Friday, October 21, 2005

Sorry !!!

Compiuter is in a whole bunch of problemms. The repairperson told me that untill Wednsday teh 26 at teh earliest he will not be able to get it back to me. I am sorry for I will not be posting untill then. I appreciate your understanding. I plan on posting manny posts when I get the compiuter back.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Update

Yesterday as I was writing the post I accidentally spilled some water over my power extension cord. Needles to say there was a lot of sparks and some problems. I had to call up the computer service and they couldn’t rescue any of the data. Plus it took them a long time to get here. So, I am really sorry for not posting yesterday. I hope to have something interesting tomorrow.
Haris

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Am Fat And That's That

I just saw the “Supersize Me!” documentary dvd by Morgan Spurlock. If you have not seen it, you must have at least heard about it. The premise of the film is figuring out what would happen to a healthy individual if he decided to eat nothing but McDonalds for a whole month. He would eat nothing that the golden arches did not offer, not even vitamins and aspirins. He went to the doctors before he began his experiment and they all said he was in excellent health. He had a couple of rules. He would eat three square meals a day, would eat everything on the menu at least once, and if asked to supersize his portions he would. During the course of his quest he talks to health experts, individuals somehow related to the obesity epidemic and shares interesting information with the audience. He also gains five pounds in the first week, another five in the second , than looses a pound on account of losing muscle (which weight more than the fat that replaced it) because he decided that like most Americans he would not exercise, and than gains some more weight, and something like 10 % body fat increase in just a month. His liver inflames and is turned into “pate,” his cholesterol shoots up and many other health and not problems arise.
The movie is extremely entertaining if slow at times. It is educational and inspirational in many ways. I recommend that people, especially Americans who are perhaps most of all exposed to fast food, see it. I am not saying they should stop eating it but I am saying that they should be informed. When the movie came out it made quite a storm and I remember while still being in the US seeing the director interviewed on CNN. Apparently it also had a big impact on the fast food industry as six weeks after it aired McDonalds decided to remove its supersize option, they said it was not because of the movie.
I was extremely skinny I the beginning of my life. My grandparents love to tell me the story of when I came out of hospital, several days old, and how I was so malnourished and had such little desire for food that they had to tickle me to wake me up every several seconds so that I would eat. My grandmother tells me how she remembers chasing me around the neighborhood with a spoon and a plate of food while I was playing just to make sure that I ate my food as I really avoided doing so as often as I could. Than the war came! I remember that we kept all of our food supplies underneath this small fold out table. We were often uncertain what and when will any more food come. I remember seeing our friend and neighbor coming to my mother and asking for a few drops of oil and then when my mother gave it to her from our own dwindling portion on the bottom of the bottle she was so overwhelmed she was in tears. My parents did an amazing job of making sure we had food. It might not have been much but it was enough to get by. We got a goat for milk. We called her Sarulja or Colorful. When we moved because of my mothers nerves further inland we got some land to farm around a house that was abandoned because the daughter of the man living in the house before the war shot her first neighbor for making derogatory comments about her father who was in a wheelchair. The house was in disarray and looked like it was in a war zone although we were several kilometers from actually being in a war zone. But it had some land and it was fertile so my mother decided we will farm it. We gave something like our last money to have the land tilled and got to work. It was a first experience for my mother of doing such things as she was at that time a lawyer and now a judge, a city child extremely inexperienced at the ways of the land. But, she took the job head on. She asked and learned and we soon had chicken, our goat and a garden full of huge healthy vegetables. My father was absent because of the war a whole lot. I remember coming back from school once and seeing a crate of spoiled grapefruits in from of a shop. This was a rare occurrence as sometimes it just so happened that one would have money but there would just be nothing to buy in the stores, and than in some parts when food got to the stores people sold an egg for a dollar or bread by the slices or even cigarettes by a single smoke. Sometimes they found no buyers but most of the times they did. I took the crate from the garbage and brought it home. We established that some of them were salvageable and we feasted. I remember being so happy then, I can still remember the taste. We did have food but it was that want and that realization how much something can look so good when you have none that had deeply rooted itself in me stayed with me changing me in the most profound way. I think we once were without any chocolates for over a year let alone some other fancier sweets or foods. When we escaped to Zagreb, a long story I hope to tell you one day. I remember that I got some small amount of money and I went to the store and bought a nice bar of chocolate, than after I ate it I went there again, than again, and again and so on. I think I went there seven or eight times that day. Soon I gained some weight. I am by no stretch of imagination slim but I am not morbidly obese either. I realize that I am fat, some 210 pounds heavy, but I ask why is that anyone’s business. I get in the elevator, an old lady is there and she says that I am very cute but that I am so fat and that I should lose weight, the store employee says that I should lose some weight, I am renting a vide and some soldier is there also and he says I should lose weight as well. I am the running joke of all my family. Whenever some of them want to feel good about themselves they say how fat I am and how I should change and what not. I went to a cardiologist for my medical exam before going to the US. And she did almost everything but lunge at me with her chart yelling and almost screaming how I should stop eating meat and potatoes and this and that and how I should eat only fish for a month or something, even though all my findings were great. I am to the best of my knowledge, not stupid, so why is it that all my surrounding treats me like I am. I wear eyeglasses but they must think that I am blind to the fact that I have more weight that is necessary so they find it appropriate to remind me of it all the time. I brought a girl home and when my folks started to talk about me it was all fat this fat that. Lets just forget all the good Haris ever did and lets instead focus on his fat. I am not a violent person and I abhor its use in any situation but sometimes I just want to go postal on their asses. The pressure that was exerted and continues to be exerted on me by almost everyone is so overwhelming that I tried Herbalife just to appease them. I ate it for six months or so, lost some 20 pounds but felt miserable and when I read that it can harm you I decided that enough is enough. If I am going to poison myself I will do it with the food I love and not eating something that purportedly is supposed to make you feel better and live longer.
Besides, I do not smoke, ever. I do not drink, ever. I do not use drugs, ever. I do not engage in unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners, ever. I avoid spending time with smokers although I do not mind them. I don’t do extreme sports and I do pray which, in Islam, is almost like an exercise. I never binge, ever. My only indulgence is food and now I am being pressured into giving that up as well. The lifespan I increase by eating food that is not delicious might be longer but I sure do know that it will feel a lot longer and not nearly as good. What is a person without his pleasures. I know myself, if I started smoking or drinking or doing drugs I would become a full fledged addict in no time flat. So I indulge in some food. As they said in Bond: “What is the point of living if you can not feel alive!”
I every once a year fast for a whole month. This is the Islamic fast, no food or drink or cigarettes or sex and some other things for as long as the sun is up, that means from 5:15 am till 6:10 pm, and I have absolutely no problem with that and I am doing is as a sign of gratitude to God for everything.
This world is so polluted anyway that with the secondhand smoke, the air pollution, the water pollution, the cell phone radiation, the TV radiation, the computer monitor radiation, the bad genes, the terrorism, the treat of worldwide epidemics the global warming, living in a war zone and an ex war zone, psychological afflictions related to modern life, airplane flying radiation, electric power lines radiation, cosmic radiation like uv and gamma or whatever rays and many other negative effects the question is how long will the positive effects increase your life with this death maze out there.
Another thing is that in the world today there is a huge trend towards obesity even in China it had now began to snowball. The more fat people there are in the world the more the chances are that more big corporations and brilliant individuals are working on solving this problem and making people skinnier. Who knows it might be just a matter of time before a miracle cure if found that allows you to eat all you want and still look like what ever you want. Just think, a mere 100 years a go people thought that those that wanted to fly are mad, and in just two generations look what happened. What will happen in the next two.
So, mister Spurlock I liked your film but next time I am in a store and I see a Bounty chocolate bar I will buy it and eat it with great relish, because life is just to short for me not to live it the way I like and want. Besides if you went through what I went through I am sure you would completely understand. Was it Shakespeare who said: You don’t know how much you might miss something until you see that it is gone.”

