static, interference, intervention, intervene, get involved so as to alter or hinder an action, white noise, snow, fuzz, fuzzy, Fuzzy, ME

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chicago Humanities Festival

The Chicago Humanities Festival started this last Thursday and I have been busy volunteering and attending events. Things started on Thursday with a talk by Paul Krugman, an economist from Princeton, an op-ed writer for the New York Times, and author of The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century. The theme of this year's festival is Peace and War: Facing Human Conflict and Prof. Krugman gave a short economic history of the industrial United States and a comparison of how wars are fought in times of greater disparity of wealth (There tends not to be a shared sacrifice when there is a greater disparity of wealth).

Friday was domestic day because I knew that I was going to be busy all weekend. Saturday, I was at the Chicago History Museum to volunteer for a couple of events, Steven Kinzer talking about his new book Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. I was unable to hear most of his talk but what I did see/hear seemed very interesting. I may pick up his book. The second event was a law debate between an appellate judge and an aprofessor at the University of Chicago School of Law debating Rights During War Time. This debate was so popular that about 40 people had to be turned away. When I finished, I had almost 4 hours to kill before the panel discussion I was going to was to start at teh Chicago Cultural Society. So, I wandered down to kill time and find a place to eat that sounded interesting. I ended up eating at Chipotle which wasn't exactly what I was looking for but it worked. At 4 PM, I went to Teaching a Culture of Peace and Justice with Kathy Kelly who never fails to tear me up when I hear her speak, along with Shayna Plaut, a Human Rights professor at Columbia College and Midwest Region Human Rights Education Coordinator for Amnesty International USA, and fellow educator Louis Silverstein. It was a very good talk.

Today (Sunday), I ushered at the Symphony Center for an interview with Joyce Carol Oates, who was the winner of the 2006 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize. While I have never read anything by Joyce Carol Oates (and I still don't know that I will after finding out what she has written), it was interesting to hear her talk about her work, how she got into it, and how she sees it. After I finished, I had two hours to grab lunch and go about a mile to my next event was a panel discussion called Peace Through Justice and the discussion was about whether international tribunals, the International Criminal Court, and other tools of law could promote peace, and act as a deterrent and it appeared as if the answer was a qualified yes. While you can't expect a miraculous transformation, it does seem to help in instances of extreme human rights violations.


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