Tag Archives: Michael Anthony Moynihan

We Can Do It Together

I know you all have seen the lyrics and heard the song that I have been working on for this #Diaspora and #Apartheid research project. 

The purpose is two fold:


(1) To get the message out in a different medium than the tradition essays and articles &

(2) to draw attention to fundraiser so that I can afford this project.

I know that you all believe in and support me and the things that I am fighting for because I am fighting for all of us and for a better tomorrow. The truth though, is that I cannot do it alone and I need you help to make this possible.

I also know how it is, sometimes money is tight and if it is, then I certainly do not want you to hurt yourself and I am not asking you to. What you could do for me though is share the link to the fundraiser with you people and ask them for their support; that would go a long way in helping me.

On the other hand, if everyone I know chips in $10, then the research would be fully funded.

I potentially have some scholarships that I will be awarded, but as of yet I have not heard anything. The only way this research may be possible is with your help.

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

The song I put together can be listened to and downloaded for #Free @:

https://soundcloud.com/renaissance-the-poet/do-i-doom-my-kids-to-poverty-1 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

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Quake

There is a quake in the belly of a demon called love

fixed on your presence

well

because your beauty is not enough

there is no compliment

that will settle and rest

neither word nor phrase

will capture your essence

only these fragmented pieces of your fantastic puzzle

casting dazzling questions of enchantment

rose petals to the feast

and eyes to the dawn of conception

while lies lie still

bundled up in your satchel of wheat untasted

and death be not what it is

fore to die to what was

is but to live again

and am I

not but the touch that longs to feel

and do I not

stand in the furnace that houses the blue flame

and plead for you to pluck me with your thorn

to tear me limb from limb

to mend me

to you

my pulse

in the womb of true love

yes

there is a quake in the belly of a demon called love

and how you threaten to consume me whole.

Do I Doom My Kids To Poverty?

Verse #1

 

I have to find a way to make these ends meet

I’ve got myself, my wife and three kids to feed

Now this wouldn’t be a problem, if there was work to be done

But the Dictator, confiscated, at the point of a gun

The resources, that we need, to keep, our families fed

And we’re lacking Agriculture because the Markets are dead

Not because we can’t farm, but rather, because these Subsidized

U.S. Industries, have straight up neutralized us

But Irrigation, will only suffice, if and when there is Rain

But now, we’re dealing Droughts, as one of the effects, of Climate Change

And we can’t rely on aid because that mess is a curse

And The Coups and Civil Wars for power make matters worse

My baby’s crying, screaming cuz she needs something to eat

And I feel like half-a-man because I am living in defeat

I’ve got nothing to give because there is nothing to get

But, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

Verse #2

 

Immigrating, is easier said than done

Cuz it seems that everything is set to keep us where we’re from

Passports, Visas, Customs, and on and on

And everything costs the type of Money we ain’t got

Our options for a better life are limited and dangerous

Trudging Deserts, crammed in Ships, jumping barbed and guarded Fences

Risking life and Health, to get at better Chances

Suffering, is nothing new, but here ain’t got the answers

My daughter wants to go to School so she can learn to Read

Cuz she wants to be a Scientist to make sure all can eat

But, that will only happen, if we make it to the West

And as her father all I want is to give the best

But protected, their Feudal Privilege, keeping us at odds

Walls to Separate us, Segregated by the Laws

So, yes it’s Illegal, and it’s Dangerous

But, Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it.

 

 

Verse #3

 

So say we make it, beat the odds, this is what we’re facin’

Alien status, like we’re not humans from this race and

We don’t bleed the same when beaten for tying

To take advantage of Opportunities you squander, while lying

Claiming that you care, but don’t want us sharing

Land, Food, Work, or Health Caring

And instead make departments like the I.C.E.

