Orissa, it summed up the plight of adivasi or “tribal” populations in the region as they battled an emerging state-corporate nexus whose plans for rapid industrialization in India relied on greater access to forest and mineral resources.]

Prof. Uday Chandra’s paper Primitive Accumulation and “Primitive” Subjects in Postcolonial India: Tracing the Myriad Real and Virtual Lives of Mediatized Indigeneity Activism

Assistant Professor, Government, Georgetown University, Qatar 

Animal Rape and Animal Brothel

“The real objection in our view however is that animals are incapable of consenting to sexual acts. In addition, they are sentient beings whose physical and mental integrity should be respected and afforded protection from sexual violation by humans. “

[Despite the general revulsion that most people express when the topic is broached, and despite bestiality being considered a psychological disorder – in many countries around the world – sex with animals is not illegal – and perhaps surprisingly some of those countries are in the EU.  Even in some of the more highly developed EU countries, sex with animals has only very recently been made illegal (e.g. The German Animal Welfare Act 2013, s3(13)).

An article in the Digital Journal states that “sexual contact with animals has been legal in [Denmark] since 1933, and has apparently given birth to “barnyard brothels” in the country. Those establishments are reported to charge anywhere from $85 to $170 for an encounter with an animal! (A whole new meaning to a “petting” farm).

Understandably – this whole issue catalyses strong emotions and raises complex moral and ethical questions as well as animal welfare and human health concerns.

For example, according to one study, men who had sex with animals  were twice as likely to develop cancer of the penis as other men who did not. If this finding is corroborated, this may have serious implications for transferring animal viruses into the human population because people who have sex with animals do not restrict their sexual activity to animals and many will go on to have sex with human partners. Should this be the case, there is an argument that sex with animals should be made illegal in the wider public interest to protect the health of the population at large from contracting zoonotic diseases.

In a study of 300 children who sexually abused other children, 20% of them had a history of sexually abusing animals (Duffield et al., 1998). Whilst this research does not specifically suggest many or even any people who sexually abuse animals will go on to abuse children – the higher than average incidence of this correlation is a concern. Since sex with animals is a “sexual preference disorder” – this at least puts legislators on notice that there are troubling related issues.

Are there any other problems?

One piece of research reported “that professionals should be mindful of the potential level of dangerousness in individuals convicted of zoophilic offences” and that “individuals convicted of sexual offences involving animals were found to be the most deviant and indiscriminate of sex offenders.” (Reported in Wilcox et al. 2005)

Does the EU know about this issue?

A question was put to the Commission concerning this issue on 2/5/2012 by Tiziano Motti. Part of the question was as follows:

 “It would appear, in light of activity on the Internet and of various reports, that in some EU Member States, such as Sweden, Spain, Denmark and lately even Germany, there is a gap in national provisions that allows certain pets and stray animals to be sexually exploited, in exchange for money, within dedicated venues. Apparently, some pet owners are offering their animals for this type of commercial use, and these are not isolated incidents but form part of an organised trade at European level that has already become a source of ‘sex tourism’.” 

What reply was given?

Mr Dalli replied on behalf of the Commission on 27/6/2012 stating:

“The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Memberand has not receive any evidence of possible health problems related to such practice in the EU.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1), animal welfare is to be taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies, like agriculture or the internal market. 

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.”

A second question was placed by Kay Swinburne (ECR) on 29/5/2012 as follows:

“It has been brought to my attention that bestiality is still legal in a number of EU Member States. It has been reported that a number of ‘bestiality brothels’ exist in Germany (1), despite the distribution of animal pornography being punishable by law.

Given that the EU has been very vocal on animal welfare issues, it would seem appropriate for the EU to intervene and introduce some common EU‐wide rules to illegalise bestiality and animal pornography and ensure that animals are adequately protected, as they are in my own Member State.”

Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission  (27 July 2012)

The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Member of the European Parliament.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2), animal welfare is taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies (3), like agriculture or internal market.

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.” 

When the European Parliament was served with two petition on 27/3/13 – the EU changed tack by at least no longer denying the problem: In the Commission reply, on 27 March 2013 the EU simply washed its hands of the issue and stated:

“… certain topics of animal protection remain under the responsibility of the Member States (e.g… bestiality…).”

