Voices from Russia

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Do Traditional Values Have a Future?

tatiana-mikhedova-my-family-from-age-to-age

My Family from Age to Age

Tatiana Mikhedova

2000s

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On 27 September 2012, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution submitted by Russia on “Promoting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms through a Better Understanding of Traditional Values of Mankind: Best Practises”. More than 60 states sponsored this initiative, including, collectively, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States. The resolution reiterates the idea that understanding of and respect for traditional values both encourage and facilitate the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We strongly believe that all cultures and civilisations, in their traditions, religions, and beliefs, share a common set of values that belong to mankind in its entirety, and that those values have made an important contribution to the development of human rights, norms, and standards. The family, society, and educational institutions all play key roles in asserting these values. In a broader sense, traditions underpin national identity. It’s widely-recognised that manifestations and symbols of national identity unite people and underpin their sense of national pride, community, and continuity. It’d be no exaggeration to say that traditional values are the backbone of every society and define its existence. By protecting traditional values, we protect our societies from destabilisation, the erosion of fundamental moral principles, loss of national identity, and basic cultural codes. It’s clear that safeguarding human rights goes hand in hand with preserving traditional values.

The resolution that Russia initiated calls on UN member states to recognise and reaffirm the vital role of traditional values in promoting human rights. This is the third resolution in this vein adopted by the Human Rights Council since 2009. However, a few states, namely the USA and some EU members, voted against it. Their position is quite clear… they see traditional values as a way of justifying human rights abuses, particularly against those considered the most vulnerable members of society. Such arguments and unwillingness to collaborate on the draft are regrettable. Russia is open to dialogue and cooperation in this sphere, but we think that no state or group of states has the right to speak on human rights in the name of the entire international community. After all, we have universal instruments, such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, amongst others. However, in some regions, the concept of human rights evolved considerably beyond that common denominator. Imposing that outcome on others isn’t an option. What, then, can we do?

I’m convinced that human rights issues should draw nations together, and that the Human Rights Council should focus on finding ways to accentuate the fact that human rights don’t exist in a societal vacuum. They didn’t emerge from nowhere. If traditional values crumble, so will human rights, since that would destroy the moral fabric that holds society together. It isn’t about which come first. There’s a real need to promote the understanding that human rights and traditional values are interconnected. To this end, it’s important to take into account the cultural, civilisational, historical, and religious heritage of all communities and nations. The concept of traditional values will only benefit from absorbing elements of different cultures. This is even more important now, when this period of global economic crisis puts the very foundations of social cohesion to the test.

17 January 2013

Aleksandr Yakovenko

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/blogs/20130117/178839002/Ambassadors_Notebook_Do_Traditional_Values_Have_a_Future.html

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple and focused. The thesis of this essay is that the USA has no right to impose its idiosyncratic notions on the rest of the world under the guise of “human rights” and “traditional values”. This is especially true considering that the USA believes that it has the “right” to “impose” such notions using military force and violence against leaders and/or countries that it doesn’t care for (in addition, “traditional values” is used by the same lot to justify brutality and discrimination against individuals and groups that they don’t like). We, as Orthodox believers, follow the moral ethos and civilisational values of the Orthosphere… not the depraved moneygrubbing “values” and the twisted “morals” of the American élite (we have nothing in common with the crackbrained “Evangelicalsectarianism that cheerleads such rubbish). Note well that some of our clergy and laity have sold out to the American apparat… these people are Sergianists of the worst possible sort. Remember the definition of a “Sergianist”:

One who sells out to the godless powers-that-be for personal power and/or personal gain.

That definition fits Paffhausen, Potapov, Alexander Webster, Lyonyo, Jillions, Dreher, Mattingly, Freddie M-G, and Reardon, amongst others (sorts such as Whiteford and Trenham are simply uninformed louts… they’re not sell-outs… neither are Lebedeff, Roman Krassovsky, Behr, and Bobby K… they’re just First Family apparatchiki). Have a care… there ARE “Chekists in riassas”… and you can find them all on the Right, sucking up to the most extreme and irrational elements in the Republican Party (for instance, Paffhausen, Dreher, Mattingly, and Webster have sold out to the K Street stink-tankers). The worm does turn, doesn’t it?

BMD 

Friday, 23 November 2012

23 November 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Stretching the Limit

Stretching the Limit

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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The RIA-Novosti translator deserves a Big Green Weenie Award for their botched translation (“Military Service Extension”) of the title. “Растяжимаяmeans “elastic, stretchable”, and that’s precisely what the protagonists are doing to the poor sod in the middle of the cartoon. On the other hand, “срочность” implies a definite term, a set period. There’s a waggish play on words here by Yolkin impossible to reproduce entirely in English (especially the juxtaposition of contradictory indefinite and definite tenses), but you can come close to its spirit… the RIA translator didn’t even try. Fie on them! Are they somebody’s relative? One wonders…

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Human rights activists oppose extending the length of time for compulsory military service by conscripts from one year to eighteen months, noting that the proposal could put an end to military reform.