And Detention Camps to stop us from being free

Where we’re tortured, starved, deprived of Human Rights

Forced Free Labor and Deported at night

Shipped back from whence we came, like, that is more humane

As if to say, we deserve the cards laid

And my daughter deserves to not be educated

My son deserves to starve, and I to live depraved

But there is a small hope that we just might make it

So, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

 

To Help Me Fund My #Diaspora and #Apartheid Research, Please Follow the Link Below:

 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

 

For More Information on Diaspora and Apartheid, Please Follow the Links Below:

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

Thanks to the several contributions thus far for my research project this summer, I am starting to pull close to the cost of the plane ticket. As you may be aware, the earlier that I can purchase the ticket the cheaper it will be and the better likelihood that there will actually be a seat when I need there to be a seat. Right now, depending on the negotiation that I can do with the airlines and booking agencies, the cost is approximately $1,500 for round-trip fare, but that will increase over time.

I need your help to get to Athens to perform my research on the impacts of immigration; #diaspora and #apartheid. So, please click the link below and give what you can:   

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

Thank you so much for your love and support:

Carradin MichelDerek WhitneyJess SpearCarter CaseJanet Hoppe-Leonard,Luzviminda MarcotteCody LestelleSharran MoynihanSarra Tekola, and Roman Richards 

For more information about Diaspora and Apartheid please follow the link below:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

Feudal Privilege and Global Apartheid

“Citizens in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent of feudal privilege–an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthright privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.”

~Joseph Carens (Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, 1987, p. 252)

There is a sharp divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” and it is morally arbitrary, in that there is nothing that people do before they are born that entitles them to the life-chances that they have after they are born. Such as, education, employment, and access to fresh food and clean water.

Is it just to deny people access to these essential needs solely based on the consideration of where they were born, the caste they were born into (which is typically based on skin-color), or the class they were born into? I do not think it is just in any definition of the word.

However, that is precisely what is going on with this feudal privilege. What has essentially been created is a “city on a hill,” that is not only protected by walls, but a vast military institution that cuts down and shreds those who attempt to gain access to what we in America consider basic #needs and #rights. In effect, what this is, is #GlobalApartheid, the forced segregation of vast portions of our civilization, which is exacerbated by the treatment these people receive for attempting to improve their life-chances

These are precisely the types of issues that I will be confronting during my research this summer during my JSIS/Hellenic Studies program focused on #Diaspora and#Apartheid. Please share, and consider contributing whatever you believe that you can afford, so that together we can ensure that #HumanRights are being protected.

 

Help Me Pay for Diaspora and Apartheid Research in Athens this Summer

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

 

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by theUniversity of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how apartheid and diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

The program is further designed to immerses students in the Greek language and culture. It is a twelve credit, five week program consisting of three University of Washington courses: JSIS 11–Introduction to Greek; JSIS 488–Tourism in Greece; JSIS 499–Independent Research on Global Apartheid. The program also provides the students with a sufficient understanding of the Greek language to survive and function in Greece as a non-resident.

For further information about diaspora and apartheid check out:

Diaspora and Apartheid: Study Abroad Research

 

The Benefits of the Program:

 

Participating in this program will benefit me by providing an opportunity to experience other cultures firsthand, engage in a practical research project and learn more about issues of global justice.

This opportunity is particularly important because not only am I a first generation college student, but I will also be the first in my family to travel outside of the United States since my grandfather was in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s. My mother, who provides for my residence and food, is a house-keeper and can barely afford to help me through college. The rest of my family, if they can work, work in some aspect of the service industry and subsist on meager incomes, so they can also not contribute much but emotional and mental support for my education. Yet, even with all of their help the only reason I am able to afford the cost of tuition and books is because of financial aid and loans, but those resources do not cover much else. So, any contribution that you can make will help this opportunity, with all of its many benefits to myself, my family, my education and most importantly, to those suffering from diaspora and apartheid; to become reality.

For an example of the impacts of study abroad on both the individual and the community, please follow this link: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1108274

Life Goals:

 

My goal in life is to design a sustainable, environmentally sound and socially equitable system based on justice that transcends the stratification of nation-states, individuals and corporations, and takes into account the fact that we all share one pool of resources. This is an incredible goal, and perhaps even utopian, but I believe it is both achievable and practical and I have planned my education to prepare me for the task.