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How To With Haris: MUN, Structure of the UN, Part One

You do not really need to know the structure of the United Nations to participate at Model UN and as a matter of fact a lot of the new participants only just learn about the Organization during the conferences and its seminars and workshops that often times go with them. It is actually a stated goal of a lot of the conferences to introduce people to the United Nations and further the knowledge and understanding of the Organization. A lot of the good ones have workshops staffed by real UN staffers teaching people about the ins and outs of this great institution, is procedures and the problems the world and this world body faces in today’s world. You do not have to know about the UN to compete but if you want to be any good at it, it is best that you learn as much as you can and do lots and lost of research.
The Organization of the United Nations was established on October the 24th 1945 by 51 countries, founder nations, victors of the Second World War, with the primary task of making sure that what a conflict like WWII never happen again. The precursor to the UN was an international organization called the League of Nations, which failed miserably in its attempt at pretty much the same task.
The League of Nations was created at the conclusion of the First World War as this grand idealistic vision of an Organization where conflict will be prevented by all the parties coming together sitting at one table discussing it, sometimes submitting their quarrel to the adjudication by other members, and than resolving the issues not wanting a repeat of the bloodshed of WWI still fresh on everyone’s mind. The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was the individual who, created, initiated, worked on and insisted on the creation and inclusion of the organization at the Peace Talks and the Treaty of Versailles. He got the other nations to agree and join but when he returned Home he found that the US Congress did not want to ratify the treaty, known as the Covenant establishing the organization and so the US did not join. This was the first of many setbacks and mistakes in the structure and the functioning of this world body. The absence of one of the main victors and one of the more influential nations out of the League meant that it did not really behave like a world body and its credibility suffered greatly. The mortal wound or the cement shoes of the organization if you will, however was the requirement that all the decisions be made by consensus. This meant that only one of the any members needed not to agree with the decision of the others and the Organization was paralyzed to act. If one of the members states was doing something it shouldn’t have all it had to do was to disagree and no action would be taken by the League. This was attempted to be resolved later on but again to no avail. What happened next is known to many of my astute readers I am sure. The League existed all the way through WWII but only in name really. It was dissolved shortly after its conclusion.
Now, having had one attempt at an international organization meant to preserve peace to go on and faced with two debilitating, paralyzing conflicts whose occurrence was separated by only a quarter of a century, the founders of the United Nations set out, thought by the mistakes of the League to form an international organization once again, now fully aware that with the advent of nuclear weapons their failure could well mean the end of humanity altogether. The UN is an intergovernmental organisation. What this means is that only States, countries of the world can be members and are represented in its bodies. This is not so sometimes in some bodies such as the Economic and Social Council, but these are also often intergovernmental organisations and/or are present with the explicit authorisation and acceptance of the member states. In fact some legal experts and some political scientists argue that a membership in the UN is a prerequisite that one territory be considered a state. The argument has exceptions and is quite deep and long so I will not bore you with it further. When States become Members of the United Nations, which is done by the authorisation of both the General Assembly and the Security Council, they agree to the obligations set forth in the UN Charter.
The UN Charter is an international agreement to which all member states are party to, a founding document, a pipeline through which all the processes of the UN must flow through. It is a type of the UN Constitution if you will. The four purposes of the United Nations as stated in the Charter are: to maintain international peace and security, to develop and facilitate friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems, promote respect for human rights, and to be a centre for coordination, harmonisation and sometimes administration the actions of nations. The United Nations is not a world government, and this is a common misconception as states actually exercise rather than give up their sovereignty when they decide to join the UN and are free to step out of the organisation if they so chose. UN is key in providing the means to help resolve international conflict and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. The United Nations has six main organs:
The Security Council,
The General Assembly,
The International Court of Justice (ICJ),
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
The Trusteeship Council, now with greatly reduced role as it had accomplished its primary task and,
The Secretariat.
All are based in New York except for the ICJ, which is located at The Hague, Netherlands.

Down Peroscope Part Two

I will continue my thoughts on the movie started in Part One, posted Yesterday, here I intend to continue with the synopsis so please consider this a spoiler alert and if you have not seen the movie please go now and rent it, you will love it.
So, after the misfit crew assemble the Admiral that is trying to help our main character tells him that because of the Russians selling of their diesel fleet to unknown, belligerent possibly terrorist elements he wants to test the preparedness of the US navy to fight one single diesel rogue captain trying to attack them. The main character thinks that he is pretty much already dead and that he will surely lose, the Admiral encourages him by telling him to think independently (a great lesson in on itself) like a pirate, like a man with a tattoo on his, well you know what. It just so happens that he has the right man. So first order of business is to prepare the boat, which the first mate thinks is held together by the bird droppings and a funny sequence ensues showing them fixing the sub. After the crew kidnaps the clothes of Lt. Hale and the captain decides that there will be no shore leave and sets off immediately. Firs order of business is to dive to near crush depth. The depth at which the pressure that the water is exerting on the hull of the sub is greater than what the sub can or was designed to handle. They reach the depth and survive, their first success, now they are officially a crew. An explanation of this kind of actions can be seen in K-19 with Harrison Ford. Next comes the attack on their first target. In the mean time we find out that the main bad guy has decided to employ the services of the former captain of our captain but thanks to a lack of knowledge and lots of luck and quick thinking, which is by the way the main theme of the film, the submarine hits its first target. The admiral which is the bad guy tells the good guy admiral that if this exercise works out well he will get a third star but the good guy admiral doesn’t like the sound of that as that would mean that he would no longer outrank the bad guy admiral. Just at that moment the Stingray shots a flare in the air to signal that the first part of the mission has been completed with success. For the second task the bad guy admiral narrows down the quadrants in which our captain can move in literally in half and activates the full force or something near it of the U.S. Navy in that area. This leads to a scene of bottoming, a practice of putting the sub on the ocean floor so that it would literally be undetectable and undistinguishable form the seafloor to the eyes (well ears actually) of the sub, its sonar. This maneuver is difficult and dangerous because the contour of the floor is difficult to know and judge. Because of some sliding of the sub a when it does hit the bottom and a sound is made which in general sub parlance is a big no no. The sub goes quiet, the female candidate looses faith in herself, and there is a funny sequence with the chef passing loud gas and the sonar operative singing like whales to fool the instruments chasing them. The captain, after an all clear decides to break the assigned zone of operation and the first mate instigates a one-man mutiny, which leads the captain to make him walk the plank, literally. They return to the zone of operations and slip by the sensor nets by going between the screws of a supertanker where the captains purposely allows the sub to come in danger so that he can get the confidence of the female candidate back. She recognizes this gesture and thanks him while acknowledging that she knows that he could have done it himself. An important scene is also with the rebellious crewmember who spent all his time in the brig, but which the captain accepted in because he liked a challenge, shows good conduct and plugs potentially disastrous breaches of the pipes and once the main valve. I think he even starts to like the submarines. The sequence in the end is very exciting and the captain using a real live torpedo he was given blows up the dummy ship, his target and a prerequisite that he agreed about with the good guy admiral for him getting a command of his sub and is sunk by the bad guy admiral. It is all too late, however for the bad guy admiral, he lost even though he personally took over the control of a nuclear sub. The good guy admiral tells him he can kiss his promotion goodbye. Serves him right. The crew disembarks, the good guy admiral welcomes them and tells the captain that he can’t get a Los Angeles class sub as he will be getting the command of the new Sea Wolf class sub with a real crew, but our captain says that he wouldn’t be where he is without the crew he has now so he must decline. The good guy admiral says that he will see what he can do about it and says that at least he got his son to face forward. Yes the rebel is the son of that admiral, and he had said when asked by the captain why he just doesn’t check out of the all volunteer navy. The good guy admiral says that they should work on his salute though and the captain says that they will and the good guy admirable says “You do that” basically saying that they will get the sub.
I had mentioned throughout the text what are the things that drew me to the film. I hope that you think that this is a film that you could see if you have not seen it. I really do recommend that you do. Chances are that somewhere on your cable or satellite they are showing it or will be showing it anytime so you do not have to necessarily go out of your way to get it. The bad thing is that it is hard to find tapes and DVDs of the movie and that is indeed shame as I can not know why is it that this film is so underrepresented when far worthier candidates for misrepresentation should be shunned. The store, I am sure, is big enough for all of them as tastes wary widely. All I am saying is please release a DVD of this film as I really like it and given what I have read online others do too. I guess we have hope if nothing else.
I am sorry if this post seems rushed and jumbled. I am also sorry that for these last two days the posts have been coming a little later. That is because I am preparing a big 10 episode or more series of my memoirs on a specific part of my life that I believe you will enjoy. I am grateful for your understanding.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Down Periscope Part One

