International Crisis Group [ICG]


The Freedom of Thought Report

The Freedom of Thought Report is an annual survey on discrimination and persecution against non-religious people in countries around the world.

The first report was published in 2012 on International Human Rights Day, 10 December. In his preface to the report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said:

As a universal human right, freedom of religion or belief has a broad application. However, there seems to be little awareness that this right also provides a normative frame of reference for atheists, humanists and freethinkers and their convictions, practices and organizations. I am therefore delighted that for the first time the Humanist community has produced a global report on discrimination against atheists. I hope it will be given careful consideration by everyone concerned with freedom of religion or belief.

For the 2013 report we asked two victims of anti-atheist persecution to provide the introductory remarks. The cases of Kacem El Ghazzali and Alber Saber, from Morocco and Egypt respectively, also feature in the report. They said:

Freedom of thought and belief must not be compromised. When regimes violently attack people for their ideas and beliefs, all human rights suffer. Oppression of thought by the state is a sign, not of strength, but of egomania and cowardice.

In spite of international treaties and conventions, many states discriminate in subtler but important ways. And this has a global impact. Laws against “insulting” religion in relatively secure, relatively secular countries, for example, are not only analogues of the most vicious blasphemy laws anywhere in the world, but help to sustain the global norm under which thought is policed and punished.

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The FOTR 2012
The FOTR 2013

On the Closure of the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts

The Department of History at Addis Ababa University in Focus

Addis Ababa University

That is my fav advice to novice alumni and senior academicians:
Today’s students must avoid falling into the trap of becoming graduate clones. Daring to spend your higher education years doing something you may not do for the rest of your life might just pay off after all.

When Collin Powell was at the point in his life to have a university education, considering the condition of poverty they are in, though with materialistic emphasis, his  mother Ari advised young Powell to go to the School of Engineering. She said to him: “You should go to the school of engineering. That is where the money is man.”

Governments having a difficulty in preaching their political gospels and suffering from their alter egos order the closure of the arts and humanities departments: Music, Theatrical Arts, Philosophy, History, Political Science…giving the argument, “for now we are busy feeding millions, constructing millions, enriching millions, sanitizing millions,……millions” though with insufficient grounds and criteria of appropriateness. Despite the path they followed to become the men in power using political propaganda, legal justifications, religious zeal, artistic reasoning, moral manipulation, historical reviews, their tendency to remember the distant past with all its values, contexts, essences, master minds and dons is lacking. Simply, they are afraid of their imaginations of the past, the traumatized alter egos. They don’t want to remember those bygone days through the arts and the humanities, though they are barely running away from their pain immersed into the lake of consolations of the arts and the humanities. The major argument here is: we are the thinking class for you, you need not worry. We do all the thinking, while you are doing all the taxing, working, obeying, keeping silent…etc. There could be no development without our philosophy, the philosophy of fetishism.

Academicians within these schools by themselves are dumbstruck, when it comes to the shutting down of the very departments they were teaching in for more than a generation. They run out of arguments to convince anyone with an inquiry as to their very existence. They lose the words used for arguing in favor of the values they are adding to the social capital.

Poor families and the ignorati have a fervent belief in the idea that, if they could send their children to the career-choice rich departments , they could go #Eureka, they could debunk the secret behind their bone-chilling destitution. The sad story here is, those family-purpose-laden youth are without their own self-tailored beliefs, aspirations and values. They are rather taken as one way ticket to “redemption”, freedom from material deprivation, though not from freedom from fear or  freedom for self-development. What they must bear in mind, the youth that joins universities with this Avatar Project: a family hypnotized brain full of other worldly ideas and practices., from outside the subjective sphere of the youth’s free will is nothing more than mass enslavement at the detriment of human values and beliefs.

If there ever was, is and will be a way a nation could develop without a class of people working on the mental health of the occupants, that would something in the movies. If there is to be development, not just a material cancer, an irresistible reproduction of goods and service as the the ultimate ends, there needs to be a reminding dimension to it. A dimension that could have a spectrum of descriptions, prescriptions and predictions. That is to be found in the social sciences, the arts and the humanities, not simply in realm of the procedural knowledge, in the realm of application alone. It is the marriage of the natural and social sciences that does better than a marriage of convenience in between a country’s apolitical politics and the natural sciences.

