Humanitarian negotiations are life-and-death issues for people in need, but they also raise troubling political and ethical dilemmas for the organizations that are engaged in them.
Please join us for a live online discussion of these issues featuring several experienced MSF aid workers, who will share their first-hand experiences from past assignments. They will describe the often complicated process of negotiating with governments, armed groups, public health officials, international actors, community leaders, and local officials; as well as the struggle to define what compromises are acceptable in order to run programs in crisis zones.
During the event, join the discussion on Twitter by following @MSF_USA and tweeting with the hashtag #AnyPrice.
Twitter’s increasing need to remove content comes as a byproduct of its growth into new countries, with different laws that they must follow or risk that their local employees will be arrested or held in contempt, or similar sanctions. By opening offices and moving employees into other countries, Twitter increases the risks to its commitment to freedom of expression. Like all companies (and all people) Twitter is bound by the laws of the countries in which it operates, which results both in more laws to comply with and also laws that inevitably contradict one another. Twitter could have reduced its need to be the instrument of government censorship by keeping its assets and personnel within the borders of the United States, where legal protections exist like CDA 230 and the DMCA safe harbors (which do require takedowns but also give a path, albeit a lousy one, for republication).
Twitter is trying to mitigate these problems by only taking down access to content for people coming from IP addresses the country seeking to censor that content. That’s good. For now, the overall effect is less censorship rather than more censorship, since they used to take things down for all users. But people have voiced concerns that “if you build it, they will come,”—if you build a tool for state-by-state censorship, states will start to use it. We should remain vigilant against this outcome.
“We’re taught to turn the other cheek—that being kind in the face of hostility is the better way to respond to conflict so love can overcome hate. According to psychologist Clifford N. Lazarus, writing for Psychology Today, that sort of reaction just teaches…
You’ve probably heard too many times to count that “in this economy, you should be happy to have any job at all.” Perhaps that’s true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to find something better if you hate the job you’ve got.
The Arab Spring shattered everything that I thought I knew about the Arab world. As unrest broke out in the region, and regimes fell, I realised how little I knew. As a Palestinian-American, it has been routine to reference my heritage, from explaining why I do not look like Princess Jasmine, or distancing myself from suicide bombers. The politics of the land of my parents always frustrated me, and I suppose what I understood was mostly gleaned from exhausted conversations overheard in our home or headlines.
To my shock, even though I proved to know very little about what caused the Arab Spring, many seemed to automatically think that the first half of my hyphenated identity automatically made me an authority on the region. While I feel tied to and interested in the struggle for change across the Middle East and North Africa, this is not my Arab Spring.
In the scientific limelight, that is. Sort of. In the 1950s and 60s, there was a great deal of optimism about the potential of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic use. Drugs like LSD and psilocybin, the active substance in magic mushrooms, were touted as the cure for everything from depression and…
Ever since the Obama administration announced a new benefit that gives women access to birth control coverage without co-pays, anti-women’s health groups and their allies in Congress have been fighting tooth and nail to take it away from women.
After a massive outcry from Planned Parenthood supporters, President Obama has rejected their demands and protected the women’s birth control benefit. Planned Parenthood health centers around the country are writing thank-you cards to President Obama — fill out the form to add your name.
Hey guys, have you met The Purity Bear? He’s a plush toy who appears to tempted teens and warns them without moving his mouth that going inside a girl’s house will inevitably lead to sex having, and sex having before marriage is literally the worst decision you could possibly make. In spite of…(continued)
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, the internet is currently inundated with blackouts, requests that you blackout your respective blogs and sites, petitions to sign and requests for you to call your senators about these bills. But not many people clearly explain why, or how this concerns you personally. Thus, here are some links to explanations of why these bills need to bite the dust, stat.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provides a good, succinct overview of what kind of problems they pose in terms of huge damage to online innovation, the free range it would grant for groups such as the RIAA and MPAA to create blacklists (literally) of sites they didn’t like, the potential damage to internet security as a whole and much more.
A Reddit sysadmin analyzes why these bills fail in terms of copyright enforcement, ultimately serve as censorship measures and have language ambiguous enough to allow for legal abuses by law enforcement.
Largely assigned the role of being either a victim or a housewife in her native homeland, the international media has overlooked a radical change in the face of revolutionary politics in the Middle East. Names like Wedad Demerdash, Asmaa Mahfouz, Mona Seif, Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakel Karman, and Zainab al-Khawaja have been largely overshadowed by western mainstream media attention on body counts, beards, and bombs. They are mentioned solely in passing as something of interest, but often pushed into the background by media seeking the more sensational story of how Islam is “coming to get you.” They, however, are leaders among thousands of women who are part of the same struggle for political and economic equality that has so enflamed the region.
Bilaterally Gynandromorphic Chickens, and Why I’m Not “Scientifically” Male
A scientifically dead-on and otherwise excellent analysis on why no one gets to call anyone else “really” male or female.
You know what this world needs more of? Misconceptions about transsexuality.
Wait… I think I got that backwards.
Right… there is absolutely no dearth whatsoever of misconceptions people have about transsexuality. Sometimes I feel like a sort of trans-advocate Sisyphus, perpetually pushing a boulder of education up a hill of myths, stereotypes, fear, hatred, ignorance, disinterest and general laziness. And really, I could spend the rest of my life just trying to debunk a small sub-set of the mistaken beliefs about us held in the mind of the general public.
Quite often, people tell me to pick my battles. So in the interest of actually listening to my friends for a change, that’s what I’m going to try to do today. Pick a battle. In this case, something that I really need to get out the way if I’m going to keep at this whole “discussing trans issues in the skeptic community” thing, something that I’ve come to regard as by far the most common misconception about transsexuality within skepticism: the belief that transsexuals are and always shall be “objectively”, “scientifically”, “biologically” members of their assigned sex.
Here’s the thing: I will always want more women’s (and feminist) voices in the mainstream media, particularly in politics. There’s an overwhelming byline gender gap and that needs to change. But The Washington Post’s new lady blog, “She the People,” is not a step in the right direction….
“This type of thing doesn’t happen because companies typically don’t want to put their users in that position. The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet.”—Markham Erickson of NetCoalition commenting on the fact that a so-called “nuclear option”— essentially a complete blackout of services— is being considered by Internet giants Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook in an effort to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). (via ZDNET, @lheron)
Republicans Want You To Know That They Were Once Very, Very Poor
In order to even run for political office in this country, one must have an exceptional amount of money, education, hubris, and connections, or some combination thereof. However, in the last decade or so, someone somewhere decided that in order to be the President, you must be the Most Average Person in America. Middle class, middle part, middle white skin, with a medium-hot wife and a medium number of children, all of whom are average. So to appease this defensive mediocrisy that has somehow hijacked the American political process, candidates spend inordinate amounts of energy insisting that they’re super normal rather than solving problems.