I do not remember the first time I saw the movie but I remember that I loved it from the first couple of scenes. I have always loved submarines and have seen what I think is close to all the films ever made on the subject. I don’t quite know why I love them but I guess it could have something to do with the fact that I was never claustrophobic and I liked small desolate places to go to be alone and most importantly safe. I remember during the war during a particularly bad period I would hide under a desk that had these sides that one could extend to increase the surface. I would cover it with tablecloths lower the sides and stay there for some time. That, I believe is why I like tents and cabins also, they are places where one can be alone, away from others. Others that have such capacity for evil that it staggers the mind. Wild beasts and monsters under the bed or in the forrest cannot shine a candle to them. The idea of a submarine must have naturally appealed to me for those reasons. Another thing that must have drawn me to this film is the fact that it showed a group of people that were extremely underhanded defeat a far superior force against all odds. I remember during the war when people said that Serbs had bottomless cashes of supplies and were fighting our fighters who had three bullets a peace. Two were for the enemy the last for you, for if you were captured not only would you be executed soon but before that you would be horrendously tortured. We were the obvious underdogs to even survive. Since then I root for the underdogs. I am sorry to go all analytical and serious when discussing a comedy. I guess I never really understood why I liked the film until I sat down and wrote to you about it. I guess that is why I love blogs, it is a psychotherapy tool. I plan on writing about the war in some time.
The movie for all those that are not familiar with it shows a perpetual “Number One” or first officer on a submarine that has had several, let just call them issues (after one of which he got a tattoo on his penis that says welcome aboard), that has not gotten a promotion in several attempts and if he did not get it on this one he would never get to command one. So, what happens is that the navy committee decides to give him a submarine from WWII an old Baleyo class diesel called Stingray. The crew is manually picked by the main bad guy of the film to be the lowest of the low from the navy crews. There is a cook that is very fat, unorganized and unhygienic but makes good coffee. There is a sonar operator that was considered a security issue by his previous captain because he hears too well, there is a compulsive gambler, an individual that joined the navy because he wanted to play basketball, an engineer that had served in what seems like the WWII, an electrician that had a little too many electricity jolts course through his body, an individual that spends all his time in the brig (navy for prison cell) and a first officer that is shooting to be the youngest captain in the fleet or ever or something but who has a custom to yell at people and is generally hated by the crew. The last addition to the crew is a woman, the first one in the submarine forces, a pilot program instituted by the bad guy. Now I mention her as a woman not out of disrespect but because the history of women on submarines is long and has some pull among the submariners who are generally considered to be very superstitious. Women on submarines were considered extremely bad luck. To see a reaction of submariners when they heard that they are getting a female on board just watch the movie “Below”. I believe there are many reasons for this myth but one need not look much further than the sub itself. I have been in two subs in my life. One in Pittsburgh the U.S.S. Renquin and a sub in New York City by the aircraft museum that is either the only or one of two submarines that the U.S. declassified and that used to carry nuclear bombs. Both of these submarines were extremely cramped and personal space was small or nonexistent. This meant that men who served in them would rub off each other and shower with each other and sleep in very close bunks and so on. The bunks were small so were the showers. Submarines sometime remain on patrol for a long, long time. As a matter of fact some of the modern subs are designed so that they could operate independently for months at a time without resurfacing and for years without coming to dock. You do the math. Women would either have been raped or there would be such a degree of sexual frustration that not a lot of good would come of it.
Chances are that I am very much wrong on this and if so I apologize and humbly ask that I be rectified. If you believe that what I have written is either offensive or derogatory please comment on it and I will personally and publicly apologize.
Without getting into long discussion about it I will say that the film although a comedy dealt with a very important issue of gender empowerment and dealt with it well. I care a great deal about this issue and am glad that it was dealt with such finesse. Loren Holly did a great job in looking great and acting in a manner that made me like and believe in the character. I thin that the rest of the cast also did a good job in dealing with her first from hazing into latter on acceptance and maybe support. Generally the crew was top notch and I would just like to mention Rob Schneider and Harlan Williams as two in my mind excellent comedians that have done a phenomenal job. If this film might sound like it is worth watching but you have not seen it please, please do because it really is awesome. More in pt. 2, where the (real) spoilers come.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gallagher's Family

I met Gallagher’s mom and dad at about the same time I had met him. His mom seemed like a, for lack of a better word, mother (I mean this as the best of compliments). She had that warmth and gentleness about her that one finds in those that love to take care of others and who have made it their life’s work. You could see it shining around her like an aura and notice it in her actions. She was also very easy going and talkative, opinionated and quite knowledgeable. One would notice very soon that she had learnt and read a lot in her life. She was very protective of her family and I believe she was somewhat driven to see nothing but best come of them. At no time that I had been with her had she ever offended or looked down upon me nor had se gotten angry at anyone. If anything she made me feel special and appreciated something I perhaps needed most of all at that time. His father was a quiet type. Educated and hardworking his dad had a stoic deep wisdom kind a feel around him. He used words sparingly but when he spoke it was with a clear purpose and with obvious thought. He had a lot of patience and was willing to answer all the silly questions I had about animal feed and the like. He also had that loving aura around him. I feel Gall was extremely fortunate having grown up in such a family. His younger sister was like her mother very opinionated and very headstrong, a quality in a woman that is certainly to be admired. She looked up to her bigger brothers and probably wanted to take a similar path in education as them. She was very good at computer games, something that should be encouraged as it is somewhat rarer in women than men. His oldest brother was at one time an honor student but than something changed him, he got some piercing and some tattoos but remained a clever individual and a living proof that you should not judge a book by its covers. Even though he looked like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, and to be hones not a lot of people you would want to meet at a dark alley, at no point did I feel the littlest sense of intimidation toward him and he was extremely pleasant to be around. Gallagher first asked me to come to his house for a couple of days during the winter holidays. I gladly accepted and looked forward to it a great deal. Of course I had no idea what to expect but what I saw surprised me in no small measure. Their house did not feel American, not at least what I came to know as American houses and I lived in them for a year before that. It was like something you would find in a Harry Potter book. The house was somewhat old but you couldn’t notice that by the look of it. I later found that out when Galls mom told me. Inside it looked like some Bosnian houses that I had seen in my life, not a bad thing especially to a homesick student continents away from his home, and let me tell you there are some nice houses in Bosnia, and this one ranked like a really nice one. It had a lot of antiques and beautiful canvas paintings. It had warm and friendly furniture that looked like one can sit on it and not like a museum exhibit. The plants were there that spanned the entire height from ceiling to floor. It was at the same time mysterious and functional, elegant and useful. I slept in a room that had a huge comfortable bed surrounded by the many memorabilia of his brother growing up. It seemed to me like one of those rooms that one sees in the series or films that I too so wanted to see. The bathroom came with its own hermit crab the first one I saw in my life. I had expressed doubt as to weather that crab was actually alive but I was assured pretty soon that it indeed was. Later on I began to notice that he indeed did move, at night, why anyone would want to have it as a pet I do not know. Their dog Pumba, named by Gallagher, was an interesting dog. Pumba had an interesting problem, you see whenever she saw someone she didn’t know she would pee either from fear or for whatever other reason, maybe excitement or joy I really didn’t know. This lasted for only as long as it took her to get to know you and realize that you are a friend. She had a sweater on which I thought odd for an inside dog but I was told that she had a skin affliction and I could immediately identify with as I had had dandruff for ever. You know what they say about birds of a feather, or in our case skin disease We got to be very good friends and every mourning she would come to me and put her head in my lap and wait for me to pet and scratch her. I really liked doing that. They had cats but they lived on the outside and I really didn’t play with them that much. They had ducks or was it geese which I thought interesting as they were the first people I knew that had those and I lived as a refugee on a farm for some time. The last but by no means least is their pet miniature donkey called Walt. Walt was a very interesting animal. I had never before seen a miniature donkey so he was somewhat a mystery species to me. However I was certain that it was not in their nature to play soccer. Walt had his favorite ball that had some of its skin hanging off, or was it that it was a bit deflated, so that he could take it in his mouth and play with it. He would do so often. I was also somewhat surprised that he behaved much like a dog as he would be very excited to see his owners and would jump up and down and be all cheerful and actually even wag his tail I believe. I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe he had somewhat of an identity crisis.
Galls family was great. They invited me in their home and welcomed me with their arms wide open. For that I will be forever grateful. Every once in a while I am so struck by the kindness of complete strangers to me and this was such a time. They should feel proud of themselves and I am grateful and much better for having known them.

The MeMe

I was tagged by Master Yoda. If you haven’t checked out his blog yet what are you waiting for and where have you been hiding lately. Anyway Master Yoda’s blog is what got me into blogging and I think that he is just the funniest Jedi (and possibly human) you have ever known. His stupid intern writes good fiction, although he might not update his personal blog as often as he does that of Master Yoda himself. I guess that is because Yoda works him so hard. He even has him polish his speeder. I know what you are thinking that is obviously a case of intern abuse if I ever saw one. But Yoda is wise and powerful I am sure that it is for the benefit of the intern.
Now to the meme (is it just me or does this sound like that maid in Gone With the Wind)
I actually asked to be tagged by it because I feel that it is a good soul searching tool and a great way for people to get to know you better. I had to think hard about some of these but in the end am pretty satisfied with the results. Enjoy!!!

