Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"...I wish everyone was loved tonight..."

"...This is how it works, it feels a little worse..."

Torture Kitteh Makes Doggeh Talk (Source)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"I am on your side, I just want to tell you off"

Since "What do the presidential candidates think about Issue X?" came up several times in class on Monday, I did a little digging and found this lovely little resource. Somewhere along the line, the American Society of International Law did surveys with all of the presedential candidates. There is some pretty interesting stuff in there, including all of their positions on the ICC and other things dealing with international law. A good resource to have for those IA students of us who will be voting in the primary a week from today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerĂ²! VincerĂ²! VincerĂ²!"

(Above: NASA photo of a sand dune on Mars Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

I've sat down to write what I've realized will be my last blog post for class. And it's finally sinking in that this semester is over. And graduation is next week. For as difficult as it has been these past two years to go to school full time while also working full time, it was my choice. I chose that difficult schedule. Friends who have seen me on campus see me always walking around with a cup of coffee and a huge tote bag full of books and school work and work work and probably have always seen me mid-yawn, to be honest. Three to five hours of sleep per night has been my standard these past 24 months...

...and now looking back on it all ... and seeing that it's all over... I wouldn't change it for anything:

when I was so tired that only having Poox2000 sitting next to me, nudging my arm kept me awake in class; when being at work at UPMC was so depressing that I would call my mother in the middle of the day just to remind myself I was worth something; when I was awake for two days on end to finish an assignment; when I was an emotional basket case because of things going on in my personal life; when I had to call off work the morning after hanging out with my GSPIA friends all night the night before; when I survived only on caffeine and the food I had time to buy at Einstein's in Posvar Hall... All of those things, those small and insignificant things, have added up to a life that I'm actually happy I've lead. And that life has been supported so much by my family and my friends. I know I've been difficult and taxing and just an out-right bitch sometimes to them. But their support has never waivered so I know they'll be sitting at commencement to clap for all of us next Saturday.

Transitioning into a life that does not include school might be easier for me than it will for others since I have been working. But it makes it no less emotionally challenging. And no less difficult when we all realize that we're not going to see each other every day. I'm lucky to have found a few people at GSPIA who are not just friends, but truly a part of my family now. And for that reason, I am in love with GSPIA because it brought me to people I now love.

Finally, I have to give credit to Dr. Carpenter for coming up with the lovely idea to have us all write blogs this semester. I've loved doing it. And I will continue to post to this blog long after this semester is over. Having a professor who knows that teaching is more than just lecturing and assigning papers has been uplifting. Recognizing the humanity in her students is a characteristic Dr. Carpenter has that other professors, campus-wide, would be well-served to adopt.

Mornings always bring out my tendency to be maudlin. And as I sit here, in my new house, on my sunny sunporch with my two kitties, I'm just going to let it all sink in.

I'll post the academic post I had intended to write when I sat down here 15 minutes ago later on today. Thank you, as always, for indugling me, dear readers.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"...And it's time, time, time that you love... And it's time, time, time..."

Sad news out of Rwanda today.

This news story speaks to the chapter we read in Johnson's book about how one of the most difficult things to overcome in an intra-state post-conflict situation is the hatred that the different sides still may feel towards each other long after the fighting is over.

How do you make people like each other again? Live next to each other in peace again? Shop in the same stores? Share the same values?

It's just really sad. Nothing more to say really.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"...there goes my hero..."

Today, the lovely Poox2000 and I met Hillary Clinton.

She held a rally at my alma mater, Hopewell High School (home of the undefeated Fall 2000 Lady Viking Tennis Team) in Aliquippa. She was lovely and tiny and soft-spoken and endearing. Anyone who has not heard her speak should try to do so while she is stumping in PA.

Here are some key points she talked about today. The NYT Politics Blog had this to say about her speech.

McCain is going to regret that "100 years" remark. If the Iraq war went on that long, do you think the US would still be able to remain aloof from the ICC? Would still be able to avoid being charged by an International Criminal Tribunal with war crimes? Would still be a super power?

I would answer no to all three of those questions, particularly the question about war crimes. Can you imagine how the war crimes and crimes against humanity would pile up in the next 100 years? Just the charges brought on by all the torturing would be enough to fill the Hague for another 100 years.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"...Let's conspire to re-ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive..."

I read this article on the Human Rights Watch website this morning and it's stuck with me all day. I think it's been on my mind because I've been trying to figure out what sort of IHL or Geneva Convention, if any, is being violated by the Chadian government. Forced migration and ad hoc, governmental seizure of property is illegal in Chad according to a 1967 Land Law that prohibits deprivation of ownership without due process and also stipulates that the government can only take possession of private property after it has compensated the citizens who are being forced to move. But are there international laws being violated here?

Our Crimes of War book mentions seizure of property in the context of armed conflict so I'm pretty sure that the Geneva Conventions and particularly Additional Protocol I don't apply to this situation.

I guess the point of my post is to point out a gap in protection for people who are forced from their property by their home governments when there is technically no war within the borders.

What can be done for the thousands of Chadian citizens who find themselves forced from their land by their government? Is this something that should even be on the radar screen of the international community? Certainly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that people are entitled to shelter. If that right is violated, who becomes accountable? How can Universal Human Rights be enforced?