To accomplish this goal I have begun my journey by double-majoring in history and philosophy at the University of Washington, whereby I am learning about the strengths and weaknesses of previous civilizations and their socio-economic systems, as well as the ethical frameworks that sustained them. After earning a bachelor’s degree I plan to earn a law degree because the system I am going to help to design will require intense negotiation to derive a written law that will be internationally acceptable. Given the delicate nature of those negotiations and the networking that will be necessary to accomplish my goal, my plan is to work for, with and through the United Nations because it is the most reputable international institution in existence that shares my objectives and that will provide me with access to global decision makers.

 

This Program Will Help Me to Achieve these Goals By:

 

As a History major one of my objectives is the evaluation of how culture evolves over time. So, the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program will have several highly beneficial impacts on my education at the University of Washington, as well as, long into my future career. One of the primary functions and most attractive characteristics of all study abroad programs is the opportunity to experience other cultures. However, I am from a family who is not well-off and I have neither traveled outside of the United States, nor have I had the opportunity to experience another culture. This program will provide me with this invaluable experience and since it has a basis of historical analysis it will allow me to apply what I am learning as well as bolstering my continued education of other cultures. Most importantly, it will help me to develop a perspective that is not solely American, which is vital in a globalizing world wherein, the interaction between people of different states and cultures is steadily increasing.

A further benefit the program will have is the research and analytic experience it will provide me. Not only will this benefit my education at the University of Washington as a history student, but also as I progress through my goals to work in the United Nations. The accurate writing of history sometimes entails performing interviews of people who have experienced some event, so having this experience will benefit my studies in this manner. I can also see the practical application of this after I begin working for the United Nations, when I will need accurate and contemporary, qualitative information to make informed decisions about actions and policy. The Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program is specifically designed to help me develop these skills.

I am interested in the definition, justification and implementation of justice, which is why I am double majoring in Philosophy. Immigration and a state’s right to regulate its borders are huge components of the philosophical discussion of global justice, which entails the rights of immigrants whether legal migrants or not. This program will put us up front and personal with the global justice issues of apartheid and diaspora in a region that at this pivotal point in my life and education, I would not otherwise be able to take part in. It will also thereby, allow me to participate in seeking solutions to these issues head on with and for the people most affected by them and to educate the people who can make a difference in their lives. It is one thing to read about issues in a history, sociology, or global justice course, and it is quite another to actually take part in the research that makes a positive impact in peoples’ lives, which is the reason that I am in school.

 

Expenses:

 

Program Fee                                                         $4,500
UW Study Abroad Insurance                        $     80
UW Study Abroad Fee:                                     $    300
Food                                                                           $1,500
Spending Cash                                                     $1,500
Roundtrip Airfare                                                $2,000

Total:                                                   $9,880

I have developed the budget after talking to the program director Dr. Lagos and the program advisor Katherine Kroeger. For a large portion of the program we will be staying in dorms at the Deree College, but for some of the program we will also be staying in hotels. The costs of the hotels and travel have been included into the line item Spending Cash, which is an amount that is recommended by the program. The program also estimates that the average daily cost of food, which is not included in the Program Fee is approximately $34/day and I have calculated an approximation of what that will cost for the entire program. I have also priced and cross-referenced round-trip airfare from Seattle to Greece, and the cost is approximately $1,700 if the ticket were to be purchased now. However, given the volatility of the market I have added $300 to that line item so that I can be prepared for an increase in price at the time of purchase.

I am confident that this trip will not only make a dramatic impact in my life but also an impact in the lives of all the people that I interact with in the future. And your help will make it possible for me to take part in the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program.