10 Years Ago I was:

I Was 11
I didn’t speak any English at all
I was a refugee in Zagreb, Croatia

5 Years Ago I was:
I was 16 and was getting ready to go the US for the first time, to Garfield, Arkansas

1 Year Ago (well a year and some moths ago) I was:
I was interning with the United Nations in New York City

Yesterday I was:
Fasting
Updating my blog and thinking about a new template, I decided against it, thank you very much
Accidentally erased the drivers for my graphics card, D’OH

5 songs I know all the words to:
1. First Bosnian Anthem
2. Second Bosnian Anthem
3. One More Day by the Arabeske
4. I was in a choir (singing group, am not sure about the spelling), so I know a bunch of those songs
5. A bunch of modern American Country Songs

5 ideal places for running away to:
1. Any good book
2. Somewhere on a mountain with a tent and plenty of firewood
3. A ruin (as long as it is mine free)
4. Dobrinja (nuff said)
5. Driving with a car to nowhere in particular

5 biggest joys in my life:
1. My Religion
2. My work and study
3. My Grandparents
4. My games
5. I guess My Blog

5 Snacks (these are snacks and not real food I presume) I Enjoy the Most>
1. Bosnian Beef Jerky with a red center
2. Sudzuk
3. Bounty (chocolate with coconuts)
4. Milka (this is a correct spelling) Chocolates
5. Chocolate Bananas

5 Favorite Toys:
1. My Hair Dryer(s) and a Hauba
2. My Inspiron 5150
3. My Mainframe (That is how I call my desktop)
4. My DVD Recorder and Video Recorder and Tape Recorder
5. A Piece of Paper and a Pen

5 Items You Will Never See Me Wear:
1. Sweat Pants (People would be shouting Oh The Humanity or My Eyes)
2. Skirts
3. Paint On Clothes (look number one for reason)
4. Any Piercing whatsoever
5. Anything see-through (again number one)

5 people to tag:
1. J. L. Picard
2. War Eagle
3. Mirela (must get a blog first)
4. Gall (must get a blog first)
5. Dzermin

Gallagher

In my life I have been through a lot, have known many people, and moved many times. As I must have previously pointed out I have been a refugee. As such you learn quickly that no place is home for long. You learn that there are no long term acquaintances. Manny people you meet once you change paths with you never see again. I remember my best friends from my refugee days and I must confess that after we departed I have never spoken to them again not knowing where they even are. We were the best of friends one day and yet the next, fate had placed us on different sides of the world never to see or hear from again, no matter how much we tried. After a while you stop trying, you learn to cope. To me that was the reality of life, living in a war zone I had learned that attachment is probably not a good thing, not by a long shot. After a while you almost fear it. I have carried that with me through life and it unfortunately seeped through into my psyche. Gallagher was my roommate at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States while I was on the Bosnia and Hercegovina Undergraduate Development Program funded by the US government. We spent a year living together through all the good and bad moments and through life like two people on an downstream raft facing perilous currents up ahead. When it was time to say goodbye I believe that it was one of the most painful moment of my life. I thought I knew better and had grown accustom to forever goodbyes but I obviously haven’t. When I returned to my room and Mirela looked at me she immediately asked me what was the matter. It showed that much. I think she even mentioned that she never saw me like that ever before. Much like with Mirela I came to know Gallagher not by any conscientious effort of mine. The roommate selection was, instead, made by the University. I once in an elevator heard a man state that he was the one who decided who goes where. I think I thanked him, and if not that I certainly should have. I met Gallagher one afternoon in August, as the school year was about to begin. He was of medium slender build with long hair and somewhat distant, thoughtful, immersed look in his eyes. He was a philosophy and scientific computing major as I would later find out and had a lot on his mind. We got off great right of the bat as we both weren’t territorial and respected the privacy of others. I believe we never had traditional roommate squabbles. We never took others stuff without permission, never were really messy and thank goodness didn’t have any secret psychological disorders to the best of my knowledge. We did have fierce shouting matches but they were usually philosophy issues and views. It was strange to think that if somebody was listening at our conversations and screams they would probably wonder if we had all our marbles. At times Jamie our apartment roommate or flatmate would come in to our room and try to calm us down. At no time to the best of my knowledge had the thought of physical confrontation cross our minds. There were issues like my heater, the one I mentioned in Sound of Warmth post or the opening of windows but those were either externally flamed (long story) or just a product of my cultural shock and frustrations related to being far from home in a foreign country. I do not remember him getting angry for no particular reason even though he might have had lots of causes to. There are many reasons I think that have made us compatible. It was his first time away from home and in a big city. I had been away from home before but anytime you are in a fundamentally unknown surrounding you will feel as though it is your first time. Our camaraderie may have been a result of closeness in the face of adversary. We had very similar interests. I remember thinking that had I been born in the U.S. I probably would be very much like him. There were many things that we could teach each others and we were both willing to learn. Neither of us I believe had a too big an ego to let it get in a way. We were both good students. I remember that we literally at the same time got notice that we had made the Deans list and that we were nominated for a lifetime membership in the National Association of Collegiate Scholars.
We were also both interested in the study of philosophical thought. Gallagher as I had mentioned was a student of Philosophy. He took an interesting approach to the subject refusing to read the works of other philosophers trying to develop an individualistic thought, something that I believe I deep down respected but was not quite sure was the right path. Only later would I find out that there is an entire line of philosophical thought that encouraged such action. His work on approximations was also interesting though not really understood by me, again only later would I read other philosophical works on such a topic. His views on religion were something that even though I did not approve on I respected and I still admire him for taking a stand and willing to use an open mind when accessing a religious ideal. He of course respected my religion and even though he had at times protested was extremely accommodating and understanding when it came to my practice of reading the Kur’an at early times in the mourning.
I plan on writing about my stay at the great University of Pittsburgh sometimes in the future and Gallagher plays an important role in it so I will spare you the details here but expect to read about them sometimes in the future.
In conclusion, Gallagher is not your average and typical American teenager although at times he may show signs of being one. He is resolute, incredibly clear minded and headstrong. Believe me I know. He may not be your average role model but than again I am sure that that is because he doesn’t want to be. He is who he is, an excellent individual and a great person and I consider myself lucky for having known him and privileged for being able to call him my friend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I Am Back

I am back. I had a great time and simply enjoyed myself. As promised I posted a slew of new posts. You will notice that they are in parts, well a lot of them, that is to brake them up a little. I plan on working on aerating my texts a little and to go to a different template soon so if you notice work done I ask for your forgiveness up front. If you do not like any of the changes taking place post a comment about it and I will see what can be done. I would also like to welcome my former roommate Gallagher and my good friend Emina to the blog. Welcome and please feel at home.

Stealth (The Movie), Or How Something With So Much Potential Can Be So Bad !!!

I think that I have mentioned in one of my previous posts that I love airplanes. My grandfather as a hobby was a pilot and a pilot instructor and he from my youth has inspired in me a deep love and respect for airplanes. Therefore as soon as I saw a copy of Stealth in my video rental place I went nuts. I rented it and started to watch it with great relish. The introductory couple of scenes were fantastic. Just so you know I will be discussing the whole movie and there will be spoilers so be warned now. The beginning was awesome. It shows a team of three top and I mean top pilots flying on awesome new, next after next generation and I men next as in after this one that hasn’t happened yet working as a well made gelling competent and highly effective team against an obstacle course. Than comes the kicker there is going to be a fourth team member that is going to be an AI flying a futuristic plane specially designed for his unique abilities and with a vertical takeoff and landing ability. The first mission afterwards works ok and they are a success of a project but on the second mission the problems, naturally, begin. I would like to mention that after the first mission there is a long and quite unnecessary sequence of them on some shore leave where there they admire the country and a “necessary” love affair that isn’t allowed is presented to the audience but fails miserably. Also when on approach Tin-man or how the AI is named by the commander of the team, is struck by lightning which turns him, latter on we find out, into a loving, thinking and conscientious “person”. Anyway, on the second mission there is a moral dilemma (mostly emphasized by the sole woman on the team, in a “she is a woman so she must be the consciousness of the team” kind of way) when it comes to completing the task and the Tin-man completes the mission in spite of an abort by the team leader. It seems like the team leader is the one who thought Tin-man to disregard aborts as a show of machines learning. So to make a long story short one pilot, the poor black man who I don’t know who plays him but he did an excellent job is killed. To this day I do not know why airplanes fly in canyons when they can fly above them and much faster without al the peril. The second pilot, the love interest and the soul of the team, in a stunning show of Hollywood trying to make baby steps forward while taking giant leaps back in trying to further the gender equality, is damaged and is forced to bail over North Korea. There is some mission that Tin-man wants to complete in Russia that is really rather not well explained but eventually after the project manager rats out the team to his partner in Washington and his ties to Russia show and after the Russians almost shoot the planes down is aborted with to me it seemed less of an explanation. The lead convinces Tin-man to give up and takes him to Alaska where both are nearly killed by the traitor element that again comes as if out of nowhere. And the creator of Tin-man concludes that he is alive, surprise. The lead finds out that his girlfriend is in North Korea and he goes to find her and he arrives there in the nick of time and rescues her and Tin-man scarifies himself for them in a stunning show of his newfound humanity. In the end she, the love interest tells him the team leader that he is such a pu**y and why doesn’t he just say what he feels for her. Who wrote this thing should be ashamed of that but unfortunately he is probably maxed out from the shame brought on my the rest of the film I would just like to point out that I think that this film had a lot of potential and that it could have been far better than it did. I believe that there are many areas in the movie that could have substantially benefited and improved it overall. First the whole artificial intelligence rebelling has been done to death, and I really do mean to death so much so that I wish a film where the AI does not fight against the humans, although there is a twist toward the end of the film that goes in that direction it might be just a bit too little too late. Another thing is the whole problem of the climax of the movie. Saving the downed airman in North Korea in an airplane centric movie is plain silly and a clear under usage of the airplane themselves. While in the middle of the movie I was expecting this whole Russian cold fusion secret being unraveled by some fantastic twists and the fate and security is in danger and Tin-man was able to interpret and understand that, but instead that whole side of the plot is scrubbed for the love interest saving rescue mission. And where do they do the saving, on the North Korea border and when they cross it the movie purports that they are home free. Well if we forget that there is one million mines between the respective borders of North and South Korea this might fly but otherwise it is plain insulting to anyone who keeps track of world events. They also have this whole part of shore leave that I mentioned previously that takes place in Cambodia I believe or wherever where they just talk and walk and admire the country, which might be used to serve some higher goal but it is not so clearly set. It took me a whole while to make a connection with the later radiating of the Pakistani villages and this sequence although the one comes right after the other. The end result for this whole sequence is a time where nothing interesting happens and no thought provoking new message is given. Also, the seat in Tin-man, they make a vague reference that it is for maintenance and whatnot but from the moment you see it you know that by the end of the movie someone will be sitting in that seat. This might seem like incoherent illogically connected rambling of someone who obviously doesn’t like the film. But the thing is that I really do like the basic premise of the film but not what was done with it. I probably will buy the dvd but only for the airplanes which are really interesting innovative and insightful and more to the point possible in the future. I will most certainly not be getting the film for the story or for the “excellent” acting although it might have its moments but they are few and far between. What pains me is that as an airplane fan there really isn’t that much mainstream blockbuster films featuring good airline stories certainly not as much as there were at the and after WWII. That might change, but if they will have stories like Stealth they might need not bother.

