The Global Citizen: Home
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Fox News guest commentator, Erik Rush, tweeted "Yes, they're evil. Let's kill them all," to his nearly 40,000 twitter followers. Rush was talking about Muslims, who he had immediately blamed for the bombing.
The shocking and unacceptable nature of his words, however, has much deeper consequences. In the United States, free speech is valued -- after all, it is the first right guaranteed under our constitution. Yet what Rush tweeted is not protected as free speech because it insights violence. If one just ignores his words or dismisses them as being intentionally controversial -- they run the risk of encouraging and promoting hateful ideology and perpetuating the cycle of violence in humanity.
Encouraging others to "kill" an entire certain group -- whether a religious, racial, or ethnic group -- is polarizing and dangerous. Rush might explain the scandal away by saying he was only being sarcastic, but hate speech isn't something that we should ignore or just explain away.
Rush has a global platform that most do not -- he is invited to speak on Fox News as an unpaid commentator. His hate inducing words are completely unacceptable. Fox News should drop Erik Rush from their program, or else they will be endorsing his hateful ideology. It's time to take a deep breath and stop the cycle of violence.
On January 21, 2013 we lost Harlan Smith, educator, world citizen, peace activist, friend and leader. Harlan Smith's legacy will continue to impact thousands of young people and instill in them the desire to become the builders of a better world. What more could one ask for?
Let me tell you about this wonderful man. Harlan was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1914. During his sophomore year in high school he won second place in a peace essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In the essay, entitled "Heroes of Peace," Harlan reached the conclusion that a world government would be desirable to bring peace to the world. It set him on a trajectory that would guide him for the rest of his life.
While attending the University of Chicago, Smith joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a religious pacifist group formed initially by pastors from both sides during World War I and took the Oxford Oath not to participate in war.
After Pearl Harbor he secured a position with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Postwar Division in order to finance an anticipated stay in a conscientious objector camp during the war. He obtained conscientious objector status in 1943 and entered a conscientious objector camp run by the American Friends Service Committee in Big Flats, New York.
North Korea's latest nuclear test highlights the limits of what the United Nations and its member states can do when an outlaw nation is determined to run roughshod over existing international laws. Policymakers and diplomats in Washington, DC and at the UN are scrambling for a way to respond to the young dictator Kim Jong Un's latest delinquency. The bottom line is that North Korea's latest nuclear blast shows just how reliant we are on an effective global network of institutions and laws; and how relatively weak that network still is. Kim Jong Un's nuclear tantrum should be seen not only as a threat, but as a clear message that we need a cooperative global system with the capacity and means to ensure a safer future for us all. And we are not there yet.
This year I came up with the best Valentine's Day gift ever for my wife and daughter. It's inexpensive and, unlike a bouquet of flowers, should last beyond their lifetimes. They'll love it! I can't think of a better way to express how much I love them.
Rather than chocolates or jewelry, I am going to join a One Billion Rising rally to end the violence against women that has shattered lives and torn the fabric of societies around the world.
A billion women - one out of every three on the planet - will be raped or beaten sometime in their lifetime. That's one billion moms, sisters, daughters, and friends violated, one billion lives shattered, one billion hearts broken, and one billion reasons to rise up and put an end to this violence.
On February 14, rallies around the world are giving a billion women, and those who love them, an opportunity to dance, speak out and say, "Enough!" There are many ways to make a difference, but here in the United States we have a 32-year-old obligation that I'm focused on: Senate passage of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
When will climate change become a priority? Probably, when war, rape, and child suffering no longer exist. Unfortunately, however, these horrible tragedies are perpetuated by the effects of climate change. As the earth's climate warms, insecurity in First and Third World countries rises. As a result, now is the time to focus on climate change so that we can prevent future starvation and suffering.
Unfortunately, it is easy for Congress to push the formation of legislation that eases the effects of climate change aside. Climate change feels distant; guns and budget cuts are pressing issues today. Congress won't get re-elected on issues that we aren't yet feeling the full effects of. However, in his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama stepped up to the plate and renewed the United States' commitment to respond to climate change.
You also agree that climate change must be a priority in President Obama's second term. A survey conducted by Global Solutions.org members and supporters shows that Americans sill care about the issues surrounding climate change. Members and supporters rated climate change and the environment the highest priority issue for GlobalSolutions.org to focus on in 2013.
As crises continue in Mali and Syria, Better World Campaign (BWC) released the latest bipartisan poll of American perceptions of the United Nations.
According to BWC's findings, "Eight in 10 voters say it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the United Nations, and further that it is in America's best interest to continue to actively support the UN."
In addition, 93 percent of Americans believe it is important that the U.S. be a member of the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is the global health authority for the United Nations providing leadership on setting health standards, research, monitoring health situations and preventing disease outbreak. The United States' funding for the WHO is in danger. The U.S. is legally required to cut funds to any UN agency that recognizes a Palestinian state and Palestine is expected to bid for membership in May at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. "While the Obama Administration has no flexibility to waive the law, Congress has the power to grant the President waiver authority," says BWC.
A young girl was "gang-raped and forced to stagger home naked-heightening her shame in a society where modesty is so valued." This is a statement from an International Rescue Committee (IRC) report recently released on the crisis in Syria, almost two years after the uprising in the country first started. The international community must step up its response to one of the world's humanitarian crises and devote more funding and support to neighboring countries and agencies operating in the region.
Unimaginable brutality is occurring in Syria as the world stands by, desperately trying to figure out how to manage a peaceful transition in the country. The death toll in Syria has reached an estimated 60,000 and more than 620,000 refugees have already fled the country. Fear of escalating tragedies mounts as Foreign Policy reports that according to a secret State Department cable, Syria used Agent 15, a chemical weapon that causes paralysis, on its people on December 23, 2012. If it is indeed true that Syria used chemical weapons on its citizens, then the crisis has escalated even further.
Some may call it "hopelessly naïve" but no one can say that Google Chariman Eric Schmidt's four day trip to North Korea, where he was photographed walking through the streets surrounded by North Korean people, did not have an impact on the mindsets of people ordinarily closed off to the outside world. For more than half a century, North Korea has maintained its tightly state-controlled system and built up its nuclear weapons program, keeping foreign invaders at bay, while millions of its citizens are at the same time dying from food shortages. The United States government has, understandably, hesitated to act; however, it is about time we let somebody else try to negotiate with the Kim dynasty.
Does NRA stand for "No Rational Argument"? In response to the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the gun group's CEO called for an armed cop in every school and a national database to track the mentally ill. Wayne LaPierre's widely broadcast proposal prompted the New York Daily News to ask whether this list "should include the paranoid, delusional man himself?"
But this is far from a laughing matter. When it comes to gun violence within the United States and around the entire world, the NRA makes our planet a much more dangerous place for our children and families by using lies, misinformation, and political arm-twisting to support easier access to assault weapons and ammunition.
In the days and weeks to come, debates will rage within the United States on how we can best address the 30 mass shootings that, since 1999, have left over 260 people dead and many more permanently disabled. The NRA will work hard to derail attempts in statehouses and in the nation's Capitol to tighten controls on the assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. But in New York, there's another debate brewing where the NRA will also attempt to play the role of spoiler: the upcoming negotiations at the United Nations to establish a worldwide Arms Trade Treaty. The gun group's antics could impact the lives of millions around the world.
On December 10th, Human Rights Day, we lost a wonderful friend and leader. Floyd Ramp was a great supporter of human rights and world peace. During World War II he served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific where he witnessed the testing of the atomic bomb and the devastation wrought in Japan. He became committed to world peace and developing the laws and institutions to make it possible.
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