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

Other Important Pages Related to this Project:

My Study Abroad Pages:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

Discussion of the Issues with Diaspora and Apartheid:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

Other sources that I have applied to for funding of this Study Abroad Research:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

http://gilmanprogram.wordpress.com/

The University of Washington History Department Scholarships:

http://depts.washington.edu/history/undergraduate-studies/fellowships-scholarships-and-prizes-undergraduate-history-majors

Global Government: A Remedy to Collective Action Problems

All the states and all the individuals on the earth share one planet, with one finite pool of resources that everyone depends upon, yet there is no ultimate authority which has the jurisdiction and enforcement power to manage that finite pool of resources. Currently the world is composed of sovereign states that claim to have jurisdiction and enforcement power over their citizens and their territories, and they expect other states to honor the principle of non-intervention, thereby leaving each state to act autonomously in its own interest. However, I believe that each individual on this planet has an obligation to more than just the citizens of the state they happen to be from precisely because we all share a finite pool of resources, so each individual is responsible for how they use those resources because they directly affect everyone’s ability to use those resources. However, as will be shown, if states are allowed to remain autonomous, then there is greater incentive for each state to act in its own interests as oppose to cooperating with the other states to manage our finite pool of resources. For these reasons, I believe that we have a moral obligation to create a governing institution that has jurisdiction and enforcement power for the entire globe because there does not seem to be another way to manage our resources effectively.

The planet and all of its citizens are faced with problems that supersede the jurisdiction and enforcement power of any individual state or group of states, and currently there is no governmental agency or entity with the authority to mitigate these problems. According to David Held, since the signing of the Westphalia treaty in 1648, states have operated on two principles; sovereignty and non-intervention.[1] Held also goes through great effort to establish the point of globalization by showing that as states have expanded, populations have grown, and new technologies have emerged; that the decisions and actions now made and taken have impacts that increasingly cross borders  and affect more than just the citizens of a self-contained, sovereign state and its citizens.[2] The easiest example and perhaps the least refutable example of this phenomenon that can be made, is in the case of pollution, or environmental effects. Peter Singer notes in his chapter One Atmosphere,  “that Britain’s Sellafield nuclear power  plant is emitting radioactive wastes that are reaching the Norwegian coastline,”[3] which although is just one example, should serve to establish that the actions of one state can and often do affect other states. Yet, while Singer uses this example to show that there is an international law which allows suits to be brought against states for affecting other states, there still remains yet to be over-arching jurisdiction and enforcement power to stop such actions from happening in the first place. The current situation between states resembles a Prisoner’s Dilemma, and I think the problem is the structure of the system because when every individual and state is in competition for limited resources (land, fuel, energy, potable water, clean air, food, etc…), even though the best outcome for all is to be found in cooperation, there is no reason to trust that the other agents will not defect and “free-ride” on the efforts of the rest.[4]

The most practical and imaginable form of world government in the current political environment of the 21st Century, is a federation of states, or as Held called it, a “cosmopolitan community,” a democratic community of democratic communities.[5] States should exercise jurisdiction and enforcement power over the territory and the citizens they represent, and the federation should have jurisdiction and enforcement power to regulate the interaction between states and any action that may either, be taken by a state or the citizens of a state, that will have an impact beyond the state’s immediate jurisdiction. The closest contemporary example of what this federation could look like is the European Union, which has an EU council (representing states) and an EU parliament (representing citizens), but the states also retain absolute veto power.[6] At all levels of the federation, the federation would operate by democratic principles, wherein representatives are elected by the group they are directly responsible to.  And policy decisions would made by what Peter Singer called the principle of “subsidiarity,” whereby issues are managed “at the lowest level capable of dealing with the problem.”[7] Such an institution would thus have democratic accountability and the authority to address and mitigate the collective action problems individual sovereign states are now faced with.

