Friday, January 21, 2011

Human Rights Doublespeak

Qaddafi holding forth on human rights at the UN
This will be a busy Friday, but I wanted to post a few very interesting articles that convey how the term 'human rights' has been subject to constant re-branding by the world's demagogues and their followers. 

First up is today's UN Watch's piece in the NY Daily News and it serves as a good intro to the issues at hand: Human Rights Rogues are Unfit to Serve.

Next are two pieces by Robert L. Bernstein, founder and former president of Human Rights Watch.

His Op-Ed in the NY Times: Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast and a longer but profound elucidation of his critique, Human Rights in the Middle East, a lecture given at the University of Nebraska. 

And here is where we get to an excellent example of actual doublespeak: Stephen Kinzer, a formerly sane journalist who got lost on the dark side: End Human Rights Imperialism NowIn this he argues that, "Groups such as Human Rights Watch have lost their way by imposing western, 'universal' standards on developing countries."

Here is Sohrab Ahmari riposte to Kinzer's absurd claims: Beware those Who sneer at 'Human Rights Imperialism.

Finally, and where would we be without the post-colonial, feminist view wherein we are told that we mustn't sensationalize honor killings? Read this critique by Phyllis Chesler: The Feminist Politics of Islamic Misogyny.

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