22 November 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20121122/911800191.html

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Opponents of SOPA Win the First Round

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The White House attack on SOPA legislation seems to be the last nail in the coffin of the controversial anti-piracy act, which, according to the opinion of the tech community and human rights advocates, threatens the openness of the Internet. Strong protests by numerous tech companies led by such giants as YouTube, Facebook, and Google, and followed by Obama’s call to shelve SOPA, have made the American Congress start preparing to drop the SOPA vote. However, the Motion Pictures Association of America, as well as other backers of the bill, isn’t ready to give up. Jimmy Wales, the co-founder and a promoter of the online non-profit encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which took an active role in the protests against the controversial legislation, wrote, “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

The Stop Online Piracy Act, proposed by a group of legislators led by Republican Lamar Smith would allow the US Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of copying copyrighted content. The actions could include blocking on-line paying companies such as Pay-Pal from doing business with the accused websites and requiring Internet providers to block access to such sites. The American movie and audio-recording industry greeted the proposed legislation with enormous enthusiasm, as they believe that SOPA would help to fight piracy {actually, they think that SOPA/PIPA would fatten their profits, ergo, they’re for it: editor}.

Meanwhile, a large community of tech companies, human rights activists, politicians, and academics opposed the bill. The opponents of SOPA believe that the passing of the legislation would allow government censorship and slow down technological progress. Numerous experts also claimed that whilst it would damage the openness of the world-wide web, SOPA would be extremely ineffective as an anti-piracy law. Lanham Napier, the CEO of the American hosting company Rackspace, addressed legislators, saying, “Part of the professional code of physicians is that, when they’re treating a patient’s ailment, they should ‘first, do no harm’. I wish more members of Congress would follow that rule. Instead, in the name of policing the online theft of intellectual property, key lawmakers are pushing a cure that’s worse than the disease”.

Whilst it’s been hard to predict how the confrontation will end, Obama’s recent attack on SOPA seems to have decided the fate of the legislation. The White House admitted in its official statement, “Let’s be clear… online piracy’s a real problem that harms the American economy, threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle-class workers, and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs”. However, it also emphasised that it wouldn’t back a bill that “reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risks, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet”.

Congressional leaders agree with the Obama’s administration opinion. However, whilst experts admit that the White House move was “very helpful”; they also believe that it’ll hardly mark the end of the confrontation. The interest of the sponsors of the act is too deep to allow them to give up on attempts to wage a war against pirates, even if this war bears the potential to damage the global Internet community decisively. Art Brodsky, director for Public Knowledge, a Washington DC-based public interest group, which has opposed SOPA, said, “You can’t view this bill in isolation; it’s part of a continuum. They’ll try to muddle through with something”. A statement of Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox and one of the most prominent sponsors of the anti-piracy legislation supports such a view, saying in a Twitter criticising Obama’s stance against the SOPA, “So, Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy. Plain thievery”.

17 January 2012

Vladimir Gladkov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012/01/17/64023914.html

Editor’s Note:

If Rupert Murdoch calls it “thievery”, then, it must be a GOOD thing. After all, Mr Murdoch’s the pleasant and charming gentleman who gave us The News of the World and Fox News… truly sterling enterprises, no?

Two of the worst extremist rightwing pigs pushing this legislation are US Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). These men are for permanent war in foreign parts, the TSA’s use of invasive public searches, the “War on Terror”, the shredding of labour laws and the social safety net, and abandoning taxation on multi-million estates and investment earnings. Therefore, why should it surprise you that they’re for censorship on the internet, as well? Oh… both of them are FOR criminalising abortion, which makes them “pro-life”… they’re for war, torture, the death penalty, and the ending of government social assistance, but being “for” the criminalisation of abortion makes them “pro-life”.  Because of that, ignorant konvertsy (especially nappy-wearing twits like Dreher, Mattingly, Paffhausen, and Freddie M-G) just gush over them. Note well that the extremist views of these gents don’t bother the konvertsy one little bit… that doesn’t matter (and the fact that these gents oppose the teachings of His Holiness and that they hate the Motherland and try to undermine it doesn’t bother them either). However, it does give one an idea of the intellectual level of the typical rightwing convert to Orthodoxy… not very high at all, is it?

There’s another, more sinister, level to all of this. You see, the real aim of SOPA/PIPA’s censorship. They want to restrict the use of “copyrighted” material only to those who pay off the original posters in one way or another. This would really be true in the case of information posted on corporate or institutional websites. That is, under SOPA, a conniving weasel like Lyonyo Kishkovsky could try to sue me if I used information from oca.org. He’s low enough to do it… remember his antics in the ‘70s with the Our Lady of Kazan dispute. If you support SOPA, you support greed, censorship, and the strong preying upon the weak (“the invisible hand of the market”).

NO… a thousand times NO. What kind of world do YOU want? If you want the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, simply vote for the Republican Party, and you’ll get it, in spades, and right smartly, too. That’s the way it is…

BMD

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