Rwandan Genocide – 100 days of slaughter

Anthony Kwan

Rwanda is a country located in central east Africa, it is bordered by Uganda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the Africa Great Lakes region, the country is surrounded with mountains in the west and grassland to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The population is approximately 11 to 12 million people. Rwandans form three ethic groups, Hutu, Tutsi and Twa.

https://pcolman.wordpress.com/tag/genocide/ https://pcolman.wordpress.com/tag/genocide/

The country was divided into three ethnic groups, the Hutu who made up eighty five percent of the population, the Tutsi who made up fourteen percent and Twa who only one percent of the total population. The Hutu group dislike the Tutsi people because they(Tutsi) had been blamed of all of Rwanda’s social economic , and political pressures since the early 19oo’s. Although Hutu were the largest ethnic group, tutsi took roles in responsibility by the Germans because of their European look…

View original post 1,313 more words

All is Not Forgiven

In 1982, the band Chicago released how “Hard to say I’m Sorry,” but even harder is knowing how or when to accept an apology. Apologies are part of the process of reconciliation but apologies do not remove responsibility. To put that another way, the acceptance of an apology is not a replacement for accountability, nor do apologies necessitate forgiveness or exoneration.

It is time for a national, bipartisan, conversation on moral responsibility and political consequence. This week it’s Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA). Last week it was Rep. Steven King (R-IA). In December 2018, it was Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI) and, before that, it was Roy Moore (RAL). Before that, there was Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-D). Also, in 2018, there was Interior Secretary Ryan Zilke’s use of the term konnichiwa when addressing Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and then, of course, there were the Brett Kavanaugh (R-DC) hearings. Just the year before, Sen. Al Franken resigned after a photograph surfaced of him groping, or pretending to grope, an unconscious woman. Joe Barton (R-TX), John Conyers (D–MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Blake Farenthold (R–TX), Trent Franks (R–AZ), Alcee Hastings (D–FL), Ruben Kihuen (D–NV), Eric Massa (D–NY), Pat Meehan (R–PA) …the list goes on and on. Most notably, there is the audio recording of Donald Trump (R-NY) saying that,

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.”[1]

Before Trump, there were Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Elliott Spitzer (D-NY), and Jim McGreevey (D-NY) who resigned in 2011, 2008, and 2004 respectively. The sexual scandals in the Carolinas, including Sen. Jonathan Edwards (D-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC). Other politicians weathered the storm and retired on their own timetable, like David Vitter (R-LA) and Larry Craig (R-ID). And then there was Bill Clinton (D-AK). Gerry Studds (D-MA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Bob Packwood (R-OR), and Dennis Hastert (R-IL)… the list goes on and on…

Of course, there are many important variables. Some of these accusations are sexual in nature, while others are racial in nature. In McGreevey’s case, the accusation was hiding his sexual relationship as well as nepotism, while Elizabeth Esty was accused of covering-up a subordinate’s impropriety. Some of the accusations were alleged to have happened concurrently while the politician was in public office, while others occurred earlier and later became public knowledge.

However, there are also notable patterns. With the exception of Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-D) and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI), the accused are all men. The other pattern is that there seems to be more of a political consequence for an accusation of sexual misconduct than racial misconduct. This distinction may be related to the underlying problem of political bias. As African-Americans are far more likely to be registered as Democrats, accusations against Republicans are more easily reframed as political criticism and not racial bigotry.[2] This is not dissimilar to the pattern of men being more likely to doubt accusations of women who report sexual misconduct.[3]

While not without controversy, there are models of successful expressions of repentance and subsequent rehabilitation. Though not a politician, perhaps one of the most well-known examples of public rehabilitation is NFL quarterback Michael Vick. After serving jail time related to his dogfighting activities, Vick returned to the NFL and finished his career. John McCain (R-AZ) was a member of the Keating Five accused of poor judgment in the savings and loan crisis, but later became the champion of removing money from politics in the ill-fated McCain-Feingold Act. And, there is Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) who was a member of the KKK, voted against the Civil Rights Act, and is the only legislator to have voted against both of the two African-Americans nominated to the Supreme Court. However, Byrd also repeatedly spoke out against his own previous actions; he hired one of the first African-American Congressional aides in history and helped integrate the United States Capitol Police. In 2004, the NAACP gave Byrd a 100% voting record in regards to the NAACP’s position on the thirty-three Senate bills in the 108th Congress. Heck, now Mark Sanford (R-SC) is a member of Congress. Social and political redemption can happen.

