ethics

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There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.

Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …

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A Guatemalan court on Friday found former dictator Efrain Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity during the bloodiest phase of the country’s 36-year civil war.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on the genocide charge and 30 years for crimes against humanity. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.

Rios Montt, 86, took power after a coup in 1982, and is accused of implementing a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers. He entered the court on Friday to boos and cries of “Justicia!” or justice.

Prosecutors say Rios Montt turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as …

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Dont trust the world

by mgopin on February 14, 2012 · 5 comments

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Dont trust the world – Israel Opinion, Ynetnews.

What will you do if we assume risks and sacrifice victims and put our trust in you – and then something goes wrong?

“What if the other side does not act as it is expected to, and instead hurls at us fire and plagues and poisons and possibly even nuclear weapons?

“What will you do then? Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you say ‘we were wrong’? Will you send us bandages? Will you open orphanages for the children who survived? Will you pray for our souls?”

Powerful persuasive words from Israel’s most recent rising politician. Imagine a family in Gaza who lost their children and entire neighborhood in 2008 giving the exact same speech, using exactly these words. Why should they not use these words?

Ok, now what? After all the emotions, if you want something more in life …

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Qatar Airline, Bombs, and Me

by mgopin on November 17, 2010 · 5 comments

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I recently flew Qatar Airlines round trip for a lovely interfaith conference in Doha. I ended up, back and forth to Washington, spending a total of 27 hours in-flight within four days. Not long after I got back, Qatar Airlines was in the news as having been one of the Gulf passenger carriers that unwittingly transported a mail bomb from Yemen al Qaeda destined for a gay Jewish synagogue in Chicago.

This caused some strange sensations as a rabbi recently in the complete care of the same airline. I felt one of those moments of absolute contradiction, the contradiction between the way I was treated in the plane and the reality of cargoes headed for murder.

Before Qatar Airlines, I was going to write a sincere article about my evolution as a human sardine. I have been on planes traversing continents doing interfaith work for what seems like an eternity. …

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Why the US Needs Global Citizens

by mgopin on September 3, 2010 · 4 comments

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By Cheryl Duckworth

Perhaps one of the barriers to global citizenship education has been a fear that one must necessarily choose between two identities—being either a citizen of one’ s country or a citizen of the world.  In light of the increasingly nationalist and xenophobic dynamic observable in many countries over the past decade, challenging this false choice is urgent. Peace educators and global citizenship educators must make the argument that one can be both a citizen of one’s country and a citizen of the world.
I would even go further to argue that in today’s increasingly interconnected and increasingly armed world, the U.S. needs global citizens more than ever.  What is a global citizen and why does her country need her?
A global citizen has a secure and multifaceted identity.  What this means is that no one particular aspect of his identity (race, class, religion, gender) dominates the others.  …

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Sufism, Nonviolence and Peacemaking

by mgopin on April 8, 2010 · 4 comments

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When I was 18 years old, I had been in the United States for about a year–in this very foreign, interestingly different and rigorously individualistic culture as opposed to the social and group oriented pampering I was very much used to back at home, in Turkey. My engineering studies were not so interesting. I was more inclined towards reading philosophical works and engaging in deep theoretical debates about meaning of justice and truth. I changed my major from engineering to philosophy and so my second year in college began with a feeling of emptiness, lack of purpose coupled with loneliness brought by being a young boy away from home equipped with no survival skills such as cooking, doing laundry or taking care of oneself in general.


All of these factors contributed immensely to my introduction to Sufism. I needed a release, perhaps, a peace of mind from all the chaos

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This book is a strong critique of the Middle East from an astute observer who has been a passionate critic of the West’s policies in the Middle East, no neocon. Worth reading.

What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East?
By Patrick Seale

[Brit Whitaker, author of What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East] has travelled widely in Arab countries and was Middle East editor of the Guardian newspaper for seven years. He evidently knows the region intimately. His strength, in researching this book, is that he has not restricted himself, as most journalists do, to seeking the views of political leaders and government officials, but has instead moved outside the strictly political sphere to interview a great many thinkers, academics, students, opinion-formers, bloggers, and ordinary people in many countries across the region. He has looked beyond Arab regimes to society as a whole. That is the originality of his

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Sheikh Qaradawi and the Concept of Jihad

by mgopin on December 1, 2009

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I am not a fan of Sheikh Qaradawi. I think his response to violence in the name of Islam was extremely disappointing in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and I have not seen him as helpful to a peaceful and just settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict nor toward the development of a more tolerant form of Islam. He has consistently refused so far many overtures from a variety of Jewish rabbis to engage him. Put bluntly, he only seems to have rejected suicide terrorism as illegitimate when thousands of Muslims were dying at the hands of other  Muslims. In other words, he found his moral compass on jihad when it was affecting his own group.

That having been said, the fact is there are many parallels in the Jewish world to rabbinic leaders who refuse to engage Christians and whose Halakhic interpretations are entirely intolerant. They too will …

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Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network

by mgopin on September 11, 2009 · 6 comments

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This is an important unnoticed piece that helps piece together the corruption of power during the Bush years that led to the Iraq debacle. It deserves study to help solidify democratic checks and balances to avert this in the future. Democratic systems require constant vigilance in order to checks and balances to work in ever changing circumstances.

Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network
By Jim Lobe

wolfowitz rumsfeld

An excerpt from the article:

The Office of Special Plans (OSP), which worked alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau in Feith’s domain, was originally created by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official U.S. intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Retired intelligence officials from the State Department, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long charged that the two offices exaggerated

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rabbi

This is an interesting discussion between two thoughtful Jews, Erica Brown and Jeffrey Goldberg, who cannot fathom why Jews, religious Jews, have given birth to so many ethical scandals of late. I sympathize with much of their analysis, except one elephant in the room that is always left out: a modern Jewish education focused on defense of a country, Israel, rather than a set of values that are non-negotiable. That has turned away millions of Jewish kids who look to liberalism or Buddhism instead for peace, quiet and nonviolence, and it has made a mockery of Jewish ethics. You can’t teach hate of billions of people, Muslim or Arab or Palestinian, and expect people not to sell kidneys, torture animals, and destroy foreign workers’ lives. The human psyche does not work that way. And this is an overwhelming reason for the sorry state of Jewish religious life.…

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