Friday, December 09, 2005

A New Hope

Stick with me as this entry is more convoluted than a Lucasfilm production.

In addition to John Edwards, Colin Powell, and John Sydney McCain III, I have a new political crush. On a lady this time (hey, I went to Bryn Mawr, don't judge me). The lady, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is known as the Iron Lady. No, she is not the newest member Steve Harris' metal band. She is the new President of Liberia. She seems like such an excellent choice: Harvard educated, a believer in the UN, former employee of the World Bank, someone who has bravely faced a corrupt government in order to attain great things for her nation. SO exciting.

And yet I feel nervous. Nervous that all this is too good to be true. I feel like Africa is cursed. That no matter how good the situation seems, it will all end with underfunded UN troops discovering mass-graves on CNN.

But Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf gives me just a glimmer of hope for Africa, for women, I guess even for human kind.

I know that this will sound revoltingly geektastic, but there is this part of Terminator 2 where Eddie Furlong and the Governor of California are watching two little boys pretending to shoot each other and Eddie says "We're not going to make it are we? People I mean." And the Governor responds "It is in your nature to destroy yourselves."

Which brings me right around to Charles Taylor, remember that one time when George W. Bush forced his resignation? Yea, well he is still out there. He is in hiding in Nigeria, and they won't turn him over. Charles Taylor is on Interpol's Most Wanted list, noted as possibly being dangerous, and is wanted for "crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the 1949 [4th] Geneva Convention." (And now you know what happened to Charles Taylor.)

Which brings me right around to the pot and kettle. You remember that whole Bush thinks that torture is super ok, well this is a bit of a problem with that crazy [3rd] Geneva Convention.

Choice bits of the 3rd Geneva Convention:
(Art 13): "Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated."
(Art 13): "...Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity."
(Art 17): "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

To answer your unasked question, there are a total of four Geneva Conventions: The first regarding treatment of casualties of war, the second regarding war at sea, the third about the treatment of POWs, and the fourth about the treatment of civilians.

Apparently all Geneva Conventions are not equal. Or perhaps all Geneva Conventions are equal, but some are more equal than others.

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