Global Innovations for Digital Organizing

Global Innovations for Digital Organizing: Open Data, Good Governance, and Online/Offline Advocacy | TechChange | The Institute for Technology and Social Change.

It’s not like I don’t have enough to do at the moment, but this course looks really interedting. I’ve long admired the work that Tech Change do and reckon it could provide useful learning for my thesis next year.

A closing window: looming food crises in the Sahel

Press conferences can be dull at the best of times. The prospect of sitting through a 40 minutes audio recording of the heads of UNICEF, WHO and UNHCR didn’t exactly fill me with glee but as I’m in the middle of researching my entry to the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition I thought it was worth a shot.

The reality is that this recording makes for compelling listening. Anthony Lake (Executive Director, UNICEF)Margaret Chan (Director-General, WHO) and António Guterres (High Commissioner, UNHCR) talk honestly, openly and with surprising passion about the need of the international community to take action on the coming crisis which still has scope for the potential damage to be limited if action is taken now.

Gutteres makes a key point that we live in a one-issue world. While Syria has pushed other pertinent issues of the international news agenda there remains a responsibility to act in a manner that not only addresses the short term symptoms but attempts to solve the underlying issues causing food insecurity

Why, as a black person, I applaud John Derbyshire’s race article

The eponymous publisher of Taki mag is a convicted felon, known coke fiend and out and out racist to boot. As such it comes as no surprise that the columnists he has writing for his online rag are of a similarly unpleasant vein.

John Derbyshire’s article is one of the most depressing articles on the state of Western society that I have ever read. As I’ve written here in the past, prejudice and racism have always existed. I’d argue if we want to combat it, or even work with it, then we have to understand the factors that cause it. But for all my attempts at objective reasoning , Derbyshire’s article is a slap in the face.

Some, including Forbes magazine, are now calling for Derbyshire to be fired. To me this seems like a counter-productive move. He was writing in a publication for ignoramus, run by ignoramuses – there was no slip-up here – his comments are an expression of his considered view on race relations.

Despite the many flaws of the liberal democracy in which we live the right to free speech should not be undermined. In fact I applaud John Derbyshire’s article because it answers, in a manner far more damning than I could ever hope to achieve, every accusation that black people have a chip on their shoulder, choose to play the race card or that race is no longer an issue because there’s a black man in the White House.

In a world in which white children are educated on race relations by parents like John Derbyshire the, oft used and consistently damaging, argument that we are living in a post-racial era or that it’s possible for minorities to choose when and when not their race is an issue is shown for it truly is – utter rubbish.