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17/03/2011 / stjornmal

Internet and democracy

Is democracy threatened by the unchecked nature of  information on the internet?

Check out this debate on the matter:  Internet and Democracy




17/03/2011 / stjornmal

What the hell are we waiting for?

The international community has a certain responsibility. We cannot simply sit idly by while innocent people are being killed in the streets of Libya.

Moammar Gadhafi is left free to bomb and kill those who oppose him. There is no doubt that the US will not intervene without a UN resolution. To Gadhafi and his sons the message could not be any clearer, the world cannot decide what to do and so Gadhafi and his men have concluded that no one will stop them.

Is the international community going to sit by and watch for another Rwanda? Remember that it took the Hutus´ only about a hundred days to murder an estimate of 800 thousand people.


“Never again” the world said, “never again”. Though now, it certainly looks like it is going to happen once again.



17/03/2011 / stjornmal

Internet exploitation

As I talked about in my previous blog, the internet is becoming more and more important in the political field. Politicians are using the internet, either to connect with supporters or promoting themselves to gain more support.

But do politicians only use the internet for good or does the internet offer a way for them to manipulate public opinion?

Of course it depends on the politicians themselves, but the constantly hardening battle of promoting themselves can push them in an inappropriate direction. The internet offers a simpler way to get public attention and of course to spread rumors about their components, faster than ever.

The internet has good sides, and it has bad sides. It rests upon people’s conscience which side they choose to use to reach to the public.  Communication websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. can easily be exploited when one sets out to do so. Whether it is to promote oneself or to destroy someone’s reputation.

Public opinion can be changed fast and people seldom check facts when hearing or seeing something published on the internet. Damaging someone’s reputations is there for easier than ever. Yet, it is also easier for the one damaged to repair his or her reputation by taking actions on the internet and use it to prevent further damage.

17/03/2011 / stjornmal

Emperor Akihito

On March 16th, Emperor Akihito of Japan made a rare television appearance in Japan. Akihito, who spoke for about 6 minutes, addressed the Japanese people and gave them his condolences. This was the first made-for-television address by a Japanese monarch.

“It is important that each of us shares the difficult days that lie ahead,” … “I pray that we will all take care of each other and overcome this tragedy”

Many compared this television address to the radio address his father, Emperor Hirohito, made when he announced Japan’s surrender at the end of  World War II. That was the first time most Japanese people ever heard the emperors voice.

After the earthquake in Kobe in 1995 which killed more than 6400 people, Akihito released a written statement.

The emperor is greatly respected in Japan. Akihito, who is 77 years old, became the emperor in 1989 after the death of his father.

His family line can be traced back through an astonishing 126 generations and more than 2,500 years of history.


(sources: 1, 2.)

16/03/2011 / stjornmal

Never again

“Never again” the world said after the holocaust in WWII. “Never again” shall such a tragic event take place before our eyes. But it did.

In April 1994, after the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana, genocide was sparked in Rwanda. Because President Habyarimana was a Hutu, the blame for his death was put on the Tutsi rebel group led by the current President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.  A wave of rage ran through Rwanda and Hutu´s started attacking the Tutsis.

Over the course of 100 days an estimated 800.000 Rwandans were killed. But could some of that have been prevented?

UN Force Commander Roméo Dallaire, warned the UN Security Council of what was happening in the country. He had around 3.000 UNAMIR soldiers under his command and he asked for reinforcement of 2.000 soldiers for UNAMIR because he believed that would give the UN enough leverage to put an end to the killings. The UN refused, partly because of US opposition. And while the world watched the Security Council took its time considering if acts of genocide had in fact occurred. After six weeks the Security Council finally admitted that acts of genocide had occurred.

The genocide ended on 18. July, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) reached the capital Kigali and gained control over the country.

“Never again”, said the world once again. “Never again”.



16/03/2011 / stjornmal

Old news

When writing an essay, sources are important. I’d like to tell you about two webpages I often use.

1: Tí

Tí is a collaborative project between the National Library of the Faroe Islands, the National and Public Library of Greenland and National and University Library of Iceland. It’s basically a digital library that hosts millions of pages from old newspapers and magazines. Currently there are 3,559,226 pages online and most of them are searchable for text. This service is free of charge.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the president of Iceland, was first mentioned in an Icelandic newspaper on the 27th of April, 1957, one day before his confirmation.

2. Google News Archive Search

Similar to Tí but not all content is free of charge. It’s easy to search the archives. I typed ‘Iceland’ in and hit the search button. Check out the picture below. It’s from the Quebec Herald and dates all the way back to the year 1789. Click on the picture to see it larger.


Also, check out – it’s loaded with all kinds of stuff, movies, audio, text and software. Here is a link to their blog and here is a blogpost of the “Top 40 best free legal movies you can download right now“.

Do you know of any similar webpages?



15/03/2011 / stjornmal

Gay rights are civil rights

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

When Martin Luther King jr. spoke these words he was talking about a different fight for civil rights. But even though King and his followers managed to bring equal rights to African American people in America there is still a large group of people being discriminated against all over the world.

Gay people have been fighting for their civil rights for decades and so far they are allowed to live together, but in a handful of countries, and a few states in America, they are allowed to get married and have children. In other countries they are tortured and even killed for who they are, for loving a person of the same sex.

When are we going to realize that all men are born equal and no matter what, we can never change that? Love does not discriminate, so why should we? Why should we be able to tell a certain group of people they don´t have a right to be in love with a certain person? or get married? or have children?

Martin Luther King jr. also said that “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Discrimination in any form is nothing but ignorance and stupidity.