However, there are obvious moral problems with forcing states and the citizens of those states to become a democratic society because it supersedes their right to plan their own future; their right to self-determination.  And as John Rawls, in The Law of Peoples (1993) identifies, there is the capacity for states to develop as “a well-ordered hierarchical society,” or in other words, not as a liberal society wherein all people are free and equal, but are not expansionists and the government derives its legitimacy from its citizenry.[8] The point Rawls made with the discussion of “well-ordered hierarchical societies” is that there are forms of government and society that do not fit the democratic model, but no less deserve to have their rights to self-determination respected. After the end of World War One, the British and French Mandate systems established at the Sam Remo Conference of 1920 were imposed on the Middle Eastern countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Under the guise of Wilsonian “Self-Determination” and a civilizing mission, Britain and France claimed to be assisting these Middle Eastern countries to become self-sufficient democratic societies, but did not anticipate the severity of opposition from the people in these diverse countries. The mandate system drew arbitrary borders and set up unequal systems of representation that did not represent the population, so, not only were people forced into political debate with others they had previously not debated with, but they also felt the pains of an unequal distribution of power that was primarily located in the hands of a minority population. Essentially, the problem was that the mandate system created a series of governments that had not achieved legitimacy because the people themselves neither selected the systems of government, nor the representatives. The imposition of Western forms democratic government upon hierarchical societies, was a recipe for disaster and led to a series of revolutions and counter revolutions in many of the countries that left thousands dead and futures uncertain.[9] Yet, my concern here is not how to influence or encourage non-democratic governments and societies to become democratic societies, it is to derive whether we have a moral obligation to form a global government. So, for the sake of argument, I will assume that societies and governments have not been coercively forced to become democratic, but have rather chosen of their own free-will as agents who have exercised their right to plan their own futures to become democratic societies.

Most proponents who believe that human rights and justice are important also believe that a democratic form of government is necessary to achieve those ends however they may differ in opinion in regard to the structure that government should assume. Some like, Will Kymlicka, while acknowledging that globalization is occurring, challenges the conception of a cosmopolitan citizenship by suggesting that although, “a new civil society” is emerging,” it has not yet produced anything that we can recognize as transnational citizenship.”[10]  The hinge-point of Kymlicka’s argument rest on his assertion that “democracy is not just a formula for aggregating votes, but is also a system of collective deliberation and legitimation,”[11] and since he believes that people decide to deliberate and share the “blessings and burdens”[12] of those political deliberations with people who share similar histories and circumstances, a cosmopolitan citizenship is not practical at this time because people will either choose not to participate or will be incapable of deliberating  on that broad of a scale. If this is true, then the system will fail to meet the necessary conditions of a democratic society of free and equal persons contributing to deliberations because only those who could communicate in a broad range of languages and felt comfortable enough to debate political issues would be party to the decisions made, and as such would not be just Kymlicka believes that making individuals citizens of a world government before they are ready to form one would undermine and potentially ruin the democratic process, which would entail not achieving the objectives of human rights and justice. Kymlicka does however assert that we should, as a civilization, be progressing toward a more cosmopolitan citizenship, especially in terms of the “principles of human rights, democracy, and environmental protection,” but does not believe it is achievable in our life –time.[13] He argues that although a greater territorial range of voters may influence a global government in some way, that the government “would cease to be accountable to citizens through their national legislatures,”[14] where democracy is “more genuinely participatory,”[15] it would essentially, form a tyranny of the majority over the minority. Kymlicka argues that the citizens who cannot take part in the cosmopolitan debate only have their local governments to appeal to, but if that local government’s authority is undermined and superseded by a transnational vote, then they lose the only agent capable of representing their interests internationally. Thus, unlike Held who argues in favor of a “cosmopolitan citizenship,” Kymlicka believes in a parochial democratic institution of government because states are not only responsible for, but are also accountable to and are thus responsive to their citizens’ needs. Whereas, a global government cannot be because the system has the inherent flaw of denying minority populations a voice in the decision making process, which would have the unintended effect of making the system unjust.

