Tuesday, March 18, 2003

O man--just listened to Bush's address...so utterly depressing! I don't want us to be doing this, we're going about it all wrong, it's not necessary and there are other, better ways to do it anyway...and we're being so totally hypocritical, and nobody in charge seems to be paying any attention to the other side. I mean, okay. I'm not opposed to military action under any circumstances. People like, say, Hitler need to be stopped, and really the only way to do it is militarily. And military pressure can be a useful tool, used right. And Saddam is a bad man, and I wouldn't be sorry to see him go. But on this whole Iraq thing, we are SO WRONG! Like...over here there are articles all over the place about how Haliburton, Cheney's company, has won the contracts to manage Iraqi oil after this whole 'war' thing is over...horrible! How can they even pretend this isn't about money when American companies (and ONLY American companies) are already dividing up the spoils of war? Okay, sure, military threat, etc. But I noticed oil was like the first thing Bush mentioned--'DON'T BURN YOUR OIL WELLS! Oh, and also please don't launch biological weapons or anything.' And so much of the logic is so wrong--we will not be blackmailed, we will not be issued ultimatums, but if WE start issuing ultimatums, oh, well, we're allowed, you see. And of course we're allowed to have chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but we get to say who else is. And the administration has alienated itself from pretty much everybody in the WORLD--and they don't care one little bit. I mean, I'm not opposed to military action against Iraq under any circumstances, but...these circumstances are wrong in just SO many ways... It makes me so sad/depressed/angry/ashamed. I don't want to be ashamed of my country, geez! But on this I am, muchly so. I mean...I just can't get over how little the administration cares about international affairs, and how little it cares about and respects other countries and other peoples. And how much damage it has done! I mean, if they were cunning-evil, I'd at least respect them. But this is just utter stupidity/willful ignorance/pigheadedness. And it's costing SO MUCH! How could such stupid policies cause so much damage? I mean...we're talking at least 50 years of carefully laid diplomatic policies and hard-won alliances and stuff completely undone in just two years, not by some devious, cunning evil mastermind who's been carefully plotting all this for years, but by a small group of very short-sighted people who just don't care. They don't care about the international community, they don't care about what has come before them, they don't seem to care much about what will come after...they don't care about the economy, or the poor, or the unemployment rate, or the deficit, or the environment, or...anything, really, so long as they can do what they like, never mind what anybody else--at home or abroad--thinks. I can't get over it, I can't stand it, I can't do anything about it. I mean, I can (and will) vote when the time comes, and can, like, write letters to the editor and stuff, but...nobody in charge seems to be listening. It sucks, man.

On a slightly different note, I think this whole thing has brought out some big weaknesses in the UN that need to be changed somehow if it's going to survive long-term. Like the whole veto power thing--you can't have, like, international unity if you've got these huge unchanging power blocks who can basically do whatever they want. And there's really no mechanism by which UN resolutions can be enforced--from my Model UN days, I remember an awful lot of our efforts to write resolutions that didn't violate national sovereignty ended in 'inspections' and 'investigative committees' and stuff, with really no plans of action to take after further investigations had been made--because investigating things was really all we could DO. Well, that and like negotiating and stuff...and we came up with all sorts of agreements, but there was really no way to see that any of the concerned parties abided by them. And that's a pretty big problem.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Rrrr, I am teeeething! Stupid wisdom teeth, argh. I am chewing gum like mad. Unfortunately, I have exhausted my supply, so I'll have to pick more up tomorrow.

Other than that, everything's great--had a fantastic week last week, had a fun weekend, goodstuff. Last week one of my flatmates had a birthday, which we celebrated twice because she had a friend over that weekend. --She got two cakes, the lucky thing! We went out clubbing and stuff that weekend, and I actually enjoyed it, much to my surprise. Then Tuesday was Pancake Day (kinda like Mardi Gras, but with pancakes instead of drunkenness, and no happy beads or cool masks.) Strange things, British pancakes--they're so flat! And big as a plate, so they roll stuff up in them and eat them like burritos. I had a chocolate one and a banana and ice cream one--tasty tasty! And this weekend was all quiet and relaxed--we went to the science center and ran around gleefully pushing buttons, then watched movies and played pool till 3 am. And last night more of the same. Funstuff. I am muchly looking forward to spring break, which is in...two weeks, I guess. Wow. So soon!

Friday, March 07, 2003

Today (well, yesterday, now) I sat down in the library to read in between classes. I went with a friend of mine from Medieval History after we got out of our lecture, so we found desks that were situated next to each other and settled in to read...and after she left to go to her next lecture, I noticed that there was a big stack of books on her desk (left by somebody else before we got there). Being a generally curious person, I investigated...and they turned out to be all about Judaism and history. Well, one of the essay topics for my Medieval History class is something about Judaism, and I'd been kind of toying with the idea of doing it...so I picked up one of the books and started reading. ...Aaaand within about the first two paragraphs, as my brain attempted to gather what it knew about the subject to provide some context, I realized that I had very little knowledge to draw on. --I mean, I've got a little bit of sort of prechristian/time of Christ stuff, but between that and the Holocaust my knowledge can be neatly summed up as "they were moneylenders, yo." So, in short...I must learn more of this! --And also, like, the eastern church and stuff--in talking to my cypriot flatmate, I have come to realize I know little about that, too. Hearing about it from her has been quite interesting...the cypriot dialect of Greek is apparently the closest one to ancient Greek, so they still have their sermons and everything in ancient Greek, and read the Bible in that language, too. She is completely baffled by the Reformation and the whole Protestantism thing, and seems to assume that most people here are united in one religion (though of course lots don't practice).

Heh...nothing could be farther from the truth, really. It's really bizarre in some ways, living here after having spent the last 10 years of my life in the South. Most people here just seem to assume religion is either (1) outdated, or (2) distasteful. So bizarre. I keep finding myself in English lectures where the prof says, "I wonder what it would be like to have faith," and then saying something that's so obviously...hmm. I mean, it's just immediately obvious from the way he (and this was true of my last English prof, as well) speculates about what it's like to Have Faith that he hasn't spent much time around people who actually do. And it's really strange being in those classes, cos whereas I'm used to an environment where most people take this God stuff really seriously and the atheists and the agnostics mostly keep a low profile, here it's quite the opposite, and it's the religious who are guarded and careful about what they say. --There's always the one timid hand that goes up, followed by a very nervous-sounding 'Well, actually...' and a baffled silence as the rest of the class mulls it over. And my flatmates! --Well, one is Greek Orthodox and seems fairly devout, and a couple went to Sunday school when younger, but...every time anything comes on the TV that even looks like it might possibly be of a religious nature, they immediately recoil in distaste and scramble for the remote--too soon to actually see what the show really is. Once it turned out to be a popular awards show that happened to feature one vaguely gospel-style performance...they were convinced it was televangelism at work, and quickly changed channels. Since it was like 8:30pm on a Thursday, I was skeptical, and as there was nothing else on we eventually turned back... --It's just all so weird!