How To with Haris: Airplanes and Aviation

This is another series of How To With Haris, I plan on developing and starting several of these and sometimes run them simultaneously. This one will be about airplanes, enjoy.
I may have noted this before but I really do love airplanes. It is just something about those magnificent birds that sends my mind aflight and alight with interest and fascination. My grandfather was a geometer before he retired. In his line of work they sometimes had to use airplanes to take photos of the ground to make better maps, something that to this day is used although it is quickly being replaced by satellites. It was also his hobby to fly both powered airplanes and sailplanes. He liked it so much and was so successful that he became an instructor and transferred his knowledge to young pilots. I think he told me once that he made Diamond C classification in his sailplane and to this day loves to tell me stories of his exploits in the air. He had naturally owned a lot of books about airplanes and all other areas of aviation. When I was a refugee in Zagreb somehow we got a hold of a lot of those books and I started reading. I loved them. I found them immersive, captivating almost magical. I read about great aces and their masterful deeds about great constructors and both successful and disastrous campaigns, but most important I read about the great airplanes. My imagination soared high through the air with them and at least for a fleeting moment would take my mind away form the reality I was in. I guess also it must have been very tempting and attractive to a young boy in a predicament I was in to dream about machines that would take him away into the safety of clouds and take him far, far away. It could also be something else I remember when we were in Stjena once there was an air raid and we had to run for the forrest with my mother and my brother. The reasons were several, for one chances are that the pilot would not be willing to use expensive bombs on a couple of civilians although this was not always certain, buildings were better targets so one stayed away from them, and in the forrest with the many branches and leaves to detonate the trigger of the bomb before it could reach the ground thus dispersing the shrapnel away from its intended target, us. It might be that I too wanted to have an airplane to even out the score and protect my little brother and mother. I do not have the psychological training to really determine which I believe that it was than and there that I truly fell in love with flying. Since than I had had the enormous good fortune for which I will forever be grateful to God for of traveling around 32 time zones, or once around the world and one third around again. It only strengthened my love of airplanes and aviation herself. The airplanes of Second World War presented the growing up of aviation and its importance both in modern warfare and in everyday life. It is for that reason that any serious look at airplanes in my opinion should begin by looking at these aircraft. If you haven guessed it by now I am not too fond of biplanes. The discussions run far and wide as to exactly which airplane was the best in WWII. This however is like comparing apples to pares. Very few of historian experts, of which I profess not to be one as my extent of familiarity extends from reading a lot of books and getting to see some of the airplanes at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., actually agree and form consensus on this topic. A different discussion that has somewhat come to a consensus of sorts, although it probably has more dissenters than consenters, is which fighter airplane was the best. Here we run into problems such as production numbers and work and field performance comparisons between airplanes that numbered in the tens of thousands and single thousand numbered series. How for example do you compare a Mustang that was the workhorse of the European campaign at the latter half of the conflict and that had massive numbers built to a Lightning that perhaps had superior performance and characteristic but that played a much smaller role in the general conflict? Also another issue is weather or not an airplane of the side that lost the conflict can be considered the best, as it was beaten by the airplanes of the other side. I plan on, through the course of time to add my voice to the discussion but before I do I believe that for the majority of the public I should have a couple of posts that discuss some elements of these beautiful flying machines that in a way help compare them and make some of their stats easier to understand.

Report On Volunteering Part Two

This is part two of the Volunteering speech. It continued as follows:
But, the next volunteering session that took place a day after the previous one, was by far the most fun I had, up until that point probably for a year. It was amazing. The community in which Pitt Main Campus is located is called Oakland. They have regional festivals for the promotion of the community every year. However this year there has been a gang shooting and a young black kid got killed in a drive by. The fair did take place but with people blocking the street with their private cards to prevent the drive bys from occurring at the gathering. There was a lot of police officers. The setting did not promise for a good day. And the group of volunteers after two hours pretty much dwindled to one, me. But that is when it all started. There was a commemorative service, a powerhouse of emotions under the tents that we had helped pull up where the grieving mother spoke while the quire sang “I need you, I want You, help me to survive. The community came together as one in prayer of all religions. And than the free food. With the community showing of their colors with a display of amazing skill and finesse I worked the free food stands and there was a crowd of people around us for over four hours all the time we were handing out delicious treats and cool refreshing drinks. It was as if the world outside melted away and all that was left was this community and this group of people celebrating life and having a good time.
Next I went to the famous Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which were celebrating and commemorating the Louis and Clark expedition, which I am sure you know started on its journey in Pittsburgh, some hundred years ago. Three I talked to people and gave away samples of more berries that the lot of them wanted to know about It was a lot of fun because I had no idea that there are so many berries let alone tastes and uses for them, thoughtfully fascinating. Plus I got to taste more barriers than my family combined in its existence, so I can tell fun stories, I hope.
My first taste of the high life and the high class came on the next internship with Mirela and the mentioned coordinator. It was with an organization called Family House which collects money for disease research. Every year they have a polo match in which a lot of wealthy people show off good cars and eat fascinating food while watching a whole bunch of horses running like mad trying to kick (the humans not the horses) the little ball towards two goalposts, needles to say it was not that fine a game if you a) do not know the rules and b) realize that humans are no longer as crafty with riding horses as they one were, if you ask me. After that we sold things for charity, it was rather splendid as the Expedia Gnome (the Roaming Gnome, the guy with the spiky hat in the hot tub)) would say.
At the end came my second favorite event in volunteering the Magee Women’s hospital big birthday celebration at one of the oldest American amusement parks called Kennywood. The main reason why I did this volunteering event even though I was over the necessary limit of 20 hours was because of the benefits. One would get a brand new high quality T shirt, a bag of presents and a free entrance to Kennywood, just that costing at least 20.00 dollars. Needless to say I stayed for more than 12 hours in the park, after two hours of volunteering that was required, I know crazy.
In summation, event though I was not looking forward to the whole volunteering experience I must conclude now that all things considered it was an amazing experience that was both fun beyond my wildest expectations and beneficial to the point of spurring you into action and into working and meeting the community that one is in. I think that it is definitely within the bounds of merit for this part of the program to be active an possibly increase in the amount of time because school should take precedence but if you have to do it is somewhat easier to immerse yourself completely.
And to my fellow alumnus thank you for letting us know that we need to take the hours early, and I can but to ask those that will follow to take the same heed and not waste our advise and their time much like we may have in vain, but to do the Volunteering as soon as possible.