Given the distasteful nature of the topic – it is little wonder the issue is rarely debated publicly. In the absence of public scrutiny there are many examples of animals being severely injured (thus requiring veterinary attention), contracting sexually transmitted infectionsand even being killed during the course of the expression of this “sexual preference disorder”.

On the basis of these facts, is it right that this deviant behaviour should go unchallenged within several member states within the EU?

Whilst the EU is not and should not be a “sexual/moral policeman” – there is enough evidence available to indicate animal welfare is seriously compromised by this sexually deviant behaviour happening within its borders. In addition, zoophilia represents a potential threat to human health.]

Read the full story | OCCUPY ANIMALS

It was a Hot, Dry August back in 1680 | The Pueblo Revolt and Colonialist Narrative

[Reducing first contact to a “clash of cultures” fails to acknowledge the true intention and goal of colonizers: unrestricted access to territory, resources, and Native bodies. When the Spanish conquistadores made contact with the Natives of the Southwest, they were looking to eliminate us, not to simply convert and enslave us, but to remove us from the land permanently.

Considering that the Spaniards were weak, hungry, and on the verge of death upon making contact with Pueblo people, they did not immediately descend upon us in a shower of violence. In fact they begged for our help, and that is what they got. It was not long before their genocidal intentions were made clear. Accompanying the unyielding raids, rape, and indiscriminate killing of Pueblo people, medicine people, women, and Two-Spirit people were victims of especially heinous acts of torture which included being burned alive and cutting off the breasts of women.

In 1675 when hunts for tribal leaders and medicine people were in full swing, Pope’ began organizing the most prominent revolution in Pueblo history. It is important to note here that the Pueblo Revolt did not occur spontaneously because people were fed up with the violence and oppression they were experiencing — this is another myth. This myth ignores the way we commonly understand the political development of such uprisings. At least five years of intense organizing had to take place before the Revolt could be successful. This kind of organizing required the support and participation of entire Pueblo communities and, most importantly, a common understanding of the social and political climate, which meant identifying a common enemy — the Spanish colonial regime….]

The 1680 Pueblo Revolt is about Native Resistance

PUEBLO

Amidst a Dreadful War, a Tree Sprouted in a Tiny Crack

In 1941 Salvador Dali and Walt Disney created an animated story about Chronos, the personification of Time, who falls in love with a mortal. Here it is:

 

The Event, According to Master Henri Cartier-Bresson

When Henri Cartier-Bresson first picked up a tiny Leica 35mm film camera in 1931, he began a visual journey that would revolutionize 20th-century photography.

His camera could be wielded so discreetly that it enabled him to photograph while being virtually unseen by others — a near invisibility that turned photojournalism into a primary source of information and photography into a recognized art form.

Cartier-Bresson’s concept of the “decisive moment” — a split second that reveals the larger truth of a situation — shaped modern street photography and set the stage for hundreds of photojournalists to bring the world into living rooms through magazines such as Life and Look.

Though he often focused on the human condition in his photographs, Cartier-Besson would often look at his contact sheets or prints upside down to judge the images separate from any social content. They stood as rigorous compositions on their own.

His signature shooting technique was to find a visually arresting setting for a photograph and then patiently wait for that decisive moment to unfurl.

The director Louis Malle remembered that, despite all the turmoil at the peak of the student protests in Paris in May 1968, Mr. Cartier-Bresson took photographs at the rate of only about four an hour.”

With the primacy of digital photography and social media in the 21st century, slow, painstaking image-making is becoming a relic. Photographers and their images now move at a pace as fast as the events swirling around them. Technological advances in cameras and methods of distribution have heralded in a new visual era, not unlike what Cartier-Bresson’s Leica did almost a century ago.

Photographs are no longer rare artifacts, nor primarily a means of learning about the exotic or unknown. They arrive instantaneously on our phones every day from every corner of the world and from all kinds of people. With a smart phone, everyone is a photographer, and images compete for crowd approval on social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

Which raises questions on this anniversary of Cartier-Bresson’s death: Do these changes make a master’s carefully constructed images irrelevant? Or are they even more instructive today?

Read the full article here | The New York Times

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