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Monthly Archives: August 2011

There are a lot of individuals I admire in the world, and it makes me think how much easier it is to revere those who are long dead and gone because death wipes your slate clean (and ensures you can’t tarnish it further).

Today I want to bring up some good old Churchill quotes. To any of you who saw ‘The King’s Speech’, one of the most disappointing parts for me was the lack of development of Churchill as a character (how is that even possible?) Don’t let that be interpreted as a critique of the film. I have to say I thought it was brilliant overall.

But there’s something to be said for the man who for all his faults and his blunt manner was able to stave off the invading German army by motivating people to maintain the struggle through his words and his sheer force of character. Here is a selection.

A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

Lies, damn lies and statistics!

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly (!)

Here is a poster (never released at the time) that for me is just so emblematic of the British WWII mentality:

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So it’s been a while since I’ve posted and that’s because I’ve been insanely busy this summer with my full-time internship and trying to simultaneously power out a Masters dissertation, whilst also trying to genuinely enjoy living in the City of Light. But I’ve been reading over a post by Oxfam’s head of research (who has his own blog, ‘From Poverty to Power’ at http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/) and in it he links to an interesting critique on US foreign policy on climate change.

The premise of the article is as follows. Where is the justification in the US cajoling developing countries to limit their carbon emissions in the name of the environment when it is itself, and I quote, ‘responsible for the lion’s share of the accumulated heat-trapping gases already starting to cook the planet’? It’s got to be one of the greatest public hypocrisies of the decade. The only way I can understand it is in the following framework: Yes, we built our economies by rinsing the planet, but you can’t do the same – that would leave less for us!

To put this into a precise context, it is expected that Obama will sign off his approval to build a massive oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada all the way to Texas. Its construction will invariably boost emissions of trapped gases and has been dubbed the world’s biggest carbon bomb. The idea that Obama would approve this disappoints me, as overall I view the man as a potentially powerful force for positive change. I would like to not be wrong on this front.

Who suffers from climate change? Working on the topic of climate change and migration myself in my internship, it is fair for me to conclude that it is, overwhelmingly, the countries who contribute the least to emissions who suffer from it the most, and have the least resources to cope. It’s just one of those nasty coincidental things. India is highly exposed to sea level rise, which means that increasing emissions has a very real chance of costing Indian livelihoods and lives themselves.

On a broader level, I take issue with the open hypocrisy that is US policy – domestic but especially foreign. How is the myth of the nation state perpetuated and upheld in a country where the poor are officially criminalised and excluded, when one takes into consideration that unemployment, and poverty, are natural and inevitable consequences of an unregulated market system? Where access to health care isn’t universal? How is that inducive to a ‘we’re all in this together’ mindset necessary to perpetuate the fiction of a unified population? It’s not, so instead, blind nationalism is drilled in from an early stage, where any questioning of official doctrine makes one un-American. And of course lack of patriotism is severely frowned upon. If it were the other way round, and another country’s activities had a high likelihood of endangering their citizens’ lives, there is not a doubt in my mind that it would be all over the newspapers and that the US would use all its sly economic might to punish said nation. If said economic punishment failed, it would use military force. The tables need to be reversed. To take an excerpt from MacDonald’s article to sum it up:

‘‘Perhaps it’s time that India and other developing countries hard hit by runaway climate change turn the tables and start asking tough questions about U.S. energy policy in general and the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline [from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries along the Gulf of Mexico]  in particular. India, for example, could ask: “Have you given any consideration to what the increased emissions from tapping the tar sands could mean for us?” If the answer is “yes” then approval of the pipeline could only be construed as a hostile act. If the answer is “no” then the follow up question must surely be: “Why not?”’

(Here is a link to MacDonald’s article: http://blogs.cgdev.org/globaldevelopment/2011/08/obama-set-to-lob-canadian-carbon-bomb-at-india.php)

There seems to exist this very annoying monopoly with creative software Adobe hog all the best programs and charge just to much for them . This is very annoying for artists who want to use digital tools to enhance their work as not everybody can afford such indulgence . The answer comes with the humble, global, open source community who work tirelessly to provide us with new free softwares such as Skype, i can not justify how important this communication software is. It allows millions of people to stay in touch and communicate with those closest who happen to live in a different country. Then there’s Ubuntu an operating system thats a strain of linux an entire operating system that is free. Open source developers i salute you as your leading by example and providing evidence to support that well used phrase the best things in life are free !