Report On Volunteering Part One

This is a speech that I held at the State Department in front of the individuals responsible for the development of foreign policy of the United States toward Bosnia and Hercegovina and that were partially responsible for the funding of the foreign exchange program that I was on. They liked the speech I hope you will too. This is part one.
To be completely honest, of all the things that I was looking forward to in coming to the United States volunteering was certainly not high on the list. It was considered by me to be more of a chore than something that might bring about understanding and introduce me to the community and American way of life. Boy, was I wrong.
My volunteering experience turned out to be a great pleasure of a “chore”. Before departing for the United States I had made the determination that before the school starts I will have all of my volunteering done. Thinking it will be as boring as heck I wanted to make it as quick and as painless as possible. To rip it off like a band aid as Phoebe of Friends would say. From the onset it was somewhat of a daunting task having come to a multimillion inhabitant city and having been thrown to unfamiliar surrounding finding somebody that will entrust me with some form of work, event though it was void of charge. It seemed quite unlikely, I dare say.
Luckily the University I was placed with, University of Pittsburgh, has an office that makes the connections between students and potential volunteering employers. Plus my partner Mirela was also interested in doing the required quota of hours ASAP. In the aforementioned office for coordination worked and angel of a human being both mentally and physically, and I am not ashamed top admit it I had gone head over heals for her. I guess I have a habit of doing that. She was friendly, smiling, intelligent and courteous, my type. From the moment I met her I knew that volunteering will be a world of fun. People like this would not be so into it if it did not have some rewarding features I was not privy to knowing about.
Now dear reader you might think that when you come to the US you would like to party first do things that are required of you later, do whatever at whatever time not as soon as you come to the US. That was a mistake that a lot of our predecessors made, do not repeat them but like us, learn from their mistakes, take your volunteer service early and get it done, then if you like it so much you can continue on, if not well no body is twisting your arm, are they.
Here I was eight days of the airplane and I had my first experience in free labor. It was with a charity called Global Links. Their motto is something like “nobody should die because they could not have things we throw away in the US.” Essentially it was a group of people that went around hospitals and asked them for materials that were a part of a set or with the deadline somewhat expired or that have been desterilized, but not used, and that have been thrown away because of the malpractice suits possibility due to the structure of the US Legal system. So we basically sorted medical equipment into boxes that will be shipped to countries that need them. It was a blast.
Pitt has a lot of fairs in the beginning of the school year. Three days after Global Links I went to work on the tables in one of the fairs rising awareness about cancer treatment and selling cards that help raise funding. It was a world of fun because it gave me the opportunity to actually talk with people and try to get to know people that I would later on call my friends.

How To with Haris: MUN, Resolution Writting Part Two

This is part two on the topic of resolutions in the How To With Haris series.
Delegates should be willing to compromise on issues which will lead to consensus if consensus is in that countries interest, please do not consensus for the sake of consensus. Sometimes people will be trying to adversely persuade you and push you into consensus. This is where research is critical, if it is in your countries interest do not consensus no matter what. Don’t be suckered by personal insults either just report them to the chair and maintain your business. Delegates should bear in mind that most resolutions should be “merged” if national interests, and you must know those cold and security are not undermined. Resolution writing should not be viewed as an opportunity to make a rhetorical or ideological statement unless it is. Resolutions should draw parties together into dialogue and stimulate mutual interest in negotiation and compromise for the greater good. But the interest of your country takes precedence nearly if not every time . The condemnation of any party only leads to alienation and decreases the chances of success in achieving international solutions to world problems. Of course there are some instances where condemnation is the proper course of action.
Also please note that passing a resolution is extremely difficult. It is a job and a labour that most of the time last through all the days of the conferences and is either adopted or not at the very end. A lot of the time many resolutions will simply be shot down and you will have to go and speak to the persons who voted no to find out what was wrong and how you can change it and than you will have to make sure that the changes that you might have made will not make any of the others that voted yes to change their vote and than you will try to change to sustained to a yes and so on. This is negotiations and a lot of the times it is front and canter at the MUN Do not get frustrated if you do not pass your resolution once, twice even three times. I remember once at a conference called LEMUN the Russian Federation had submitted a resolution for adoption three times each time making the necessary changes and when the resolution did not pass the third time they bought a pack of soldiers and spread them around their desk thus declaring but not publicly cold war on the rest and they just basically checked out of the discussion frustrated at the whole body.
A resolution is a single sentence, with the different sections separated by semi-colons and commas. The subject of the sentence is the organ-making statement. The remainder of the resolution is divided into two parts: a perambulatory section, with phrases ending in commas, and an operative section, with phrases ending in semi-colons. The perambulatory phrases are justifications for actions. They usually begin with a participle (eg. –ing, -ed) and denote Charter authorization for actions, past resolutions, precedent, and statements about particular purposes for the action. Operative phrases are the policy portion of the resolution. Each of these usually start with a third person singular verb, and taken as a whole, deals with one idea arranged in logical progression. Each phrase should not be a collection of unrelated statements on a broad topic, but should deal with only one aspect of the question. The last phrase of the resolution ends with a period. Every line of writing is numbered throughout the resolution; and operative phrases are numbered (the numbers in bold) while perambulatory phrases are not. All resolutions must have a minimum of five sponsors in order for it to be officially submitted to the director. The aim of the Council, however, is to achieve unanimity in our resolutions.

Sample Phrases for Writing Resolutions

Perambulatory phrases

Affirming
Alarmed by
Approving
Aware of
Believing
Bearing in mind
Confident
Deeply concerned
Deeply conscious
Deeply convinced
Deeply disturbed
Deeply regretting
Desiring
Emphasizing
Expecting
Expressing its appreciation Expressing its satisfaction
Fulfilling
Fully aware
Fully alarmed
Fully believing
Further deploring
Further recalling
Guided by
Having adopted
Having considered
Having considered further
Having devoted attention
Having examined
Having studied
Having heard
Having received Keeping in mind
Noting with satisfaction
Noting further
Noting with deep concern
Noting with approval
Observing
Realizing
Reaffirming
Recalling
Recognizing
Referring
Seeking
Taking into account
Taking into consideration
Taking note
Viewing with appreciation
Welcoming

Operative Phrases

Accepts
Affirms
Approves
Authorizes
Calls
Calls upon
Condemns
Congratulates
Confirms
Considers
Declares accordingly
Draws the attention
Designates Emphasizes
Encourages
Endorses
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its hope
Further invites
Further proclaims
Further reminds
Further recommends
Further requests
Have solved
Notes Proclaims
Reaffirms
Recommends
Reminds
Regrets
Requests
Solemnly affirms
Strongly condemns
Supports
Trusts
Takes note of
Transmits
Urges



This text is a heavily modified version of a text written by Faris Hadrovic, the Secretary General, Chair and main instructor of MUN at the Balkan Case Challenge. No infringement on his copyright is intended.

How To with Haris: MUN, Resolution Writting Part One

The resolution is the primary document in the conference, and the main focus for negotiations. This is what is advice that you will almost always hear from an MUN instructor. However this sometimes just isn’t so. You see even in the real Security Council the goal is not always to pass a resolution and some (if not most) of the time the goal of someone is not to pass a resolution. To find out what the policy of your county is there is no better substitute than research. Look at what kind of resolutions they sponsor what kind of resolutions they vote yes on, when are they sustained and when do they vote no or veto the resolution. This last distinction can be the same but most of the time isn’t. The use of the veto as I have pointed out previously is a big move and is never taken lightly. This is written for those times and occasions where it is in your (you countries) interest to create or pass a resolution.
While most resolutions state national policies, some may include an entire treaty, declaration, or convention. Resolutions can be either general statements or directives to specific organizations, UN bodies, or states. They can condemn actions of states, call for collective action, or, as in the case of the Security Council, require economic or military sanctions. Please note that sometimes a condemnation is all you will be able to get. Although it does not sound like it is too much it is just how the system works and a condemnation cam mean a difference between a loss and a win. Resolutions and amendments are the basis for substantive debate and negotiations. This sentence is valid most of the time. Sometimes and depending on the situation and the level of sophistication and school of thought there will be a lot of one on one negotiations that relate to different appeasements and details used to get the vote of parties that are either disinterested or have a significant stake but do not want to lose face publicly or that wish for some other things more badly. Never underestimate the power of one on one negotiations not necessarily directly involving the resolution. A resolution is prepared by an individual nation or by a group of nations. They can be written up by other organizations or individuals but the nourishment and the care of the resolution in the Sec Council is strictly given to the countries that decide to sponsor or co sponsor it. Once a resolution has passed, it is considered the official policy of the body that has passed it. If it is a Security Council resolution than it is legally binding as per the UN Charter to all member states of the UN. In writing a resolution, the Council should keep in mind the specific capabilities of the body being simulated. Besides that one must often use a reality check in the council chambers. Tempers will flare and sometimes they should but this is not a justification for proclaiming war, for instance, on that nation unless it is called for by the scenario because you do not necessarily have the authority to do that most of the time and that is simply unrealistic doing something like that might lead in the best case to you not being taken seriously and in a worst case to disqualification. Most of the time stunts in the security chambers will lead to automatic loss. Resolutions should be written in the official format and divided into perambulatory and operative sections. They should be turned in to the Secretariat (President) for approval and codification during the conference before they can be discussed during the formal debate of the Commission. Resolutions should not be viewed as documents that are written in isolation. Again this applies most of the time. Usually they should be drafted and “tested” through discussion with fellow delegates and with allies while lobbying during the conference. A delegate’s main aim should be to formulate a resolution, which both sustains his/her country’s position and attracts the support of others. For this please refer to what I wrote I the beginning. While negotiating, delegates should never violate their countries’ position or policy.
This text is a heavily modified version of a text written by Faris Hadrovic, the Secretary General, Chair and main instructor of MUN at the Balkan Case Challenge. No infringement on his copyright is intended.

