August 13, 2008

There is a big world out there

I started and stopped writing blog entries all day. I can't figure out which direction to go - do I talk about my day trip to Rotterdam and all the wild architecture in that city, how it reminds me of being in a US city because it's so shiny and new?

Or maybe I should recommend another great cinema/performing arts space/bar/arts venue - the Illuseum, where I saw an interesting movie this past Saturday night that was filmed entirely with mobile phone cameras. It's a small space, very intimate, and there was a feeling that everyone there really cared about the space and wanted to be there. I can't say I loved the movie, but I'm really happy I went.

And I could go on and on about the amazing motorcycle ride I went on with two friends last night. We were outside of the city and zooming around in the middle of nowhere (well, Amsterdam Nord, which feels like the middle of nowhere) at 100kph (62mph), and it was the most fun I've had in ages. Being able to get out of the city so quickly and see farms, cows, sheep, and old windmills - this is what I love about living in Amsterdam.

So I could elaborate on any of those topics, but tonight I really just want to encourage anyone who might be reading to please pay attention to what is going on in the world outside of your home city/town/village. There's a war going on in Georgia that shares its headlines in newspapers with the Olympics - the Olympics which are being held in a country that has so many human rights violations I wouldn't even know where to begin, and you know what really bothers me about that? For months and months, protests against the Olympics were making news and headlines and all my friends were talking about it. People were paying attention to Tibet again, people were talking about China, and it seemed like a good thing - I firmly believe that just simply paying attention is one of the most important things we can do, if we can't be out there actually trying to save the world.

But now the Olympics have started, and everyone just wants to talk about who is winning what. I'm not saying don't watch the Olympics or enjoy the games, but come on! Let's not forget all those months of protests that happened all over the world. Let's not bury the stories of protesters in China somewhere at the bottom of the page, let's keep talking about it.

And let's not let the twenty-four hour Olympic coverage distract us from the fact that Russian tanks are rolling down the streets of Georgia again. The United States was always such a big Georgia supporter, but hey Georgia, thanks for sending your troops to Iraq to fight in a bullshit war and being so pro-USA all the time, but as it turns out when you guys are getting attacked by a country ten zillion times the size as you, we're just going to sit waaaaay over here in the West and say "we think war is bad, it sure would be nice if Russia could stop invading you guys, huh? Oh, did you maybe want our support? Sorry, we're a little busy killing Iraqis over in the middle east, maybe next time."

I know that most people who read this blog don't come here for political commentary, so I'll keep it brief. I do have a list of links on the right-hand side of this blog under the "News, Education, and Politics" heading, and for what my recommendation is worth, I think sources like Al Jazeera English, the daily podcast from The Guardian, and of course Democracy Now are all good places for information. Another habit I'm glad to have picked up again is actually reading the newspaper every day (thanks to my job, we get at about 10 different newspapers every day in Dutch and English).

As always, I really do appreciate everyone who reads and comments. I'll try to be a little more uplifting in my next post.

1 comment:

Toby Douglass said...

There's absolutely no way the US is going to get significantly involved in defending Georgia.

It's a matter of pure national interest; it is in the interest of Georgia to buddy up to the US because they're threatened by Russia. It is not in the interest of the US to go to the line against Russia for the sake of Georgia.

Imagining this is so is dangerous - it's this kind of wishful mutual defence thinking which Woodrow Wilson imposed on Europe after WW1 and which led to WW2.

Russia is appallingly awful in so many ways; if we're going to deal with it we need to do things which will work.