Kymlicka’s argument has merit and it is founded on a keen observation of human behavior and the desire to invoke the right to freedom of association. Perhaps the most pressing moral justification for individual states retaining autonomy, as opposed to a world government, is the concept of “Communities of Fate,” first presented by Held and furthered by Kymlicka. According to Kymlicka, “[p]eople belong to the same community of fate if they feel some sense of responsibility for one another’s fate, and so want to deliberate together about how to respond collectively to the challenges facing the community.”[16] Kymlicka draws the conclusion that it is impractical, and potentially impossible to expect individuals to be citizens of a global democracy because of the factors which constitute a “community of fate,” and because of the requirements for full democratic participation. The most compelling argument that he makes concerning the factors of a “community of fate” is about the language that people share, of which he argues that average people prefer to deliberate democratically in their native tongue and will opt out of multilingual transnational democratic deliberation.[17] This being the case, then the state, or as Kymlicka puts it, the “nation,” would feel the obligation of a special social contract with its citizens that it does not with the citizens of other states and as such, would be the most appropriate authority to have immediate jurisdiction and enforcement power.

Kymlicka concludes his argument by stating; “our democratic citizenship is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, national in scope,”[18] suggesting that a global government is unjustifiable because it is impractical at this time. However, even Peter Singer, who is a huge proponent of a global government with jurisdiction and enforcement power, agrees that we should not rush into federalism and instead suggests “a pragmatic, step-by-step approach to greater global governance.”[19] So, while Kymlicka successfully argues the point that “democratic politics is the politics in the vernacular,”[20] wherein citizens debate in the self-interest of their own nations and states, with those who speak their language, and without undermining the state’s accountability to its citizens; by drawing from his redefinition of “community of fate,” it can be shown that people within one state are more likely to feel a sense of obligation to citizens of their own state as oppose to another because they share a common identity, and I also think it serves to bolster Held’s concept of “multiple citizenship” within a “cosmopolitan model of democracy.”[21] Because if the global government was structured to operate on the principle of subsidiarity that Singer promotes, then citizens would still debate in the vernacular in parochial democratic bodies, and  function as democratic members of the cosmopolitan community managing issues greater than the states’ jurisdiction. Thus, it does appear that a practical and responsive global government can be conceived, and to potentially be structured to function in a way that responds to Kymlicka’s very serious and relevant concerns. What remains is to establish what obligation we as citizens of this planet have in terms of a global government.

Kymlicka astutely asserts that people in a community of fate feel a unique obligation to one another that they do not share with people of other communities of fate. However, entailed within that assertion is the implicit claim that there is not currently a global community of fate, and I disagree with that assumption because I believe it can be shown that we do. It would nonetheless be foolish to assume that we feel the same obligation to people that we have never met as we do with residents of our neighborhood. Yet, although a person living in Tripoli would not be obligated to prevent or promote the construction of a road in Denver, or vice-versa, because the construction of a single road is of little consequence to the other party, promoting or preventing total world annihilation, say from nuclear war, is quite a different story because the consequence of such an event is of great consequence to both parties. This makes intuitive sense because people tend to acknowledge that we as citizens of the planet have an obligation not to unjustly deprive people of their right to life. So, while Kymlicka is correct in asserting that parochial communities of fate share certain obligations, it is also the case that there are varying degrees of obligation depending on the circumstance in question. Thus, when issues have global ramifications and something can be done to prevent that which we share obligations to prevent; those who have a choice in the prevention of it also have the responsibility to prevent it.

If my argument has thus far been sound, then it follows that we as citizens of the planet have a responsibility to prevent the types of collective action problems that pose a threat to the entire globe. If that is the case, then we are responsible for the creation and implementation of some type of institution that can adequately prevent those collective action problems. While it is the case that states as sovereign entities do have the capacity to adequately address certain types of collective action problems, as has been shown, states also fall victim to the prisoner’s dilemma and have more incentive to defect than to cooperate and as such, are inadequate for addressing problems that pose a threat to the entire globe. That being the case, then the most practical alternative is to create a world government that has jurisdiction and enforcement power over states to address the types of collective action problems that pose a threat to the entire globe. An objection may be made here, one which appeals to transnational institutions, but transnational institutions have historically lacked the jurisdiction and enforcement power necessary to address these threats because states have been reluctant to relinquish their autonomy. Thus, unless we as a global community of fate decide to enhance the jurisdiction and enforcement power of “neutral third-party” transnational institutions, the only other viable option at this time to meet with our obligation is the creation of a world government composed of a federation of states, or as Held called it, a “cosmopolitan democracy.”

