Gary Dorrien's spring Century
article, which argued for economic as well as political democracy, whetted
my appetite for the book that part of it was adapted from: Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice.
From 1995-2005, 2 million child soldiers were killed and 6 million permanently disabled or injured. An estimated 300,000 children (younger than 18) are currently serving as soldiers. Some have joined voluntarily out of economic desperation or for their own safety; others have been forcibly recruited by rebel forces. Still others have been by recruited by recognized sovereign governments—and eight of the nine such governments receive military assistance from the U.S.
The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has come and gone, and the storm’s devastation continues to take its toll—sometimes in ways that are the consequence of human negligence, indifference, incompetence and just plain stinginess.
On a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I visited the historic complex of Buddhist and Hindu temples at Angkor, near the city of Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. The temples are spread out over 40 square miles; on a two-day look-see, one can do scant justice even to the major ones, such as the 12th-century Angkor Wat, generally considered the greatest masterpiece of Khmer architecture.
Canned hunts constitute a burgeoning industry, in part because old-fashioned hunting in the wild has become more difficult—a consequence of diminishing ranges and herds and the encroachment of suburbia and exurbia. At present there are at least 1,000 canned-hunt operations in the U.S. (if bird preserves—which release birds just in time for the hunter to shoot at them—are included, the number is closer to 3,000).It is also a highly profitable industry. Here’s what the hunter pays: Axis deer, $1,350; Aoudad sheep, $1,500; buffalo, $3,000; elk, $3,500 and up; red sheep, $4,500.
Things seem to be looking up for Nepal. On November 21, the government signed a peace accord with Maoist rebels, thus ending an 11-year conflict that claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people. Also in 2006, King Gyanendra, fearing that he might be forced to abdicate, relinquished the absolute power he had seized in 2005 and reinstated multiparty democracy in the Himalayan country.
Walking toward Chicago’s Federal Plaza a few months ago, I saw what appeared to be a rather large aggregate of people engaging in aerobic exercises. On closer inspection, however, the group—many of them of Chinese background—proved to be performing the slow-motion rituals of the spiritual movement known as Falun Gong, which claims a worldwide following of around 100 million.