Below are three such academic amputations so far:

Wiley Handbook of Psychology Vol.I-XII (2003)

Wiley Handbook of Psychology Vol.I-XII (2003)

In the order of their appearance from top left to bottom right:

  1. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 01 – History of Psychology
  2. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 02 – Research Methods in Psychology
  3. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 03 – Biological Psychology
  4. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 04 – Experimental Psychology
  5. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 05 – Personality and Social Psychology
  6. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 06, Developmental Psychology
  7. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 07 – Educational Psychology
  8. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 08 – Clinical Psychology
  9. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 09 – Health Psychology
  10. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 10 – Assessment Psychology
  11. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 11 – Forensic Psychology
  12. Wiley (2003) Handbook of Psychology – Volume 12 – Industrial and Organizational Psychology

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Aristotle – Major Works

Aristotle of Stagira

Click on the links below to download

  1. Metaphysics
  2. Nicomachean Ethics
  3. On Sleep and Sleeplessness
  4. The Athenian Constitution
  5. The Categories
  6. On Generation and Corruption, Book 1 (Symposium Aristotelicum)
  7. Monte Ransome Johnson.2005. “Aristotle On Teleology“. Oxford University Press
  8. Collins, Susan D. 2006. Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship“. Cambridge University Press

Niccolo Macchiavelli – Major Works

Short Biography

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli is his full name. He was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. [Wikipedia, 2014]

Nicknamed, Nicco, the Philosopher of Power, Niccolo Machiavelli was the closest advisor to the Medici family, in Florentine Italy in its turbulent years. He acted as a political advisor to the Medici brothers, Guilliano and Lorenzo d’Medici in an age were Rome was the ‘raptor’ with its ferocious pope. Guilliano d’Medici will be the future Pope Leo X (Latin, Papa Leo de decimo, “Pope Leo the Tentch) and will become the hub of Florentine politics and Martin Luther Kings Protestantism.

Nicco is especially known for his famous masterpiece on amoral political discourse, The Prince.

If you are looking for his major writings you can download them below:

  1. Chief Works & Others, Vol. 1 (Duke, 1989)
  2. The Comedies of Niccolò Machiavelli
  3. Discourses on Livy 2006
  4. Discourses on Livy 2007
  5. Essential Writings (epub)
  6. Letters
  7. The Prince
  8. Selected Political Writings

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Aldous Huxley – Major Works

Brief Biography

Aldous Huxley, was a British writer. He was born on July 26, 1894 and died on November 22, 1963. He would become most specifically known to the public for his novels, and especially his fifth one, Brave New World, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Aldous Huxley was born on July 26th 1894 in Godalming in the Surrey county in southern England. He would be the son of the English schoolteacher and writer Leonard Huxley (1860 – 1933) and of Julia Arnold (1862 – 1908). More than literature, however, Aldous Huxley would in fact be born into a family of renowned scientists, with two of his three brothers, Julian and Andrew, who would be eminent biologists and a grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, who would be a famous, controversial naturalist in his time, nicknamed as “Darwin’s Bulldog”. Read More…

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China and the United States: Hacking Away at Cyber Warfare

Rising cyber attacks against Western governments and companies along with speculation that critical infrastructure has been infiltrated has put China under suspicion as the world’s leader in cyber espionage. Beijing is increasingly assumed to be behind any high-profile  cyber assault, while the US government is faulted for an inability to protect its national interests from such attacks. The situation has led to more mutual Sino-American recriminations, an alarming development between two nations whose relationship is already fraught with mistrust.

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Brazil and The Fog of (Cyber)War

This paper furthers the analysis presented in the previous working paper, “Reflections on the Fog of  (Cyber)War” (Canabarro & Borne, 2013), by assessing the Brazilian approach to cybersecurity. It  analyses some of the most important documents on security issued by the Brazilian government since re-democratization in order to access the adequacy of its policy in the light of the controversies presented before.

The paper first pictures cyberspace in Brazil and introduces three landmark  documents that guide security policy towards it: the

(a) National Strategy of Defense, the

(b) White Paper to Guide Future Defense Priorities, and the

(c) Green Book on Brazil’s Cyber-security.

Finally, the paper presents some remarks on both the positive and negative aspects of the policy.

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