 

[1] Held, David. The Transformation of Political Community: Rethinking Democracy in the Context of Globalization, 87.

[2] Held, 92.

[3] Singer, Peter. One World: The Ethics of Globalization (One Atmosphere), 20.

[4] Gardiner, Steven M. A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption, 399.

[5] Held, 106

[6] European Union. (http://europa.eu/eu-law/decision-making/procedures/index_en.htm)

[7] Singer, Peter. One World: The Ethics of Globalization, (A Better World), 200.

[8] Rawls, John. The Law of Peoples (1993), 530.

[9] Cleveland, William L. and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. (Westview Press, 2013), chapters 9-13.

[10] Kymlicka, Will, 125.

[11] Kymlicka, Will, 119.

[12] Kymlicka, Will, 115.

[13] Kymlicka, Will, 125.

[14] Kymlicka, Will, 124.

[15] Kymlicka, 120.

[16] Kymlicka, Will, 115.

[17] Kymlick, 121

[18] Kymlicka, 125.

[19] Singer, Peter. One World: The Ethics of Globalization, (A Better World), 200.

[20] Kymlicka, 121.

[21] Held, 107

The Saint’s Lamp: A Critique of the Liberal Experiment in Egypt (1940’s)

Yahya Haqqi, the author of The Saints Lamp and Other Stories, originally published in 1944, was an Egyptian who wrote a novella that can be interpreted as a symbolic criticism of the Liberal Experiment in Egypt that followed World War I and, a comparison-contrast of the Wafd Party and the Muslim Brotherhood.[1] Haqqi presents the argument that the East and the West can and should be reconciled and he does this through his use of the less politically volatile examples of science and religion of an eye doctor in a small community, as oppose to political parties and Islamic religion at the level of the state and society. Furthermore, The Saint’s Lamp can be read as a criticism of the Liberal Experiment because Ismail, the protagonist of the story, struggles to reconcile the European education and values he brought back to Egypt after studying abroad with the Islamic traditions and values of his homeland.

It is difficult to place the exact time of the The Saint’s Lamp because many of the characteristics and patterns Haqqi notes existed in both the 19th and 20th Centuries, but the setting is not as important as its contextual meaning. It mentions that Ismail’s father, the narrator’s grandfather, moved to Cairo after the establishment of the Ministry of Public Works in the mid-late 19th Century, of trains and crowded ship yards, and mass migrations, which all point to a mid-20th Century setting. Thus, given the literary convention of utilizing similar events and symbols to provide commentary on contemporary circumstances, and given that The Saint’s Lamp was published in 1944, this suggests that Haqqi was critiquing the interwar period of Egypt wherein the Liberal Experiment was taking shape and both the Wafd Party (est. 1918-1924) and the Muslim Brotherhood (est. 1928) became primary actors in Egypt.[2]

The name of the protagonist, Ismail, is significant both because of its ties to Haqqi’s past and its relevance in 1944. Isma’il the Magnificent was a secular reformist in Egypt during the Tanzimat era of the mid-late 19th Century and his primary objective was the complete Europeanization of Egypt at the cost of subjugating Islamic traditions.[3] Similarly, Haqqi’s Ismail, after returning to Egypt from Europe to find it the victim of “ignorance, poverty, disease and age-long oppression,”[4] who saw Egyptians as a backward people who had forgotten their historical greatness, “was determined to deal to ignorance and superstition a mortal blow, even if that should cost him his life.”[5] However, the outcome of Isma’il the Magnificent’s reforms and infrastructural improvements led him to borrow substantial sums from foreign entities, then to a huge debt that led to the Urabi Revolt (1879-1882), and essentially to the British occupation of Egypt that utterly changed the state.[6] And Haqqi’s Ismail, returned to Egypt as an eye specialist to witness his mother treating his fiancé, Fatima’s diseased eyes in the (backward) traditional way with oil from the Saint, Umm Hashim’s Lamp.[7]  He exploded and revolted against both his family and the mosque that protected the lamp and was subsequently mauled by a mob for his revolt.[8] After which he decided to use the European method to fix her, but only succeeded in destroying her vision.[9] The name of the protagonist coupled with the historical relevance of Isma’il the Magnificent would potentially have had a resounding impact on the Egyptian people because it conveyed the conclusion Ismail draws; “There can be no science without faith,”[10] or more to the point that any Europeanization in Egypt without Islamic values guiding it was destined for failure. The name Ismail, had recent historical relevance that could have been seen to apply to the Liberal Experiment.

