Tag Archives: colin lawrence

Trouble in Mindanao

Overview of the city as government forces attempt to free hostages from the MNLF

Overview of the city as government forces attempt to free hostages from the MNLF

COLIN LAWRENCE

A lot of blood has been shed in the last few weeks: suicide bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; shootings in Chicago, Kashmir, and Washington, DC; and hostage crises in Kenya and the Philippines. Some of these conflicts are well-known and well-publicized. Over 200 members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) entered Zamboanga City and seven neighboring districts, taking hostages and boarding themselves up in government buildings. The historical background of this conflict is less well-known but no less important.

The fighting between rebel groups, based in Mindanao, and the Filipino government has been going on since the late 1960s.  Continue reading

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Human Rights Monitoring, Google Glass, and the Right to Privacy

COLIN LAWRENCE

Google glass prof

I’m a big fan of new technologies in general, and the introduction of Google Glass has me really excited. Will I be able to afford one? No. Will most people? At $1500 for the current developer-oriented kit, I highly doubt it, unless you work somewhere on Wall Street. What intrigues me about Google Glass is it’s potential for human rights monitoring projects.  Not to mention the other technologies that have become available in the global struggle for consistent and reliable accountability mechanisms.

Simmering conflicts around the globe have spawned numerous allegations of human rights abuse but are often areas of limited access. Continue reading

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Pakistan’s 2013 Elections: Progress and Pugnacity

Pakistan votes

Ten points to team Pakistan!

For the first time in it’s history, Pakistan’s government has made a peaceful democratic transition from ruling party to an opposition party.  There’s a lot to be said of this, noting how far Pakistan has come.

Pakistan is the fifth largest democracy in the world and has experienced a tumultuous back and forth between military and civilian governance.  After a bloody split from India as part of British decolonization, Pakistan was led by the internationally renowned Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was instrumental in the establishment of an independent state dedicated to protecting  Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. His death less than 13 months later left the young country to less capable statesmen, who failed to govern as its inchoate political institutions floundered. The military was viewed as a pillar of stability, having inherited the majority of officers in the former British India military hierarchy. Following a spate of political instability, Pakistan experienced it’s first coup in 1958 under General Ayub Khan, who declared himself the new President. Continue reading

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