Right To Food Argument Part Three

This is Part Three to my Right to Food post.
Another problem of reasonable concern is the amount of debt that the individuals are in. Like the great king Solon of Ancient Greece so should the sate eventually through small steps get rid of debt and do so in an initial step of relieving the burden that is imposed on the people today with the final goal of complete debt reduction.
This step would go a long way in the desired direction. The state should use its power to create jobs in massive public constructions like power houses or more importantly roads to facilitate the transfer of goods and eventually services. Government is also to focus, in line with the argument of Plato on the education of its citizens for there is no better way to increase future productivity and there is no greater assurances for the future than having a highly educated population. The state should also encourage the educated implantation and growing of crops as well as educated melioration of the crops with the threat of sanctions to those defying this provision of what should be put in the domestic criminal law.
International
The third, international or global level of observation, as the two levels before it bears great amount of significance and has the potential to greatly contribute to the reduction and eventual complete elimination of world hunger. It is up to the international community to attempt to facilitate the government or state in the achievement of these truly difficult and painful steps that have been described before. The organizations such as the IMF and the WB should be asked to stimulate the economies and attempts of the state and eventually consider debt annulment. Organizations such as FAO, WHO, WTO should meet together to consider what are possible steps that can be made. Standard bearing international organizations, which are those organizations that determine the standards under which events in the international community and within the realm of domestic sovereignty are to occur should closely monitor the process and point out to the government the good or bad steps that it is taking. Also they should have little temper with those states that are not making steps toward general betterment. In the case that the state is not willing to implement the process of recovery and the implementation of the plan and the populations decides to actively oppose it the international community should facilitate the efforts of the people because they are the bearers of the sovereignty in their attempts to ensure their own better future under the rains of a better government that truthful listens to the voices of the people. Perhaps some sort of interstate peer helper system could be envisaged with the hegemony, the United States and the head, which would greatly facilitate the creation of friendly ties between states and maybe in the process reaffirm the bonds of peace.

Right To Food Argument Part Two

This is the Part Two of my Right to Food post.
There needs to be something done. To look at this problem wholeheartedly, one needs not look at the global picture, but at the separate levels of human life and the life of a sovereign state itself. One needs to look at separate tiers of influence, or to be more specific, one needs to look at the level of the individual, the state (government that is the legal authority in the given territory) and one needs to look at the international system.
The perspective used is also very suitable to explain how one might improve the current situation. This is the part of the text that addresses concrete measures that the levels of observance can undertake in order to rid themselves of this gruesome plague.
Individual
“All strategies have to start with the reliance on the efforts of the individual human being to try to solve their own problem and to assist in helping others.” (Eide, previously mentioned work)
One can look at the individual level from two perspectives.
The first perspective is that of the individual that has sufficient living conditions and has plenty of food. What this individual can done with without infringing on his rights or taking away his property without the due process of law or just compensation, is to be educated. The individual can be asked that on one particular day, hopefully in the summer the individual could decide not to eat for the day and night a thing. This simple effect could go a long way to help in the process. Also some sort of peer mentorship process as penpalship, the dying art, could be implemented for both educational purposes and for betterment of relations and understanding.
The other side of looking at the individual level of observance is the one of the individual that has very little or nothing to eat, basically the one that leads a life that does not satisfy basic nutritional needs. One can ascertain to a reasonable degree of certainty that if there was something these individual were able to do they would have done it and would have gotten themselves out of their current predicament. But that is a misconception. The state in a democratic system draws its legality, authority and life itself from the people. Corruption in the government can be stopped by votes, by the choice of the people. If the county does not entertain periodical elections there is always civil disobedience, marching on the capital, peaceful protests, and as the last resort armed conflict, as a possible course of action. These courses of action can and most probably will force the state and the government itself to look at that problem that they have and will be used as a sort of the magnifying glass for the problems of the individual. Only once the corruption is weeded out can there be prosperity and advancement in the field of nutrition and generally all around. People should take a very pro active role in their food production and demand jobs and efficient, effective programs while also demanding high inputs in to theirs education form their government as a pre-emption for the continuation of the starvation that they’re going through.
Government
The most important actor in this position and in this situation is the state or the government. The sovereignty and its authority spring out from the people and the people give them their mandate. If we are to follow Lockian logic, they gave away some of their rights for protections, and in this case that protection is not form the individual from outside of the group but from a far more deadly opponent, hunger. The very future existence of the government depends on the task at hand. As was the case with the individual level the first task is to weed out corruption. While this has been attempted and is constantly performed the process of getting rid of corruption is not easy but is of unspeakable importance. All the resources of the country should go to get rid of this menace to a reasonable degree, for it is one of the large contributors to the situation at hand, but also because this is the initial step that will enable future expansion and resolution of the hunger problem. Imagine trying to solve the hunger problem in a country with a high degree of corruption, and compare it to building a house with soft foundations. The house as well as the effort itself will sink through the ground. Corruption should be dealt with harshly and swiftly by adopting draconian like sanctions in the domestic legal system, and establishing n international agency that is independent of inputs and that is in charge with unbiased assessment with the levels of corruption in a given country.

Right To Food Argument Part One

Few and far between are those today who would argue that the right to live is an elemental and perhaps the most fundamental of all rights. We however must ask ourselves can a man live well, or simply live at all without the proper or at leas the most basic of foods and nutritional needs. Even when the United Nations declaration of Human Rights was being drafted, the right to food was being discussed and as a result of its magnitude and importance was included in this very basic, foundational document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the article 25. “It has since been further elaborated and made legally binding on states parties to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights Article 11 and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 24 as well as to a number of other more specific provisions.” (Eide, The right to food and to be free from hunger, and its application on poverty reduction strategies). The right to food as has been stated is now rooted, though not universally agreed upon in to the fabric of the rights of man. It is impossible to practice the rights to live let alone the other perhaps less basic but certainly not less important rights without the right to food and the right to proper nourishment.
Many human rights declarations are very clear when it comes to the issue of the right to food. Some of them are the already mentioned, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, The Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization, an organization that is part of the United Nations and that deals with the issues in its title, by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the previously mentioned United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in the World Food Summit Plan of Action. Those resolutions have been worked over in the writings of many jurisprudents in the field of international law and in the meetings of the leaders and their representatives and through them the representatives of the wishes of their people. Still the progress is not of significant or pertinent magnitude.
The economist Maltus in a paper he wrote years back stunned the world with his prediction that the human race is breading out of control and that in the foreseeable future there will be mass exterminations of people due to the rapid growth of the population that is advancing at a geometrical progress as opposed to the development of the ability of the planet to yield so much food to feed the people. He considered the extinction normal, as a different form of population control, a safe fail of sorts to prevent overpopulation. Some of his comments, though fundamentally flawed and disproved by the mere passage of time, still reverberate in the ears of some world leaders. This is a factual malfeasance. The world can supply “everyone in the world with at least 2.720 kilocalories a day, in agreement with essential nutrient guidelines (Facts about hunger, from stophunger.org), this is sufficient not only for a well nutritional life but enough to make all the people in the world fat.
Today there are over 800 000 000 people who are not able to meet their basic nutritional need. The trend is downwards and there are approximately 6 000 000 fewer people hungry in the world today. This plan, however, will take until 2050 for the members of the human genus to be famine free. Many lives will be lost till then.
The experts are calling for a decrease in the size of those hungry close to 20 000 000 people a year. This change and the general change toward a world without starvation are not likely to occur overnight nor is it likely that it will occur at the point of a gun. Chances are that it will take a long time, fueled by the slow engine of consensus and voluntary actions, for the planet earth to be famine free.

Roman Political Campaigns Part Four

This is the fourth and last part of my inquiry into the political campaigns of Ancient Rome.
Organization of games and theatrical fests was a common tradition. As a matter of a fact these games were a lot of the times considered pivotal in success of the campaigns for political office, especially for consulship: “So if the splendor of games causes pleasure to the people it was only expected that they should win … popular support.” ”Believe me people have a good time at the games.” “I myself have given three sets of games when was edile.” Cicero goes on to say that individuals are remembered in the good light if they make good games, and that makes the individuals more likely to vote for them. This is one of the sources of corruption. Giving off seats, is identified, to a particular voting tribe in the gladiatorial buts. This was considered as corruption for it made that tribe more likely to vote for an individual that has provided them with seats at the venue of their entertainment.
Perception of the candidate was pivotal in the political campaigns. One should have a happy expression on ones face have control of his faculties at all the time have control of his temper, completely dedicate himself to the campaign, and the task at hand. It can be crushing, as Cicero reminds us for a candidate to seem like he already lost the elections so he wants to employ all the possible means to thwart the creation of such rumors. He should pay individuals to paint campaign messages for him, and should seem like he really cares for the general welfare of the populace. This is also important. He should always give promises to anything, for if he does give the promise, at rare times will he be called to deliver on them, but if he does not give promises that will certainly hurt him in his campaign.
There should at all times be an entourage of individuals around the candidate. These consist of the individuals that were partially singled out in the description of the power bases. The individuals should advocate their individual, vote for him, work at the campaign guard the candidate and appear at public functions with him praising him. This is their way of repaying the candidate for his good deeds and affects that he had had on their lives, for they are relatively without power but are able to repay them in this fashion. This is something that both of the Tullio Brothers agree on in their respective publications which serve greatly as the inspiration for the mentioning.
Some individuals freed slaves so that they could vote for them as freedmen, because freedmen had the ability to vote but not be elected. This of course was for those that were well off. One will notice that this is one of the bribery law provisions, or two actually. Paying for individuals to follow one around and to greet him. This is justified in the understanding that that was a recognition method among candidates to see which has done what to these people for him to campaign for him. If one was to pay for those individual it is comparable to somebody lying about themselves. That is why this law was enacted, and had this not been so that one would be able to be elected event though his character, which he falsely represented was not to grant so.
This was a brief overlook of the roman Campaign for Political Office. The germ of what is today’s selection of the president in the US and in other countries of the world. Please note that taught by the AntiShue huge blog I have decided to parcel this one for easier more convenient reading. Please let me know what you think about it.