The prominent actor in Egypt in 1944 who exemplified the image of the destructive impact of Europeanization on Egyptian society is the Wafd Party. The leader of the Wafd Party, Sa’d Zaghlul, had a “European-style education” and the party was instrumental in the institution of an imported Western-style, secular democratic-parliamentary government, in 1924. [11] Because the Wafd Party championed the symbolic independence of Egypt the people voted them into office, but their support was short lived because they distanced themselves from the population by asserting that European civilization was superior to Egyptian civilization.[12] Reminiscent of Isma’il the Magnificent, the Wafd Party sought to supplant European Values for Islamic values, but instead of creating an independent and prosperous state, Egypt remained a pawn of Britain and furthered the divide between rich and poor. For these reasons, it seems probable that if Haqqi was a critiquing a contemporary actor, then it was the Wafd Party because they imported and set in juxtaposition the East and West as oppose to reconciling them.

On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as a prominent actor in response to the secularization of the country, and operated on the premise that in order for there to be political and social regeneration Islam had to be restored.[13] However, for them that did not mean the dissolution of Western influence in Egypt, but rather, a fusion of the technological and scientific advancements of the West with Islamic values. Haqqi agreed with their assertion, as was evinced by the transition he brings Ismail through unto the point that “[h]e return[s] to his science and medicine, but this time fortified by faith,” who was not only successful in restoring Fatima’s eye sight, but in healing many others because “[h]e relied first upon God, and secondly on his learning and the skill of his hands.”[14] In stark contrast to the Wafd Party who is symbolized by the Ismail who is reminiscent of Isma’il the Magnificent; the Muslim Brotherhood is symbolized by the Ismail who reclaimed his traditional values. The Muslim Brotherhood advocated that God should be the director of Egypt’s development, while implementing what they thought was useful to their society from the West. Thus, it seems clear that Haqqi believed the Muslim Brotherhood would be the actor who would lead the Egyptian people to the future they sought and heal the nation.

The Saint’s Lamp shows that both religion and science have their purposes, and also that neither is sufficient for Egyptians alone, but rather, that they must be implemented together to achieve their greatest potential. Yet, Haqqi is also warning his fellow Egyptians that if they learn science and technical skills from Europeans, then they risk losing their faith and trust in Islam while being indoctrinated with European values. However, the significance of the The Saint’s Lamp, or rather, Islamic values for Haqqi, is that they provide an understanding, which allows the Egyptian people to perceive how to successfully employ and reconcile science with religion, and further to reconcile government with the goals of an Egyptian society while maintaining those values.


[1] Yahya Haqqi, “The Saint’s Lamp” (1944, English trans. 1973), 1-38.

[2] Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. (Boulder: Westview Press, 2013), 180-185.

[3] Cleveland, 88.

[4] Yahya Haqqi, 22.

[5] Yahya Haqqi, 27.

[6] Cleveland, 88-93.

[7] Yahya Haqqi, 25.

[8] Yahya Haqqi, 26-30.

[9] Yahya Haqqi, 31-32.

[10] Yahya Haqqi, 36.

[11] Cleveland, 180-182.

[12] Cleveland, 184.

[13] Cleveland, 185.

[14] Yahya Haqqi, 37.