Has the United States violated human rights?

Has the United States violated Human Rights?
and then decide for yourself.

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Work Day #5

Wednesday, February 13th

Today we completed our last two Commonweal labs, beginning with Lab #20: learn ten words in a foreign language. We chose Swahili. Take note of the great variety of words for "sex" - the same is true for our language, and countless others. Just one more thing proving we're not so different after all, for no matter your culture, race, or beliefs, human nature carries through and remains at the base of all aspects of civilization. 

love...upendo, penzi, penda
hate...zira, chukia
sex...jamii, puana, kwea, twaana, twalika, segede, sugu, jigijigi, mnyande, mbonya, bindja, gawa, tomba, ingilia, uana, ngono
intelligence...erevu, mtambuzi, fahamivu, fahamu
man...bwana, mwanaume, mwanamume

For our final lab, we signed up to participate in "Earth Hour" (Lab #42), an event that began last year when 2.2 million people and 2,100 busineses in the city of Sydney, Australia, turned off their lights for one hour, reducing their energy consumption by 10.2%: the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for an hour. Earth Hour has now become a world wide effort, and starts on March 29th at 8:00 pm. So Far, about 31,700 people have signed up, along with 1.600 businesses. We made a poster advertising the event, and posted it in 3rd floor Gray.

Go to www.earthhour.org to sign up and become a part of the movement, and while you're at it, do a few of the Commonweal labs yourself! You'd be surprised at how big a diference you can make, and either way, it's a lot of fun.

-Colin, Christian, Orin, and Zoë


Work Day #4

Tuesday, February 12th

Today we set out to write ch
alk messages for Lab #21, using novelty easter egg-shaped chalk that we'd bought at party city the previous week. We began on the stairs leading up to the side entrance of the student commons, and wrote "Have you heard about Heath Ledger? Have you heard about the genocide in Darfur?". Here we were making the point that in our media, the death of one celebrity holds more importance than the deaths of millions in Africa. Next, we extrapolated on this point and wrote a Stalin quote just outside of the library: "One death is tragic, a thousand deaths is a statistic". Unfortunately, this is quite true, and is exemplified daily by our media.

Next we moved on to Lab #46, and participated in the "Red Hand Day" movement. This is an organization dedicated to putting an end to the use of child soldiers, and uses a red hand as a symbol to promote awareness of this worldwide tragedy. We cut out a bunch of the red hand symbols, writing the organization's website address on each one and posting them around campus.

-Colin and Christian


Work Day #3

Thursday, February 7th

Today we did a quickie. During lunch, Colin and myself (Zoe) left campus to do Lab #44.

If Colin were a death row prisoner, his last meal would be...

...a steak burrito, a steak quesadilla, medium salsa, queso, AND a brownie from Qdoba.
...hmm ...okay.

If I were a death row prisoner, my last meal would be...

...salad Bar from Whole Foods.

After eating enough for a small nation, Colin couldn't walk very well, and decided to crash in my trunk.



Work Day #2

Saturday, January 26th

Today was Day #2 of Project Commonweal. This time we took Orin instead of Christian, and once again, we went to Thruway.

First of all, Colin had to eat. What else is new?
While Colin ate, we wrote political messages on little pieces of paper to cram into easter eggs with candy. We sent Orin over to Rite Aid to buy the candy, which was a huge mistake - he returned with nasty Caramel Creams. We hid the eggs all over Thruway, in potted plants and in Borders and such.

A few days later, our friend Emily Wolfe told us that her brother found one of our eggs in a plant near Borders. Apparently he enjoyed his nasty caramel cream and political message.

Next, we went to Party City and purchased some Curious George masks, which served to conceal our identities from the public in our next mission; we planned to sport signs carrying political messages at the Five Points intersection (Lab#34). With our hoods up, we looked like members of some creepy monkey cult.

We thought for some time about what message we wanted to display on our signs. Eventually, Colin jokingly said, "Why don't we just leave them blank?". We laughed at first, but then realized that it was a pretty cool idea. If we were to write, "vote for so and so", people would either agree or disagree, and that would be it. There isn't anthing we could write to make people think more than if we were to write nothing (try and say that five times fast).

Once at the intersection, we wielded our large, blank pieces of poster board, thrusting them at confused drivers. When asked, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?", we would respond, "We're making a statement about propoganda". Some would nod their heads and smile, others would continue on in bewilderment. One guy said, "That's great! Don't watch Fox News!". Sometimes we would ask the drivers who they were voting for, and the closest thing we got to a straight answer from anyone was, "That guy right there! The one on your sign". Most passing drivers took notice of our signs, and we found that out of those who didn't, most were minorities. Perhaps this is a clue as to who in our society most propoganda is directed towards, and who accepts it as fact, or fiction. Either way, most people were trying to find words on our signs, thus proving that people are drawn towards propoganda - they crave the stuff. One old guy even stopped dead in the middle of the intersection to try and read our posters. As far as driver reactions went, some honked their horns or gave us thumbs up in support, while others (mostly teenagers) just shook their heads and raised their hands as if to say, "wtf?". In general, the reactions seemed to be positive, and we saw lots of smiles. Most importantly, the blank signs caused people to think, and that is exactly what our culture trains us not to do.

So go! Question society and question your government! Fight the power, and THINK!!!

- Colin & Zoe


Work Day #1

Monday, January 21st
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today was the first day we worked on our Commonweal project. I picked up Christian from school and then we went to pick up Colin at his house. We stood at the door and rang the doorbell mercilessly, and finally entered the house against Colin's will. We snooped around while Colin cut out global warming tickets and complained about our snooping.------------------------------------->

We headed to Thruway, and ended up sitting in the cafe at Borders writing out a list of the Five Biggest Threats in the world (Lab #1) on neon colored poster board. We all pondered for a very long time about the list, but found that all of our pondering lead us back to one concept: people. People are the cause of their own negativity. People are the cause of their own suffering. People pollute the earth. Fish don't do war on each other. People are the biggest threat to our planet, and to existence.

Next, we set out to ticket large SUVs with our
global warming tickets (Lab #13). We were a bit scared for our lives, actually, and we got some funny looks. Colin did all of the dirty work. It was freezing.

Colin went into Steinmart to buy gloves. When I asked him what they were made of, he replied,"Cashmere! I am saving cows by not buying the leather ones".
Turns out, the gloves
were 100% leather, with cashmere lining.

Next, we went to Party City to purchase helium balloons for Lab #2. Unfortunately, the lady who blew up the balloons wouldn't let us put our letters inside them. So instead we wrote messages on the balloons with sharpies. Then we drove over to Reynolda Village, got some ice cream, and set the balloons free in a field.

...and so concludes our good-doing.
-Zoe & Colin