Roman Political Campaigns Part Three

This is part three of my inquiry into the political campaigns of Ancient Rome.

The second base of power is the soldier, or the military personnel in general. “Friendly feelings among the soldiers and their votes are powerful factors, because the soldiers are so numerous and besides they can influence their friends.” The general populace, the third power base, is grateful to the military for their service and for keeping them safe, they see them in triumphal processions with all their might and power at display, and the testifying of soldiers as to the character of the person, as to the deeds whilst maintaining the security and fighting for the interest of the empire carries an enormous weight because even the aristocracy is appreciative of military conquests. Besides the most obvious step which is joining the army after the redesign or volunteering before conscription in the beginning one can gain favor of this power base by showing valor, by being on strong character, repeat some of the things with the aristocracy, befriend the centurions and promise to the troops rewards to be handed to them after the campaign has come to an end. This will not only insure that they talk good about yourselves, in your favor, but will insure the soldier vote, which again is quiet numerous and influential. Being in the military also impresses the general populace. The roman mob like gladiatorial combat because they believed that seeing a man face death and than seeing a man actually die would strengthen their own character. Gladiators were honored, but not like those that faced death on their own behalf, not like those that have killed themselves, and there is nothing quite like a triumph to boost ones chances in the political campaigns. Caesar is a clear example, need one say anything else. As a matter of fact when comparing the professions that one might undertake if one wants to have a good political career Cicero puts being in the military as second only to his own trade of oratory. Oratory had a spell binding influence and was the mightiest of political tools in the right hands. The reason for this is that the third base of support is the general populace. One can remember that Cesar had his support and power base in the populace.
The general populace, like it name states is the population of Rome, which was described as lazy, just wanting food and games and not wanting to work, yet with a vote, a quiet a powerful vote, without which one could argue no one could become a magistrate. The mob is stupid exclaimed Socrates at one pointing his life. The individual is smart. Well this is so because the mob is swayed quite easily. The mob has a character that is driven not by actual merits of the candidate but actually a character that is driven by perception, swayed by rumors and that was won over with, yes Bread and Games. That is all that was needed to sway the populace voice. Is it not than surprising that in the anti-corruption law feeding the populace for votes and securing them locations and seats in gladiatorial combats, one of the rare means of entertainment at that time was considered to be against the law, or in other words bribery. The enormous sums of money one could secure for the campaign could buy a lot of bread or form a lot of interesting games. That was not creating a level playing field and almost ensured election for particular groups and a clear cut opportunity for large scale corruption at these very important positions at the top of the empire.

Roman Political Campaigns Part Two

This is part two of my inquiry into the political campaigns of Ancient Rome.

In this province they could return their investments many times over and in the process amass great amounts of fortune, many times to ensure next political campaigns in the line of cursus honorum. This it is quite understandable was one of the great incentives for individuals to go into elections and to for the most time be quite criminal about it such as employing bribes and things of such nature. Also the kinds of debts that those politicians could get themselves into made them individuals that had to return certain favours to certain individuals. This also created corruption. One of the great manifestations of corruption was bribery. What was this exuberant, debt and servitude inspiring money needed for one might ask, well it goes back to the proverb Bread and Games, and/or buying votes, because “bribery was more common that it is even today.” As Cicero stated that according to a law that he sponsored by the name of: “Calprunian law was contravened if men were paid to meet the candidates, if people were hired to act as escorts if at gladiatorial combats places were allotted to the crowd according to tribes if free diners were given to the public.”
In Rome even the aristocracy was forced to go down to the commons ask them for votes. There were three bases of power if one can call them as such that are derived from the speech by Cicero. The first is the aristocratic. One was to court the aristocrats to befriend them to know them well to ask them for services as humbly as possible to plead with them and to generally and basically do whatever they can to try to win them over. One is to ask favors directly from those that owed those favors to them, one is to ask those that he defended in court, even those that he had defeated in court, or the soldiers that he was stationed with for their testimonies and for them to be in their entourage, because the voices of the soldiers were very powerful and their testimonies were of great value (what I am referring to here are the aristocratic soldiers, such as the leaders of cohorts, or of the higher location in the chain of command.) These distinguished individuals that were of aristocratic roots and that were perhaps in debt to the politicians were of innumerable value to those running for office. Aristocrats had “a god-given right to rule Rome” they have the background, and maybe wealth to assist. Many of the families have had ruling members for time after time during the course of history. This has created the influence and the network of support that can make or break a political career of an individual. If a man of background and a man of wealth were running opposite each other, even Cicero mentions in the speech For Murena, that those that do not have that king of a background have a lot of ground to core and that those with familial roots definitely have the advantage for they have event those individuals that are not running supporting them and they have influential members of the family probably in other parts of the elected government which can campaign on their behalf and create much favor with the other bases of power.


Roman Political Campaigns Part One

In my life I have not only successfully completed the Roman Law class but I have also successfully completed a Roman Civilization class. I love Ancient Rome and am fascinated by many aspects of their way of life. In a way a lot of the basic fundamentals of modern day politics in the western world and beyond have been influenced by Rome. The entire legal system of Europe also known as the Continental legal system is based on the old Roman Law. Is there any doubt or confusions as to why I like it as much as I do.
For Romans, politics and running for political office was a way of life. By Romans of course I mean those that were free, those that were the heads of families, those that were exclusively men, and those that were the citizens of Rome. “The percentage of the population that was deeply involved in politics was small - in the Republican period there were only about 300 Senate members – but the stakes were high: control over Rome, Italy, and a far-flung empire.” Indeed only the select few, the elite was able to run for office and be able to perform the duties associated herewith, as for the rest, well there was a roman proverb that was something of the sort of “Panem at Circus”, Bread and Games. That was what was reserved for the masses. Women and slaves were not to even approach politics and had positively and legally no hopes of a position. Same was for freedmen and foreigners. As for the select few “the process of campaigning was virtually unending.”
It began in early childhood “A boys rhetorical education and a young mans activities in the law courts were preparations for a political career.” Everything a young ambitious mad did in his life was geared towards his up and coming political career. Cicero states that the two best occupations for someone that wants to make a career in politics are oratory and military life. As far as someone who takes to law to be in political life is not of such great value because those of law tend to focus more on words and formulas, nothing complicated. One should prove his metal in the courts by his abilities and accomplishments as an orator. If not he should undertake military life because he gains the favor of the military and thus powerful allies, and every one of the politicians should know the fine art of waging war and keeping the people safe.
For those ambitious ones there was a destiny to follow, a “god given right to rule Rome”, but one had to start small and follow the hierarchical course of offices called cursus honorum. There were age limitations imposed by the law, this was to prevent one man from gaining too much influence and taking over the republic, for who was it that said power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, or to prevent those that are not mature or ready from taking a course that is less than prudent in the development of Rome. Senate, though could waive the age limitations. One is reminded of the incident when Augustus was to take office but was too young, and he sent a party to the Senate. Upon hearing the objections a particular centurion pointed to his weapon and stated that unless the Senate appointed Augustus to the position this (meaning the weapon) will, this was told by Suitonious. But for the most part majority of the politicians followed the cursus honorum. Another thing is that the people who ran for the political offices had to be wealthy and or had to get into abhorrent debts due to the nature of the political campaigns. One is reminded of Cesar’s plight when on the eve of the elections for Pontifex Maximus, a highest priest position, and thus very lucrative, upon leaving his house Caesar exclaimed something to the tone, either I will return victorious or will not return at all, tells us Suitonious. The campaigns drained funds and could lead to ultimate ruin of those that are not elected, and on top of that the positions a politician was elected to were not paid, but were pro-bono work. It was believed to be underneath the elected and for the most part respected officials to be paid for their services. However upon completion of a service those magistrates were rewarded with a gubernatorial position in a province that was determined by drawing lots.