..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ...I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern
There are some animal advocates who say that to maintain that veganism is the moral baseline is objectionable because it is judgmental, or constitutes a judgment that veganism is morally preferable to vegetarianism and a condemnation that vegetarians (or other consumers of animal products) are bad people. Yes to the first part; no to the second. There is no coherent distinction between flesh and other animal products. They are all the same and we cannot justify consuming any of them. To say that you do not eat flesh but that you eat dairy or eggs or whatever, or that you don’t wear fur but you wear leather or wool, is like saying that you eat the meat from spotted cows but not from brown cows; it makers no sense whatsoever. The supposed line between meat and everything else is just a fantasy–an arbitrary distinction that is made to enable some exploitation to be segmented off and regarded as better or as morally acceptable. This is not a condemnation of vegetarians who are not vegans; it is, however, a plea to those people to recognize their actions do not conform with a moral principle that they claim to accept and that all animal products are the result of imposing suffering and death on sentient beings. It is not a matter of judging individuals; it is, however, a matter of judging practices and institutions. And that is a necessary component of ethical living.
Gary L. Francione
Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.
Suzy Kassem
Si dalkiinu uu meel sare u gaaro, oo u noqdo mid mar kale horumar ku tilaabsada, ka bilaaba in aad doorataan hogaamiye wanaagsan. Ha ogolaanina in warbaahinta iyo kuwa danaha-gaarka ah lehi ay idinku qasbaan in aad doorataan dadka ay ayagu idiin xuleen, balse doorta dadka aysan ayagu xulan. Dadka dhexdiisa ka doorta hogaamiyaha, oo ah mid uu wado wadnahiisu, mid isu arka in uu matalo shacabka dalka, ogna waxa dalku u baahan yahay dhinac walba.Ha dooranina hogaamiye lacag uun u socda, oo aan waxba ka ogayn shacabka, shacabkana aan xiriir la lahayn, balse kaliya og waxa shirkadahu u baahan yahiin. Doorta nabaddoon. Mid dadka mideeya, ee aan qaybin. Hogaamiye aqoon leh oo taageera dhaqanka iyo xoriyadda figrad-dhhiibashada; oo aan ahayn mid dadka afka qabta. Doorta hogaamiye maalgaliya iskuulada, oo aan joojin maalgalinta waxbarashada, una ogolaanayn in maktabadahu xirmaan.Doorta hogaamiye wadahadal ka doorta in la dagaalo. Hogaamiye dadnimo leh, mid dhahaya waxuu aaminsan yahay, mid balanta ka soo baxa oo aan dadka been u sheegin. Doorta hogaamiye adag oo isku-kalsoon, laakiin aan kor isu qaadin. Mid caqli badan, laakiin aan dhagarow ahayn, hogaamiyo ogol kala duwanaanta oo aan cunsuri ahayn.Doorta hogaamiye maalgalinaya dhisidda buundooyin la isaga gudbo, ee aan dhisayn darbiyo dadka kala xira. Buugaag, maya hub, Daacadnimo, maya musuq-maasuq. Xigmad iyo aqoon, maya jahli, Xasilooni, maya baqdin iyo argagax. Nabad, maya burbur. Jacayl, maya nacayb, Isu-imaatin, maya kala qaybin. Dulqaad, maya cunsuriyayn, Daacadnimo, maya munaafaqnimo, Wax ku oolnimo, maya wax kama jiraan, Dabeecad, maya maangaabnimo, Soo bandhigid, maya qarsasho, Cadaalad, maya sharcidaro, Run, maya been.Ugu danbayn, doorta hogaamiye dadkiisu ay ku farxayaan. Mid dhaqaajinaya qalbiyada dadka, si ay wiilasha iyo gabdhaha qaranku ugu dadaalaan in ay ku daydaan sharafta hogaamiyaha qaranka. Markaas oo qura ayaa qaran si fiican kor ugu kici karaa, marka hogaamiye dhiirigaliyo, soona saaro muwaadiniin u qalma in ay noqdaan hogaamiyayaasha mustaqbalka, maamulayaal qiimo badan iyo nabaddoono. Waqtiyada hadda lagu jirana, hogaamiye waa in uu noqdo mid dhiiran. Hogaankoodu waa inuu ku adeego daacadnimo, mana aha inay u shaqeeyaan laaluush.Suzy Kassem, waana gabar qoraa Mareykan ah kana soo jeeda Masar, waa na faylasuuf.
Suzy Kassem
My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses. I felt responsible for sustaining and increasing the beauty of the world. I wanted the cities to be splendid, spacious and airy, their streets sprayed with clean water, their inhabitants all human beings whose bodies were neither degraded by marks of misery and servitude nor bloated by vulgar riches; I desired that the schoolboys should recite correctly some useful lessons; that the women presiding in their households should move with maternal dignity, expressing both vigor and calm; that the gymnasiums should be used by youths not unversed in arts and in sports; that the orchards should bear the finest fruits and the fields the richest harvests. I desired that the might and majesty of the Roman Peace should extend to all, insensibly present like the music of the revolving skies; that the most humble traveller might wander from one country, or one continent, to another without vexatious formalities and without danger, assured everywhere of a minimum of legal protection and culture; that our soldiers should continue their eternal pyrrhic dance on the frontiers; that everything should go smoothly, whether workshops or temples; that the sea should be furrowed by brave ships and the roads resounding to frequent carriages; that, in a world well ordered, the philosophers should have their place and the dancers also. This ideal, modest on the whole, would be often enough approached if men would devote to it one part of the energy which they expend on stupid or cruel activities; great good fortune has allowed me a partial realization of my aims during the last quarter of a century. Arrian of Nicomedia, one of the best minds of our time, likes to recall to me the beautiful lines of ancient Terpander, defining in three words the Spartan ideal (that perfect mode of life to which Lacedaemon aspired without ever attaining it): Strength, Justice, the Muses. Strength was the basis, discipline without which there is no beauty and firmness without which there is no justice. Justice was the balance of the parts, that whole so harmoniously composed which no excess should be permitted to endanger. Strength and justice together were but one instrument, well tuned, in the hands of the Muses. All forms of dire poverty and brutality were things to forbid as insults to the fair body of mankind, every injustice a false note to avoid in the harmony of the spheres.
Marguerite Yourcenar