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Entries posted by Les Beldo

In the Eyes of the Beholder

Female Genital Surgeries and the Illegitimacy of Universal Human Rights

January 3rd, 2007 · Written by · No Comments

In order to protect certain inalienable, universal human rights, a just society must place a limit on its tolerance of the practices of other, less just societies. This statement seems innocuous enough, and repeated aloud in most social circles in the U.S. or Europe it is unlikely to draw harsh opposition. Some may even deride it as being a statement of the obvious. Considering, however, that the West is scarcely more than a century removed from the age of colonialism and slavery, perhaps we should be a little shy about affirming any ideology that alludes to concepts like inalienable, universal, or just. […]

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The True Cost of War

Are We Turning Our Troops Into Psychiatric Time-Bombs?

July 3rd, 2006 · Written by · No Comments


A grim milestone was observed in June when the 2500th American serviceperson was killed in the most recent Iraq war. Even more startlingly, when assessing the damage to U.S. military personnel and their families, that figure may be misleadingly low. No precise means exists to tally broken lives, damaged relationships, and the general psychological trauma of soldiers asked to do what is otherwise unthinkable in our society — kill. But a survey of the headlines suggests that there is more afoot in Iraq than loss of life. […]

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Imperial Evanescence

How Long will the U.S. Empire Stand?

May 3rd, 2006 · Written by · No Comments

USA falls

The limited perspective offered by the relatively short human lifespan has been cause for much observational error. Even in a postmodern existence where constant change has become the norm and the term progress rendered redundant, the common individual still acts as though – substantively, at least – things have always been and will always be just as they are now. […]

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Dangerous Distractions

March 3rd, 2006 · Written by · No Comments

How are we to expect this man to be aware? His life is an amalgamation; a twisted one with no synergy and little coherence. He spends almost nine hours preparing to leave for, traveling to, engaging in, and returning from work. Work itself is a self-contained reality with laws, relationships, hierarchies, and consequences entirely divorced from the outside world. There, the sun rises and sets based on things like dividends, profit margins, sales goals, and overhead.

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What's really plaguing Africa

January 3rd, 2006 · Written by · No Comments

Road to Hell

It wasn’t as if domination was their manifest purpose. They claimed they were there to help. And some of them believed it. The objects of their assistance were underprivileged and backwards, nobly trying to grasp the concepts of a new era but disastrously unable to do so. What they needed was the golden touch – the magnanimous muscle of giants born into privilege.

I speak, of course, of foreign aid. Or maybe old world colonialism. The similarity between the two is a theme woven throughout a groundbreaking narrative by experienced aid worker Michael Maren entitled, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity.

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