Friday, February 22, 2008

My Dad Might Be Right (?)

Well, I bought a paper when I was in Albuquerque - I was on a quest to purchase a Wii for my kids and needed the circulars. No luck with the Wii but I did read the Parade Magazine in the Albuquerque Journal. It's top story was titled: "Who is the World's Worst Dictator, Our Annual Top 10. I was intrigued to say the least. The article included pictures, defined what kind of atrocities the dictator was currently engaged in and also identified how the U.S.A. is linked to the country being described.

What was shocking to me was that we are giving aid and business dollars to each of these countries in some way, shape or form- very discouraging to say the least. I know there are times when you may overlook something to get what you want, but the things these dictators do cannot be overlooked- unless you are unaware. Atrocities on the list include, but are not limited to: no access to information; all government propaganda, collective punishment- 3 generations getting punished for one member's alleged crime, labor camps, firing at crowds gathered to protest, women not being able to seek medical care without a male guardian's permission, forced abortions, limiting practice of religion, public hangings, and many others.

So it is my goal to be more aware of where we purchase things from and consciously choose to boycott those countries that fall in these categories. I know there is much more we need to do to really resolve the problem, but this is the first step for me. My dad would agree that we should not buy foreign products and only support the US economy. We came to this conclusion from different angles- but it is worth mentioning that we agree on this one.

One thing we don't completely agree on is seeking out new energy resources for cars and other oil dependent products. I think we need to aggressively put dollars toward research and development to increase our options. Papa believes that there are enough oil resources (in the US) to last a long time and we need to just be willing to drill for it.

I guess I would like us to become as diversified as possible, having choices and not feeling like we "have to" compromise our values by purchasing oil or other products from these dictatorships.

By the way, the top 10 worst dictators according to the Albuquerque Journal are:
1. Kim Jong-IL North Korea
2. Omar Al-Bashir Sudan
3. Than Shwe Burma
4. King Abdullah Saudi Arabia
5. Hu Jintao China
6. Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe
7. Sayyid Ali Khamenei Iran
8. Pervez Musharraf Pakistan
9. Islam Karimov Uzbekistan
10. Isayas Afewerki Eritrea

I am going to need to get a world map out for some of these countries- never heard of Eritrea before.

So, right now, I know I can keep this list with me at the store and be more discerning about my purchases. By the way, there are many more countries that have abhorrent practices- these are just the 10 worst according to Parade magazine. If you are interested in the whole article you can access it here. It is a good read and very informative.

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