Apologizing, especially after being publicly identified or shamed is not a panacea. Apologies are not a replacement for accountability, nor do apologies necessitate forgiveness or exoneration. As any parent or teacher would probably say, it is better to show you’re sorry than to say you’re sorry. Contrition is also more believable when the transgression is freely admitted and not brought to light by others. The time is now for a national, bipartisan, conversation on moral responsibility and political consequence. We need to shed our political, racial, and sexual lens which we use to filter the accusations against, and apologies by, our public officials.

The problem is identifying an objective standard which delignates between a transgression that is politically forgivable and best left to late night comedians to prosecute in the court of political humor or a transgression that necessitates a political consequence in the court of political opinion. The impediments to identifying that point on the spectrum, from accidental mistake to moral sin, are numerous. With differing moral standards, perhaps partisanship and double-standards regarding gender or race are the best entry points for this national discussion. Ultimately, however, the problem is that the general public will never know what was in the heart of the social offender at the time of the transgression nor the sincerity of conviction at the time of the apology. History has shown that politicians are more likely to refute accusations of impropriety than take ownership of their actions, which has into a political inverse of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/donald-trump-tape-transcript.html

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/07/when-did-black-americans-start-voting-so-heavily-democratic/

[3] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201809/stop-shaming-victims-sexual-assault-not-reporting

FAKE HISTORIES#2 – 11.1.2019  ‘Harold of Wessex was killed by an arrow through the eye at the Battle of Hastings’

Myles Dungan

iu.jpeg

Harold Godwinson doesn’t appear to have had much time for immigrants. To be fair to Harold the class of foreigners he didn’t like crossing his frontiers were not political refugees or fruit pickers, they were after his kingdom. Harold was an Anglo-Saxon. The inevitable merger of Angles and Saxons had taken place a few generations prior. It helped forestall hostile takeover attempts from restless Viking and French invaders. I don’t want to give away the ending too early but Harold was, as it turned out, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. He was already Earl of Wessex when he was crowned King just under a millennium or so ago this week. The coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on the feast of the Epiphany. Just as I didn’t want to give away the ending I don’t want to mix metaphors, but the crown was a poisoned chalice. Harold was about…

View original post 702 more words

Land Acknowledgement: A Trend in Higher Education and Nonprofit Organizations

An emerging trend among institutions and organizations is the formal recognition of the traditional custodial relationship between native people and the land. According to Friedler (2018), land acknowledgment can also raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.” Formal land acknowledgment may be as limited as recognition of a historical presence on the land or a more a clear rejection terra nullius and the Doctrine of Discovery. All land acknowledgment statements, however, share an expression of respect for indigenous peoples, recognize their enduring relationship to the land, and raise awareness about marginalized aspects of histories.

The land acknowledgment movement is particularly strong in several former British colonies. In his piece in the New Yorker on September 7, 2017, Stephen Marche said, “you know a phenomenon has really arrived in Canada when it involves hockey.” Marche continues, “both the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers began acknowledging traditional lands in their announcements before all home games last season.” According to the New York Times (Burke, 2018), the movement has spread across Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and is moving across the United States. In fact, Dr. Amy Farrell-Morneau of Lakehead University in Ontario pointed out “nearly every university in Canada has a land acknowledgment statement (Farrell-Morneau, 2018). The movement is not limited to higher education but is also trending in nonprofits throughout Canada and beyond.

In the United States, the movement has spread throughout the art community (Burke, 2018). The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Abrons Art Center, Performance Space (PS122), Danspace Project, and Gibney of Tribeca all have a land acknowledgment policy. Some forms of land acknowledgment may be signage in lobbies or a written statement in organizational brochures or event programs. Theatrical performances may begin with a brief verbal land acknowledgment. For example, the standard preshow curtain speech at PS122 in New York City states the theater “is situated on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) and more broadly in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland” (Burke, 2018).

