Shallow Rant [en]

  • Why is everybody looking at America united against terrorism, when it is the most normal reaction or a community against a common ennemy?
  • Why does America, once again (cf. Pearl Harbour), seem to move only when it has been kicked in the shins? Terrorism isn’t new, lots of nations will tell you that.
  • Why does the official response from America seem to be “who, how, when, how can we make them pay”, instead of “why? what brings about terrorism?”
  • Why are people so prone to generalizing, putting others into categories, and reacting in a racist manner instead of understanding that all Muslims are not terrorists, just as all Americans are not Unabomber?
  • Why has W insisted on dramatizing the situation in his speeches, speaking of war, of revenge, of injustice, giving fuel to people’s anger instead of contributing to calm spirits?

These are all rhetorical questions, of course.

Afghanistan [en]

A month or so back, I wrote about RAWA. I really recommend that you have a look at their site, if you are interested in pre-attack information about Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Thoughts… [en]

…on the current events. They might well be totally unrealistic (you know how bad I am with politics and economy), but nevertheless.

First of all, let’s remember what Kristin was saying during the Kaycee affair: things will be accepted as true because they have been heard or repeated over and over again, rather than because they make rational sense. This is the principle which allows urban legends to spread—and this is the reason media coverage is so crucial for public opinion.

People are repeating that if the US do not react (understand: strike, attack, military), it is opening the door to more terrorist actions in the future. This is being repeated so much that nobody puts the statement into question—but I definitely think it should be. I don’t believe that aggression in return for aggression is the best solution (or the only one, for that mattter).

It makes much more sense to turn to the inside, concentrating on the security issues and politics which have brought about such a situation, rather than rush into military action and bomb terrorist camps in retaliation. Vengeance makes one look weak.

Force used as a response to force can only lead to escalation of violence, particularly in a world where more than one nation has the necessary power to blow up the whole planet.

At first I was worried (like many people, I guess) that the US would react in a stupid way. I think that as time goes by, anger will cool down, and the risk of some disastrous response will become less.

As for Bush, it seems that this tragedy may in some way be a stroke of luck as far as his career is concerned. Look at the polls: 86% of americans (or something like that) approve his handling of the crisis. From a president who was not convincing to many, he has turned into a hero. This is clearly a case of what Thomas Nagel calls “moral luck”. Outside circumstances are giving him a chance to turn otherwise doubting public opinion into his favor.

Culture [en]

Juste une note. Comme le relève Karl aujourd’hui, on peut se poser la question de l’autonomie de la culture et de ses sources de financement.

A l’UNIL, le financement privé des chaires et des enseignements fait tout doucement son apparition – à  la grande inquiétude de la communauté, en sciences humaines particulièrement. Je crois vraiment que l’éducation est un domaine qui devrait rester le plus indépendant possible des enjeux commerciaux et économiques pour les groupements privés.