Banksy #WithSyria (Video)

A visual reminder/provocation from Banksy. Poignant as ever. The imagery in Banksy’s video, allows us to recognise that the many migrant crises are not just legal or military problems. It reminds us that we should see it as a moral problem. We need to build a moral aptitude. And by ‘we’, I mean ‘we’ who perceive ourselves as secure. If we can see the ‘fleeing’ in the video through the ‘deus ex machina’ of the red balloons. Then, we should be able to receive those who flee and come to us. This is not to say that nothing else must be done with regards to those crises, or that there would not be other consequences. We should not be morally vacant as we enjoy and feel entitled to our security. One should not think there is strong moral justification that permits confusing one’s anxieties about future needs with the present needs of those who flee.

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Kant’s Moral Philosophy Has Retained Its Radicalism

The philosopher Kant, who in the 1700s, set such a challenging ideal that continues to make us blush. (Extracted and translated, from a Finnish article by Jyrki Alenius – LINK TO ORIGINAL TEXT)

It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will. (Immanuel Kant (1785) Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals)
 

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) contributed one of the classic texts in moral philosophy with the publication of Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. In his 1785 book, Kant introduces a radical new foundation for moral philosophy, which he called the “categorical imperative”. Kant’s founding set a challenging ideal for the manner in which moral action is to be justified. An ideal that makes contemporary commercial actors blush, for, their lack of engagement of Kant’s challenge.

 

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Gawking

Gawk

Etymology online gives a description for the verb “The etymology of Gawk” as follows:

“stare stupidly,” 1785, American English, of uncertain origin. Perhaps [Watkins] from gaw, a survival from Middle English gowen “to stare” (c. 1200), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse ga “to heed,” from Proto-Germanic *gawon, from PIE *ghow-e- “to honor, revere, worship” (see favor (n.)); and altered perhaps by gawk hand (see gawky). Liberman finds this untenable and writes that its history is entangled with that of gowk “cuckoo,” which is from Scandinavian, but it need not be from that word, either. Nor is French gauche (itself probably from Germanic) considered a likely source. “It is possibly another independent imitative formation with the structure g-k” (compare geek). From 1867 as a noun. Related: Gawked; gawking.

I wonder what people might have gawked at in the late 18th century for the term to have come into usage. It might have been public punishments, such as with the public burning of Hugh Latimer in Oxford in 1555. Public violence against criminals and subversives is a topic that Michel Foucault attended to in the chapter “Spectacle of the Scaffold”. Alternatively, one could think of the magicians, fortune tellers and snake charmers in historic squares such as in Jemaa el-Fnaa. Much like contemporary tourists gawking at astronomical clocks in Prague (photo).

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Why Study Law At University? – Martti Koskenniemi (Video)

 

On 28th May 2015, Martti Koskenniemi was given a honorary doctorate (LL.D. distinction) by McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Here, after receiving his degree, he offers some reflective guidance to the graduating class. Click for more info about his award. (His speech begins at 4 minutes 35 seconds)

His reflections reminded me of some things another international lawyer observed elsewhere.

On 23 May 2014, Professor Allott addressed the Spring Conference of the International Law Association British Branch at the Inner Temple, London. Professor Allott’s speech was entitled ‘The Idealist’s Dilemma: Re-imagining International Society’.

Centres of Worlds: On International Law and Maps

Maps in the 21st Century, such as this screen capture of Google maps, are readily available for anyone with an internet connection. To uses a variety of different data sets to bring together a functional map. It uses satellite data, shows seabed formations, gives traffic information whilst giving directions, has peer-sourced images and street-view. Simply astounding how all this information has been democratized.

Maps in the 21st Century, such as this screen capture of Google maps, are readily available for anyone with an internet connection. It uses a variety of different data sets to bring together a functional map. It uses satellite data, shows seabed formations, gives traffic information whilst giving directions, has peer-sourced images and street-view. Simply astounding how all this information has been democratized.

Recently, I had the intention to engage with a call for papers entitled “International Law’s Objects: Emergence, Encounter and Erasure through Object and Image”. Unfortunately, in light of doctoral writing and other publication timelines, it became clear that it was unlikely that I could give the proposed contribution the attention it required. So, rather regretfully, I decided to give the call a miss.

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Seen a solar panel on a thatched roof?

solar panels - thatched roof

I had the rare fortune of conversing extensively about the politics of international economics and environmental ethics on the weekend. It is worth noting a platitude. All ideas are full of politics, and, there are many different ways in which one thinks of politics. Just in terms of international economics, there are so many ways. The politics of economic power, politics of private interests, politics of expert reason, politics of public goods, politics of the ideology of disciplines…just to name a few, all came into play in my weekend conversations. Environmental ethics, also decidedly full of politics.

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Michael Byers: The Northwest Passage dispute invites Russian mischief

An interesting piece from Michael Byers. Byers considers actual and hypothetical Russian state practice, which he argues might impact Canada’s territorial claims and cause further grief to the US/Canadian dispute over the Northwest passage.

National Post

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin poked the Norwegian government in the eye last week, when he stopped on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard during a flight to the North Pole. Svalbard is Norwegian territory, and Rogozin is prohibited from travelling to Norway under sanctions adopted by that country.

However, Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard is limited by a 1920 treaty that guarantees access to the nationals of 42 countries, including Russia. The Norwegian government has acknowledged Rogozin’s right to land there, while protesting the provocative nature of his action.

Stephen Harper take note: The Russians are up to mischief, and Svalbard is not the only place in the Arctic where international law creates an opportunity for them.

If Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to cause the Canadian government some grief, he would order a Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” bomber to fly through the Northwest Passage. In one fell stroke, the Russian president…

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