The movement has spread to colleges and universities across the United States. Small colleges like Emerson College[1] in Boston, Goshen College in Indiana,[2] Washington University in St. Louis,[3] and Seattle Central College[4] have all adopted land acknowledgment statements. Larger institutions have departmental or institutional land acknowledgment statements as well including Columbia University,[5] Harvard University,[6] Michigan State University,[7] New York University,[8] Northwestern University,[9] Stanford University,[10] Syracuse University,[11] University of Illinois,[12] and the University of Virginia.[13] In Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College issued a joint statement regarding land acknowledgment.[14] The land acknowledgment movement is spreading coast to coast, to institutions and organizations, big and small, public and private.

In Colorado, there are four institutions leading the way in land acknowledgment. In December 2018, Colorado State University issued an institutional land acknowledgment statement.[15] At the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education Higher Education Department, every academic convocation begins, “by first acknowledging that the University of Denver sits on Cheyenne and Arapaho land, who are the original Stewards of this land.” DU goes further and states, “We also wish to acknowledge all other Indigenous Tribes and Nations who call Colorado home. It is because of their sacrifices and hardships that we are able to be here to learn and share knowledge to advance educational equity” (DU, 2018). The University of Colorado Department of Ethnic Studies has a land acknowledgment statement embedded on the department webpages[16] and the recent graduation ceremonies at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design included a brief land acknowledgment that RMCAD sits on land that the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne once roamed.

In addition to CSU, CU, DU, and RMCAD, there are 15 other four-year institutions of high learning in Colorado. All fifteen were contacted in December 2018 and asked if the institution had a land acknowledgment statement and, if not, if the institution was considering a statement (institutions who did not respond were also re-contacted in January 2019).

Peter Han of the Office of the President at the Colorado School of Mines responded that, at this time, Mines does not have a land acknowledgment policy. Carol Osborn, Executive Assistant to the President of Adams State University similarly responded that ASU does not have a current policy. Ronald Shape, President of National American University personally responded and, after emailing further with Dr. Shape’s staff, it was determined that there was not a current policy, but that the institution was interested gathering more information regarding the land acknowledgment trend in higher education. Western University’s Bryan Boyle indicated that Western does not have a land acknowledgment policy. The University of Northern Colorado also recently responded, stating that the question would be forwarded to the appropriate office and to expect a response in the near future.

Two state institutions did not respond to the media request for this article were Mesa University and Metro State University who were all contacted on December 21, 2018. In addition, eight private colleges and universities were also contacted but did not respond: Lance Oversole of Colorado Christian University (12/11/18), Colorado Technical University (12/22/18), Sam Fleury of Columbia College (12/21/18), Ms. Shaults of DeVry University (12/22/18), Ms. Kochel and Ms. Shively of Johnson & Wales University (12/21/18), Naropa University (12/21/18), Nazarene Bible College (12/21/18), and Jennifer Forker of Regis University (12/11/18).

Nonetheless, Marche (2007) concludes, “acknowledgment is spreading. No level of government has mandated the practice; it is spreading of its own accord. There is no single acknowledgment. There are many acknowledgments, depending on where you are in the country…The acknowledgment forces individuals and institutions to ask a basic, nightmarish question: Whose land are we on?”

Crafting a land acknowledgment statement is not difficult. Amnesty International (2017) has a simple three-step guide to land acknowledgment: (1) Name which Indigenous territories you are currently on; (2) Explain why you are acknowledging the land; (3) Address the relevance of Indigenous rights to the subject matter of your event or meeting or to your activist work in general. The nongovernmental USDAC (2018) has a similar three-step process of Identify-Articulate-Deliver.

Melissa Jacob, Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life Multicultural Center, pointed out that the practice of a formal welcome and territory acknowledgment is an old tradition Native American culture, particularly when hosting guests and when traveling to neighboring tribal communities. Jacob (2018) also stated that land acknowledgment is not an expensive or intrusive policy. While land acknowledgments might seem like lip-service or national back-patting to critics, Flournoy (2016) pointed out that the effort is worth it considering the legacy of marginalized history and rise of the rhetoric of exclusion. We all ought to acknowledge our history, as we live in the present and look forward to the future.

Bibliography

Amnesty International. (2017). “Activism Skills: Land and Territory Acknowledgement.” Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.ca/blog/activism-skills-land-and-territory-acknowledgement

Burke, S. (2018). “On This Land: Dance Presenters Honor Manhattan’s First Inhabitants.” The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/arts/dance/indigenous-land-performing-arts-theaters.html

Farrell-Morneau, A. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://teachingcommons.lakeheadu.ca/land-acknowledgement

Flounay, A. (2016).  “What Does It Mean to Acknowledge the Past?” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/what-does-it-mean-to-acknowledge-the-past.html

Friedler, D. (2018). “Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, Explained.” Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/indigenous-land-acknowledgement-explained

Jacob, M.B. (2018). “Centering the Land: The Importance of Acknowledging Indigenous Land and Lifeways.” The 2018 ACPA Convention. Retrieved from http://convention.myacpa.org/houston2018/centering-land-importance/

Marche, S. (2017). “Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgment.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/canadas-impossible-acknowledgment

United States Department of Arts and Culture. (2018). “Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://usdac.us/nativeland/

University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from http://morgridge.du.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Land-Acknowledgement.pdf

[1] https://www.emerson.edu/intercultural-student-affairs/cultural-holidays-heritage-celebrations/honoring-native-land-massachusett-indigenous-peoples

[2] https://www.goshen.edu/about/diversity/land-acknowledgement/

[3] https://brownschool.wustl.edu/News/Pages/Brown-School-Authors-Encourage-Native-Land-Acknowledgment.aspx

[4] https://newscenter.seattlecentral.edu/2018/11/02/college-institutes-land-acknowledgement-statement

[5] https://universitylife.columbia.edu/blog/office-university-life-blog/2016/10/NAC-on-Lenape

[6] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/social-and-behavioral-sciences/2018/05/24/acknowledgment-of-native-land-and-peoples/

[7] http://aisp.msu.edu/about/land/

[8] https://as.nyu.edu/museumstudies/people/full-time-faculty/faculty-projects.html

[9] https://www.northwestern.edu/native-american-and-indigenous-peoples/about/Land%20Acknowledgement.html

[10] https://nacc.stanford.edu/about-us

[11] http://religion.syr.edu/about-us/land-acknowledgement.html

[12] https://chancellor.illinois.edu/land_acknowledgement.html

[13] https://kluge-ruhe.org/about/acknowledging-indigenous-owners/

[14] https://www.fivecolleges.edu/natam/about-kwintekw

[15] https://president.colostate.edu/speeches-and-writing/land-acknowledgment-at-csu-december-11-2018/

[16] https://www.colorado.edu/ethnicstudies/

How do we decide: Culture, Rational Thought or Irrational Thought?

Here are a few other optional links on Rational Choice if you’re interested:

And: Rational Actor Model Theory​​​​

A ‘Wall-Rushed’ Idea

As REM sang in 1987, “This one goes out to the one I love This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind…”

Obama

“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” he wrote then. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!” (December 30, 2018)

First of all, Trump wanted a wall across the southern border of the United States, not around every individual home, but, whatever…

This week, at the first cabinet meeting of the New Year, there were a couple of other questionable comments about walls.

Vatican

“Look, look, when they say the wall’s immoral well then you — you’ve got to do something about the Vatican because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.” (January 2, 2019)

That’s a repeat of when Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted in 2016 that the Pope was a hypocrite on immigration because Vatican City was surrounded by massive walls. As CNN’s Daniel Burke wrote at the time: “Yes, the Vatican does have walls, and some are quite large. But anyone can stroll through the Pope’s front yard — St. Peter’s Square — at nearly any time.”

“Look at all of the countries that have walls and they work 100%.” (January 2, 2019)

So, I took Trump up on this statement and here’s a look at walls, past and present.

There’s the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall + Antoine’s Wall, Wall Street, The Berlin Wall, the DMZ, the Israeli-Palestinian Barrier….

References

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/03/politics/donald-trump-cabinet-meeting/index.html

https://people.com/politics/donald-trump-obama-home-wall/

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/11/646801504/palestinian-orchestra-finds-way-into-jerusalem-to-perform-beethovens-9th-symphon